Most young girls grow up waiting for the dream wedding, the perfect spouse, and the happy family they will one day have whenever they are older. As a child, I had many of the same aspirations, not necessarily because it was what I dreamed of, but more so because it is what I perceived was expected of me. My mother was a stay-at-home mom and all of the adult women in my life were married with a family. Most of my friends were already planning their weddings or thinking of what they would name their children. I caught notice of these things and began altering my thoughts to be in the same fashion.

As I grew older, I found myself being what could be termed "boy crazy." I figured that once I found my perfect match or "the one," I would find happiness and purpose. My dreams became less about what I could achieve and more about how to get boys to like me. Instead of trying to gain self-confidence to become successful and get the most out of my life, I began trying to gain self-confidence so that I would become more desirable in the dating world. My sole purpose was not to grow as a person but to gain the approval of men.

However, over time, I found less and less satisfaction in dating and trying to impress boys. I noticed that the more I placed my self-worth in how much a boy liked me, the more inadequate I felt. I then decided to take a step back and look at who I was. I realized that I was, in a way, like Ann Perkins from Parks and Recreation. She would always take on any of the hobbies or interests of the person she was dating at the time and never quite had any of her own. I've noticed many of the people I know do this exact same thing. If not immediately, over time, they will change their interests or even their own ideas to fit whomever they are involved with.

After I realized that I have to live my life more for me, I began to see myself grow as a person. I chose to take up hobbies that I thought were beneficial to my self-growth and I began taking care of myself in a way that I never had before. I found that it is impossible to grow as an individual while constantly looking for validation in another person. When you aren't looking inwardly, you get farther from living your truth.

Wanting to get married is by no means a fully terrible thing. It can be, though, if you are sacrificing who you are for the person you are with. It pains me to see so many of my friends fall under the false assumption that they have to be or act a certain way to get a boy's attention or approval. I believe that the more authentically you live, the more fortune you will attract.

There is so much more to life than just dating boys. It might be a fun aspect of life, but it is in no way the most important part of it. Yourself, family, friends, and what you love to do are all that matters in life. If you stay true to who you really are, you will have more of a life that you can be proud of.