The Beauty In The Mess

Many years from now, when you look back at the chapter in your story that you are in the middle of writing at this very moment, what do you want it to say?

I used to want my story to be tidy and efficient and easy to read out loud. I wanted to leave the mess behind. I didn’t yet understand that each page in my book didn’t need to be, nor should it be, white and crisp and pristine. I had no idea that the messy in my life- the splashes of discoloration on the pages from errant drops of coffee, salty tears, and words that had too many times been crossed out and re-written- is what actually makes it interesting, thrilling, beautiful, and all mine.

I had a pretty picture in my mind of how things should go and would go if I took the right steps.

In taking those steps, in reaching for my ideal, I began to learn about myself. In taking action towards making the pretty picture and the pretty goals and the pretty life I wanted into a reality, I simultaneously dove head first into a complete demolition of my life. During the demolition and subsequent rebuild I closely examined my past and my present, my strengths and my shortcomings, my insecurities, fears, and most-cherished hopes. I dug and I dug and I dug, relentlessly seeking to uncover every part of myself that needed to be fixed or polished.

The years of soul-searching and practicing and trying my hardest to become this person I have always wanted to become led me to an important moment, a moment in which I found myself waist deep in the excavation of my life and seeing clearly for the first time that there is no end to the digging.

And in that moment I took a deep breath and asked my very deepest, truest and honest self what I want my story to say.

I want it to say that I’m not afraid to make a decision that I’m not quite sure will be the right one and that I see these decisions through until the very end. I want it to say that I’m unable to quit. I want it to say that I am incessantly hopeful. I want it to scream that I am willing to give all of myself to whatever it is I am doing, no matter what the return is. I want it to say that I make an effort to always be kind even when it is not returned or necessarily deserved. I want it to say that I care more about compassion, understanding and empathy than being right or avenging those who wrong or seek to hurt me.

I want my story to say that I own my decisions and that I don’t make any of them out of fear or insecurity. I want it to say that my words and actions reflect intentions that were pure of heart. I want it to say that I am a giver. I want it say that I am willing to do whatever it takes. I want it to paint a picture of someone who is fierce yet steady. I want it to say that I am dependable and loyal. I want it to speak to my ability to forgive and overcome. I want it to say that I use my voice in a way that is at once confident, powerful, and soothing. I want it to say that I am able to find immense value in even the hardest of lessons. I want it to sparkle.

Most of all, I want my story to say that I didn’t quit before the miracles happened.

If I only focus on the digging, there will always be more dirt to throw aside. But if I pause and focus on my breathing and the moment I am in, I am able to take a step back and see myself clearly. My face is dirty and my clothes are black but I wear a satisfied smile and my eyes reflect a joy deeper than any I have ever felt.

Nothing is different yet everything is different, because I am coming into myself in a way that I have never experienced before. I feel how capable I am, how worthy I am, how me I am, and how filled with potential my story is.

In this moment that I am standing in now, I love the mess. I love all of the trials and the tribulations that I have experienced and continue to navigate. I am watching my life bloom in front of my very eyes. Good things are happening and they are happening quickly. What’s more is that I have the ability to notice it and appreciate it and embrace it.

I love the beauty in the mess, I love that nothing has turned out the way that I thought it would or should, and I love that the only certain thing about life is that everything is completely out of my ability to control it. It just keeps getting better.

xoxo

Sarah

On Decision Making

Let’s talk about good versus great.

What differentiates the good from the great? How do you get from one to the other?

Decisions. Your decisions reflect who you are and who you aim to become. Your decisions pave the path to your future successes.

I don’t want good. I don’t want acceptable. I don’t want mediocre. I don’t want satisfactory. I don’t want mundane. And I certainly don’t want whatever society is telling me I should at this point in my life, just because it is what is expected.

I want the power of choice over settling. I want gloriously fulfilled over simply maintaining. I want completely overflowing rather than filled to the top. I want novel and thrilling and keeps-you-guessing. I want exceptional. I want life-altering. I want bursting. I want overjoyed. I want triumphant. I want something incredibly special. I want shooting for the stars.

I want great.

And what keeps me going is the daily reminder that I didn’t come this far to only come this far.

The decisions you have to make in order to achieve greatness are not easy. They aren’t obvious. You will not know for sure if they are the right ones until you see how they play out. Good decisions take practice. They take self-awareness. They take effort. They take commitment. They take inner strength. You have to be ready to take risks. You must be willing to jump without being able to see if you’ll make to the other side. You need to be prepared to go down in a blaze of glory.

I can tell you one thing- the quality of your decisions can be easily determined by your intent.

Think about it. When you are making a decision, what part of yourself are you nourishing? Encouraging? Growing?

If you are feeding your ego, then you are surely making the wrong decision. The same goes for greed, envy, insecurity and fear.

Let your actions reflect your decision to have a great relationship with yourself first and foremost. Forget good for now or good enough or maybe this will work in every single area of your life. Love, friendships, career, hobbies, side hustles; throw it all out if it’s not making you gloriously fulfilled and practice patience until great comes along.

Except the career- make sure you can pay your bills while you work on securing your dream job.

It won’t always go well. I promise. You will fail. And then you will fail again. The failures will hurt. Your heart will cry out in protest. This is too hard, it will say. We have come far enough, it will urge. Why can’t we just be happy with good, it will question. I’m just not ready, it will whisper.

You will have to remind your heart that you want great. That you will never know what you could have achieved if you stop now. That you must keep going, no matter what. You will never feel ready. You will never become immune to pain. You’ll just become more skilled at dealing with it all, and that is a sign of greatness.

The failures only mean you are getting closer to what it is you are striving for. Failure is the surest indication that you are taking an active role in chasing your dreams. Failure isn’t final and only you have a say in what stops you.

Don’t expect to ever stop failing but you can expect that your failures will, one day, reflect a refining process rather than a complete demo of your life.

I want to, every single day, strive for great rather than good. I want to be a great friend, daughter, mentor, employee, and partner. I want to be great at adapting right alongside of change, at accepting the difficulties I must overcome, at thriving when my heart tells me it would be fine for me to quit and fall apart.

I want to, every single day, become better than I once was. I want to choose authenticity over being perceived as perfect, honesty over saved face, and owning my truth over hiding behind the fear of vulnerability destroying me.

We must decide to choose challenge over comfort and patience over instant gratification.

We must make the decision to make the choices that aren’t easy.

And that’s how you will get from good to great.

What decisions are you making today?

xoxo

Sarah

 

A Letter To My 18 Year-Old Self

Dear Sarah,

You will change so much in the next ten years, it will make your head spin.

Mistakes, many many mistakes, will happen. You will, sometimes, hate yourself. You will question the purpose of it all, and wonder if you are doing anything right. You will wonder if you are broken and beyond repair. Be patient. Be kind to yourself. You will discover that you are capable of greatness. You will eventually gain enough perspective to see that your heart is tender, loving, vulnerable, and forgiving. These qualities are so important. You are special, so special. You will only get better at life.

Most people won’t get your sense of humor. That’s okay, because it doesn’t make you any less hilarious. You’re more intimidating than you think you are, so be careful with your words. Make sure they are always kind. Your ability to say how you feel, and your directness, are two of your most enduring traits. You won’t realize this until much later than you should. Do not be ashamed of your positivity and sparkle. Some people will not like you, and that is okay. Some people will not understand or approve of your story, and that is okay too. It is not their story to write.

You will lose yourself, and then you will discover yourself. The world, and your decisions, will almost break you. Then you will build yourself back up again. The people in your life will teach you valuable lessons. They will enter into your orbit and show you love, wisdom, pain, sacrifice, and toughness.

That’s what everything is. It’s toughness training. When you get to be twenty-eight, your skin will be thicker. Your heart will be bigger. Your self-awareness will be better than it’s ever been. You will have gained back the confidence you lost during your dark years, and more will come with it. You will get more than you bargained for in every aspect of your life.

When it comes to the dark years, remember it is all essential in shaping who you will become. They will be extremely uncomfortable, painful, and full of tears. You will doubt your ability to make it through. You will feel alone and devoid of faith and hope. Remember, dear one, that these years are inevitable for you, and so important to your journey. When you are closer to thirty than you are to twenty, you will be on the other side of them. You will feel truer and more authentic than you ever have. You will have learned so much about yourself. The darkness is imperative to discovering your inner light. Feel it. Go through it. Don’t fight it. Look forward to the person you will someday be.

When it comes to college, pay attention. Especially in statistics and economics, or else you’ll regret not doing so once you graduate. Major in something that you are passionate about, regardless of what job opportunities it may present after graduation. College is a bubble, a wonderfully encased and protected version of life, so soak it up. Join the sorority that resonates with you and your ideals and your principles, and it will give you lifelong connections. Do not disappear into the partying. For heaven’s sake, make it to that 8 am ochem class regularly. Take a quarter abroad and travel. Your twenty-eight year-old self never did, and she really wishes you would. At graduation you will have no idea what you want to do or who you are meant to become, and that is okay. You will figure it out along the way. Be weary of how much you spend on your credit card.

When it comes to your career, don’t be afraid to assert yourself and live out loud. Do not shy away from expressing your opinions. Do not let other people make you feel small. If you work for a company that does not value you or recognize your accomplishments, move on. Chase your dreams. Don’t be scared to make a change or to use your voice. Don’t settle for a job that is boring, but be sure that you can always pay your bills. Financial security is necessary but living lavishly is not. Try your best to let temporary setbacks and negative energy flow in and out, like the gills of a fish. Work is the water and your gills are the filter; keep only the good.  Be fluid and proud and kind, always kind. Treat people how you would like to be treated and do not reciprocate less than graceful behavior.

When it comes to your love life, maintain the faith that the right one will come along. There will be years that are meant just for you in which you learn about yourself, all alone. There will be years in which you have no interest in a relationship, and years where you yearn for companionship and love. Who you think is good for you, or a good idea, usually won’t be. Consider advice but make your own decisions. There will be men who lie to you, take advantage of you, disrespect you, and don’t appreciate the wonderful woman you are. There will also be men who restore your faith and teach you that what you are looking for will come in its own time. There will be men who take care of you and honor your friendship. There will be men who are honest, kind-hearted and want the absolute best for you. Keep fighting for yourself. Keep dating. Pray. Do not become bitter or closed-off to something amazing, for it could be just around the corner. Assert your needs but don’t be afraid to compromise. Remember to find the good in every experience and that time heals all. There are good ones out there, I promise. It only takes one to change everything.

Do not play the comparison game. It is the quickest way to suck the happiness out of your life. Follow whatever it is that makes you happy. Write. It will be your therapy and your contribution to the universe.

The earlier you learn to accept what is, rather than what you wish would be, the better. Quit blaming yourself for everything. Throw out that life plan you’re writing out in your journal. It’s all a process. It’s all impossible to control and predict. The point is to enjoy the ride and to run head-first into your life, with arms spread wide.

Don’t be scared. I know that’s easier said than done, but it will all be okay in the end. You are fierce, brave, independent, driven and full of promise.

And last but not least, trust me when I tell you that the only thing standing in your way is you.

What do you want to say to your 18 year-old self?

xoxo

Sarah

 

 

The Big Experiment

Every morning my alarm goes off at 6:00 sharp.

I curse it, blink my eyes, and roll over to hug my dog. As I savor the last few moments snuggled up with him in my warm bed, I know that I can’t delay for too long. He is restless because in his world it is time for breakfast, and in my world it is time to get ready for work . With a sigh, I throw back the covers and get up to face the day.

Feed the pup. Wash the sleep off my face. Swipe on some makeup. Arrange my hair into something presentable. Dress. Quick walk for us both, then I shoot out the door and into my morning.

In this part of my life, I feel like I am constantly in process. In progress. In development. In growth. In pain. In joy. In bewilderment.

I am trying new things, and failing at many of these new things, and succeeding at a few of these new things, and mostly just experimenting with no clue as to what I am actually really doing or aiming for.

Sometimes, I have to stop and marvel at how all of my life choices have brought me to this very moment that I am now in. It’s confusing and liberating and frustrating and astonishing that I have been able to come this far yet still, always, feel like I am not far enough.

When I really give pause, silencing all of the unnecessary noise in my mind long enough to relax and just be, I realize a simple truth: this life that I am living, my life that I have crafted for myself, is magic.

Absolute magic.

Some days, it’s nearly impossible to drag myself out of bed. I make up to-do lists and check-lists and not-yet-done lists in order to focus and refine and give my life direction. On other days, it’s difficult to even leave the office and head home because I am getting so much done. Project after project seems to be completing itself with very little effort on my part, and I feel satisfaction towards all that I have accomplished. On the better days, I can’t write down all of the ideas as quickly as they come to me and I vibrate with inspiration, energy and motivation. I know just who I am writing to and for and the possibilities are endless. On the worse days, I sit feeling empty, uninspired and like my writing will never go anywhere. I fear that I will not find and fulfill my greater purpose. On the absolute worst days I seriously question the point of it all in the first place. I doubt my very purpose’s existence.

Through it all, the magic remains. Day by day the experimenting continues. I forget about it sometimes, the magic, but it is still there. It waits patiently for me to embrace it again. The magic is floating around me, a gold iridescent cloud that I cannot see but I know is very real.

That’s what life is, one great big magnificent magical experiment. Our experiments demonstrate a brief but complete history of human trial and error, baptisms by fire, and doing the best we can. We make choices, take chances, place our bets, attempt to let go of regrets, and always try, try again.

At its best, our experimenting allows us to create something absolutely beautiful: groundbreaking new companies, clean energy, stunning art and architecture that survives through the centuries, gripping novels, children, love itself.

Life is nothing more and nothing less than One Big Experiment.

So, as I shoot out the door into my morning and to face yet another day, I ask…

“What can I create today?”.

Here’s to the good days, the sad days, the magical days, and everything in between.

xoxo

Sarah

 

Give Me Struggle

Nothing truly comes easy to anyone. We each have our own challenges that we must overcome. Your journey is your journey and my journey is mine. That is what makes each of them so interesting and beautiful; they are uniquely ours.

I used to think that one day life would become easier, softer and more forgiving. I thought that if I worked hard enough, it would all eventually even out. I believed that once I was past this or that it would all become clear. I figured that one day the messier pieces would just fall into place and I would be able to level up, reaching a space in my life where things consistently made sense. A space where I could breathe and rest comfortably, if only for a short while.

As I have historically been about how many parts of my story would turn out- I was wrong.

My story is messy and confusing and often courageous. It is punctuated by challenge, pain and moments of incredible strength. It is full to the brim with accomplishments and doing the things I thought I could not do. It tells a life of dreaming, action, hesitation, determination, false starts, harsh realizations and times of heart-breaking happiness.

My story is a lesson in nothing coming easy and learning the true meaning of appreciation and gratitude. My story is about doing my best with what I have. It’s about breaking away the unnecessary parts and wastes of time to get closer to my true meaning and purpose. My story is continuously teaching me that it’s not about what I think, what I want, what I need, or what I feel I deserve.

Give me struggle. Give me the lessons that will build my character. Give me hard work paying off over something handed to me that I have not earned. Give me confusion and give me hope. Give me trials and give me breakthroughs. Give me yet another disappointment, always followed by a fresh start and a new opportunity to see where it all may go. Give me good enough to make it through another day.

Give me the tools I need to do better in this world. Give me the challenges that will make me more useful, more capable, more creative and more tolerant. Give me whatever it is I need to teach me how to be a better advice-giver, shoulder to lean-on, and source of comfort.

Give me struggle so that I may learn to contribute. Give me pain so that I may become accustomed to sacrifice. Burden me, again and again, so that I may show that I can overcome anything that comes my way.

And keep it coming.

What does your story say?

xoxo

Sarah

On Owning It

Life is like riding a bike.

Sometimes you have to pedal with all of the might you can muster, making your way inch by terrible inch up that long hill. And other times you can coast down with no resistance beneath your tires and the wind whipping gloriously through your hair.

If I picture life as a person, I see it as a jokester. You know the type; one of those people who thinks that super inappropriate things are really funny and who laughs at funerals. Life never takes itself too seriously. It likes to present a wide variety of situations in many unexpected forms just to make sure you really are on your toes at all times. It has an affinity for showing up in ways you could have never anticipated, will pound its fists on your front door at three in the morning just for a laugh, and it loves to pitch you curve balls to test your willingness and ability to knock them out of the park. Life has a grand ole time making sure that the only thing you can expect for certain is that things will turn out differently than you planned.

Recently, I was asked a pointed question that has kept me thinking.

How do think you react to adversity?

Great question.

I like to think that I take adversity in stride. I’d like to say that I handle all things with as much grace as I can possibly mobilize on short notice. I like to think that I do the best that I can while I keep a smile on my face and my heart full of compassion. I like to think that my experiences have taught me to be a strong and resilient person, capable of triumphing over anything that comes my way. I have overcome a lot, just like each and every one of you, and I intend to keep on doing just that.

But let me tell you that when life throws everything its got at me, one curve ball after another pummeling straight at me without pause, my reaction to adversity isn’t as pretty as I would like it to be. I’ve found that I move into silence rather than speaking my truth and that I falter in my faith rather than being able to turn it all over and trust in His plan for me. My positivitiy tanks.

I doubt myself. I wonder what I am doing wrong. I struggle with feeling wrong-sized and get angry when none of it seems to be working. Am I too sensitive? Am I unapproachable?

I switch tactics. Read more books. Reach out to others for help. I milk my support system for all its worth. Believe me, keeping me strong and centered and sane takes a village.

I am consistently revamping my strategy to figure out what the best fit is. I am constantly re-energizing in order to gain momentum for the next movement, looking to level-up and press forward. This doesn’t work, so let’s change it. That didn’t work, again, so let’s try this instead. Fail. Fail. Try again.

Do you know what all of the negative, uncomfortable and challenging feelings and experiences mean?

They mean that I am human. In progress. Developing. Learning. Achieving. Reaching. Trying.

I’m dealing with people, places and things that are not on my terms and that do not conform to my comfort zone. I’m like Silly Putty in the softening process; the part where you throw it around in your hands to make it pliable enough to mold into something entirely new.

I don’t like to think that I need molding. I don’t like to admit that I have areas I should work on. Who loves to pick themselves apart and acknowledge their faults? No person I know. But the sooner I get over with the pummeling, the faster I become ready to change my form. When I am warmed up and ready for a new shape, it means I am completely willing. It means both my mind and my heart are open to new ideas and new opportunities.

Let’s face it. Sometimes life beats the crap out of us.

We can either let it shatter us, or take it as a not-so-subtle hint from the universe that things are changing. Discomfort and pain are two of the greatest motivators for change, and change is always good.

I repeat. Change is always good.

Change forces us into action. Change improves us. Change intimidates us, seems impossible and then it teaches us that everything will be okay in the end. Always. Change shows us that the unexpected can lead to glorious results. Change terrifies us and then it chides us, whispering that we should have trusted the process the entire time.

So however you react to adversity, own it. Own it in its glorious imperfection and simultaneous badassery. You’re getting your tail licked and still asking for more. You’re waking up each day and focusing on the good. You’re giving it your best shot. Embrace everything and don’t get too caught up in the details. After all, it will work out just as it’s meant to in whatever amount of time it takes.

Own your abilities, inabilities, sensitivities, strengths, shortcomings, and greatness. Own your life.

Here’s to writing your legacy. 

xoxo

Sarah

Career Girl How-To: Negotiate A Raise

“While undergoing my first annual review at work, and subsequently receiving a significant promotion and raise, I realized I was totally unprepared to negotiate. Not only was I unprepared, I was incredibly intimidated by the process.

I am not alone in this. According to Lisa Gates of Ask The Negotiators, the career advice section of themuse, “The fears women have about negotiating are legendary. Women are four times less likely to negotiate than men, and on top of that, tend to work 10% faster and 22% longer for the same reward. But, remember this: When you fail to ask for what you’re worth, you stand to lose up to $1 million over the course of your career, thus solidifying your own wage gap and, often, your early exit from the leadership track.” To read the rest of Gate’s tips on how to negotiate a raise, click here.

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After all was said and done, I had a much better idea of how to fight for myself and will be able to be more confident and competent in future negotiations.”

It is fairly simple to do, you just have to follow the 3 steps I’ve outlined. Want to know what these 3 steps are? Read the rest of my column over at Ms. Career Girl!

xoxo

Sarah

Career Girl How-To: Get Everything You Want

“You know the type- the woman who seems to effortlessly succeed at getting exactly what she wants with minimal effort and maximum likeability. We want to be her- to mirror her attitude and success.

It’s not as hard as you might think to get what you want, if you have the commitment and sense to go for it.

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1. Ask for It.

Getting what you want always begins with asking the question. If you never ask, then there’s zero chance you will ever get it. The worst thing that could happen is that you will be told no, and no is always negotiable.

2. Be Willing To Do What It Takes.

If you want something, you have to ask yourself how hard you are willing to work to make it happen. How many hours are you willing to dedicate? What sacrifices are you prepared to make? Be eager. Be willing…”

Want to hear the last 3 tips? Read the rest, today over at Ms. Career Girl!

xoxo

Sarah

Making the Effort

Effort is attractive. Dedication is attractive. Drive is attractive. Determination is attractive. Bettering yourself is attractive. Humility is attractive.

You know what isn’t attractive? Self-centerdness. Vanity. Judgment. Ego. Entitlement.

So often, we worry that we are not being taken care of and that things will not work out the way we want them to. We get caught in the tornado of wanting more faster than we can get it, and become takers rather than givers. We think we deserve everything yet aren’t willing to put in even half of the legwork it takes to achieve it.

We ask what we can be given rather than what we can contribute. We expect and demand and dictate when we should be trying to understand and appreciate and accommodate.

We weren’t put on this earth to be granted things, we were put here to give back and help our fellows. Whatever blessings we accrue along the way are just bonuses.

Next time you are feeling frustrated, better than, or shortchanged, try to remember how lucky you are to have been given what you’ve got. Try your best to be a little less impatient and a little more tolerant.

Because you know what happens when you focus on the what you can do for others rather than on what you can do for yourself? Beautiful, awe-inspiring things. The dreams that you dreamt so fervently about will come true right in front of you, without you even have to try. Your life will open up like a blooming flower, and the miracles will come from the most unexpected of places.

Do your little part with dedication, passion, and love. The rest will take care of itself.

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xoxo

Sarah

 

 

 

*Featured image is also via Pinterest

10 Dating Mistakes We Need To Stop Making

Every so often, I like to lament on the challenges of dating as a twenty-something.

For women and men alike, finding a partner is difficult. Historically for me, the most taxing part of dating has been putting myself out there again and again, only to be disappointed. As a woman in her late twenties, finding someone who is on the same page as me has been frustratingly elusive. Either they want absolutely nothing to do with commitment, or they want the wedding planned by June.

Please oh please can I just find somebody who wants the same things as me who isn’t completely insane and is capable of monogamy and who has their crap together and who is kind and funny and at least kinda good looking and at least a little bit taller than me and who likes dogs and is capable of being a good boyfriend?

I know, steep order.

In The Single Girl Rant and 10 Things Women Don’t Want to Hear About, I discussed some dating blunders and noteworthy experiences. I think it’s time again to make a list of Dating Don’ts, that either I have done or have been done to me, so I can say I did my small part to get it out there. Here we go…

10 Dating Mistakes We Need To Stop Making

1. Talking to our exes. You broke up for a reason. Being “friends” with an ex is messy and practically impossible to maintain without complications. There are some exceptions, but they are few and far between. Don’t make your current love interest deal with your past. Here’s an adult word we should all employ the use of: boundaries. Set them. Use them. Respect them.

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2. Flaking. If you set a date, keep it. If you say you will meet at 8pm, then be there at 8pm. This also applies to: not suddenly dropping off the face of the earth mid-text conversation with no apology or explanation, being sure to follow up on tentative date plans, and texting/calling when you say you are going to. I stick to my word, and you stick to yours. Kapish?

3. Keeping our options open. You know the deal- you’ve started dating someone new but still have an old flame on the back burner in case things don’t work out. The problem with this is it keeps you emotionally unavailable and lays a foundation based on dishonesty. Why wouldn’t you want to give your new relationship its best shot? Keeping your options open is just a fuzzy form of infidelity. If you are looking for a committed relationship, act like it. When you meet someone great, use that block function on your phone. You won’t be sorry.

4. Being so self-absorbed. I feel like we are always trying to sell ourselves, and this translates strongly into our dating life. The best dates are ones where you get to know each other and the conversation is equal, rather than just one party using up all of the oxygen in the room. Ask questions. Be interested. Be present.

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5. Cell phones. When you’re on a date, don’t be on your phone. This seems like a gimme, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a date whip out his phone mid conversation at the dinner table. I get it, I am as addicted to my cell phone as the next Millennial, but it can wait.

6. Dodging the Question. What do you want? That’s a question we all need to get more comfortable with answering. If you want a committed relationship, then don’t be afraid to say that when someone asks what you are looking for. It’s not shameful to want a relationship. If you want to focus on yourself and keep it casual, then say that. It isn’t callous to not desire commitment. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. If we improve on our communication, we will find what we are looking for a whole lot faster.

7. Looking for flaws. Absolutely nobody is perfect. It’s all about figuring out the right fit for you. We can’t expect people to never mess up, but we can expect them to be decent human beings. It’s finding something in between the two extremes that’s the trick.

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8. Being Impatient. I think that the best relationships develop organically and progress naturally at their own rate. Expecting to hang out x times a week or talk x times a day puts unnecessary constraints and expectations on your relationship. Each relationship dynamic is unique, and you have to go with it. Just be patient and trust the process.

9. Rape Kissing. Just because you are on a date does NOT mean you have to kiss at the end. If we do not: lean in, make eye contact, maintain eye contact, or give you any sign whatsoever that we want to be kissed- WE ARE NOT READY! Like stated above, things need to develop naturally. There are no rules about when kissing (or anything else) is right, you have to feel it! Make sure your partner is on the same page and is sending you the right cues.

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10. Putting love on a pedestal. Finding something great takes time, but it certainly isn’t impossible. Love isn’t some puzzle you have to solve. It isn’t something to chase down and catch. When the right person comes along you will know, and it will be awesome. The sooner you learn to stop looking at love as something perfect and unobtainable, the more free you will be.

Dating is hard. Being is a relationship is hard. It’s all hard. So, try your best to look at the bright side of everything!

xoxo

Sarah