Back in 1999 or so, a talented and good friend of mine from JC (Andrew Tan) decided to write a teenage self-help book and asked me to contribute some small bits about love. Now, almost 8 years hence, he’s planning to publish that book. A few days ago, he emailed me and asked me to go over what I had written to see if I wanted to amend anything.
I had completely forgotten about that writing project of his or my part in it. I was half afraid that I would be embarrassed by what I must have thought to be ‘wise reflections’ about love and relationships when I was 20 years old. To my pleasant surprise (and great relief), there wasn’t anything I needed to amend. While my thoughts about love have grown and expanded, it has not deviated that much from what I expressed back then.
Here’s a glimpse of my 20 year-old self on the topic of love:
I think that before a person is ready for a romantic relationship, he or she has to be mature and must first reach a certain level of self-understanding and enlightenment about himself (or herself). What do I mean? When we look at most teen relationships, most of them donâ€™t last. And itâ€™s not just the overused explanation of â€œtheyâ€™re too young and immatureâ€, because maturity isnâ€™t dependent on age after all, and there are very mature teenagers around.
I think the problem is that a lot of people enter relationships before they really know what they want â€“ in their lives and in their relationship. Contrary to popular practice or belief, the â€œtrial and errorâ€ way of finding â€œthe oneâ€ isnâ€™t the best or wisest way. That trail has left many broken hearts that can never be the same again. Some people have been trying for so long and still have not â€œwizenedâ€ up to the HOW. And while some people might get lucky and stumble upon â€œthe oneâ€, that may still not predict a happy and stable relationship.
There arenâ€™t many people who think that love needs preparation, but it does indeed. Because when you really know what youâ€™re seeking in life and in a mate (and itâ€™s not as simple as it seems), there really arenâ€™t that many people who can fit. You know how when I was 8 the criteria for my guy was â€˜tall, dark, handsome, prince preferablyâ€™? And that was different when I was 14, 16, 18, 20â€¦ I have gradually refined what I really am seeking, and whatâ€™s really important to me, and by the time I knew, Iâ€™d already whittled it down so that when I found the guy, I knew that heâ€™s the only one.
Itâ€™s not really just becoming more selective, but getting wiser to your own needs, your dreams, and whatâ€™s really important to you, and that also helps in realizing what kind of things are important to you in a relationship, what kind of person will fit you, and how you want to love.