8 Lifelong Lessons My First Love Taught Me

by Tamara Williams

We all know the old adage: Love changes you in ways you can’t imagine. When you experience your first real love, you learn how to love another person. But most importantly, you learn how to love yourself. And these lessons last a lifetime, even after your relationship with the other person has ended. These are just a few of the lessons I learned from my first real love, that I still carry with me today.

1. Loving yourself must be your first priority.

To be successful in loving another person, you need to be successful at loving you. To be successful in valuing another person, you need to be successful at valuing you. Make sure you take care of yourself. Don’t diminish your own self-love.

2. You are not anyone’s property.

You may feel like you are bound and belong to your partner, as if the only way to prove your love means to give up all your agency and put your partner’s needs first. It doesn’t. You belong only to yourself and your needs matter too.

3. They can’t save you.

Your partner is not superhero, nor should you expect them to be. If you have personal issues before you're in a relationship, those problems will still exist for you in one. Realize what you need to work on personally and focus on that.

4. A relationship cannot survive on love alone.

Yes, love is important. You can love someone with every fiber of your being, but a lasting relationship requires more. It takes work and effort from both parties. Recognize you don’t and should not carry the relationship by yourself.

5. They are not your only sense of comfort.

It can be easy to stay with someone because you've gotten comfortable with them. Breaking up is awkward and exhausting for both parties. When you are only staying in a bad relationship because it's comfortable, it’s time for the relationship to end.

6. Forgive yourself.

Relationships end, and sometimes we blame ourselves. Everyone makes mistakes. You aren’t perfect and no one expects you to be. Learn to love your flaws, forgive yourself, and let go of the guilt.

7. You need to grieve.

When the relationship ends, you will hurt and you will question what went wrong. There is nothing wrong with putting your all in a relationship and it not working out. The faster you forgive yourself and heal, the faster you will be able to move on and love again.

8. Remember: You are enough.

Never allow another person to take away your sense of self. You deserve love and attention. Everyone deserves a healthy, loving, lasting relationship. And most importantly, they deserve to have that relationship with themselves. Don't rely on someone else to love you better than you can love you.

What lessons did your first love teach you? Share them in the comments.

Photo credit: Deposit Photos

Tamara Williams is a writer and regular contributor to For Harriet. You can follow her on Twitter: @tawill0920.

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