Who doesn’t love love? It’s one of the best, purest emotions out there. This means, of course, that it has the most drama connected to it. Everyone worries about collecting a lot of relationship baggage while they’re young, but the truth is it’s going to happen regardless of how you try to avoid it. Instead of trying to prevent lots of missteps, read these tips and find out what you should know about love when you’re still young. Find comfort in knowing that everyone goes through these things, and we all make it out on the other side.

1. You’ll make mistakes.

It’s ok to make mistakes when you’re young – especially in love! Love isn’t a rational feeling, it’s something that makes you feel the highest of happiness during the good times, and the lowest of sadness during the bad times. You’re going to date people you shouldn’t; you’re going to have arguments that aren’t worth having; and you’re going to say the wrong things during these fights. It’s ok because you’re going to learn from each of these mistakes, and that will make your true love that much sweeter.

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2. You can be selfish.

It’s normal to be selfish when you’re young, because you need to figure out who you are and what you want from life. It’s acceptable to break up with someone over something that might seem a bit petty just because they don’t seem right for you – because they probably aren’t! When you’re in your teens and twenties, you need to focus on yourself, because you need to discover who you are and what your career will be. You need to work on things like this, including loving yourself, before you try to make a partnership work for the long haul.

3. You can be single.

And you should be! Too many young people think they always need to be in a relationship. If you have this mindset, then you’re more likely to date people who are bad for you just so you’ll be with someone. It’s ok to be single! No one is watching you and keeping track of how long you’re single versus how long you’re in a relationship. It’s important to be single so you can focus on your own life; when you do find that special someone, your relationship will be that much better because it will be special. You’ll be a well-rounded person, and you won’t have a history of hopping from relationship to relationship with no substance.

4. You’ll fall in love with the wrong person.

This is the hardest lesson to learn, because people rarely seem wrong for you at the start of a relationship. When you feel the sparks and the butterflies, you can’t imagine that someone could be bad for you. But they can be, and they will be, and you need to learn how to identify this in others. Your partner might be a great person; they don’t have to be mean or abusive or inconsiderate! They can be kind and still be wrong — for you. You should be with someone who brings out the best in you, who is sweet and encouraging and compatible with you, not who you think you should be with to make anyone else happy.

5. It’s ok to fall in love.

So you’ve met the wrong person, and maybe you kind of even know they’re wrong for you, but you can’t help it — you’re falling in love. That’s ok! It’s good to let yourself feel things for others. If you’re too hesitant to fall in love, then you might never let loose enough to find your special someone. Love is a beautiful feeling, and it’s never wrong to feel it for someone as long as you believe it’s true.

6. Live and love in the moment.

Never chastise yourself for falling in love. When you feel something in the moment, you need to let yourself feel that emotion completely. Fall in love, daydream about your future, and, as hard as it may be to do, let yourself get hurt. You’ll learn from all of these moments and all of these emotions. It seems like you’d look back and kick yourself for having a crush on someone who was so obviously wrong for you, but you’ll see the past through rose-colored glasses and be glad that you experienced as much as you did.

7. You don’t need to have a timeline.

When you’re young, you get so used to people asking what you’re majoring in or what you want to be when you grow up that you start planning out your whole life. It seems more stable to think “I should be married by the time I’m 25 so I can have kids before I’m 30,” than to fly by the seat of your pants. But the truth is, those timelines rarely work out. If they do, it might just because you feel pressured to stick to them. What if you’re dating the wrong person when you’re 25, but still feel like you have to get married to meet your goal? Scrap any timeline you have in mind. Life is going to throw you curveballs whether you have plans or not, so see who you meet, who you fall in love with, and go with the flow.

8. Don’t put others before yourself.

When you’re older and in a committed relationship or marriage, there will be times when you need to put your own wants on the back burner and let your spouse reach some of their personal goals. It’s ok to put others before yourself if you’re being supportive and not letting your own needs and wants fall to the wayside, but it shouldn’t become a habit. If you’re in a relationship where your partner constantly needs to be the center of attention and won’t let you have interests of your own or time to yourself, you need to get out of that. Realize that it’s not only acceptable to put yourself first, but it’s necessary when you’re young and still have so much growing and learning to do.

9. Love yourself.

You’ll fall in love with good people and you’ll fall in love with bad people, but above all, you need to love yourself. If you love who you are, then you’ll be more open to loving others. Love is always a great thing to share, but loving yourself also means you won’t have to find that love in others. You can love someone without needing something from them to feel validated. Loving yourself is the most powerful love you can experience.

Featured photo credit: Kelley Boone via flickr.com

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