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10 Reasons Why We Never Forget Our First Love

10 Reasons Why We Never Forget Our First Love

There are a lot of firsts we encounter in life, like owning our first car, having our first drink, and our first day at school. Firsts are some of the most memorable moments in life, and depending on the situation can either bring us a feeling of ecstasy or a sense of devastation. Either way, one thing most people remember is their first love.

Love is always special, but your first love moves you in a way that is inherently unique. It introduces you to feelings you have never had before, for better or for worse, and is accompanied by a sense of wonder, intrigue, and excitement. Even though your first love may not have lasted, it will be a part of who you are for the rest of your life.

When we think about our first love, there is a mixture of emotions we all feel which can be hard to explain. But why, even though our first love may have happened 5, 10, 15, or even 50 or more years ago, do a lot of us still think about it today?

Here are 10 reasons why our first loves are unforgettable:

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1. Your First Love is Powerful

The first time you fall in love can feel practically earth shattering. All of a sudden, you realize you care about someone else in a way that you didn’t fully understand was possible. Even though we are aware of love, the first time you experience it in the romantic sense opens up a world of possibility and excitement, coupled with a hint of fear. It is unlike anything you have felt before, making the person associated with this discovery a permanent fixture in your memory.

2. Your First Heartbreak is Powerful, Too

The only thing that rivals the intensity of your first love is your first heartbreak. Often, these feelings are surrounded by memories of the same person. For those who didn’t remain with their first love for the rest of their lives, the ending of that relationship was likely very painful, regardless of who initiated the end or whether it was amicable.

It’s hard to let go of your first love, to walk away from those early feelings that were almost magical. The amount of effort required, and the amount of pain felt, will likely stick with you for a lifetime.

3. Your First Love was Innocent

For most people, their first love was innocent. It was free of manipulation on their part and often developed organically over time. It wasn’t something you were trying to do, it just happened. The lack of motive or intention makes it seem even more special.

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After our first love, we are highly aware of what outcome we desire from any subsequent relationship. We may put more pressure on these relationships as we attempt to find something that brings us back to those initial feelings we felt the first time. This can cause us to act differently as we actively pursue that kind of connection again.

4. Your First Love Came with Other Firsts

Your first love was likely not the only first you experienced with the person who captured your heart. They may have encouraged you to try new things and take on new challenges, and were at least partially responsible for some of your personal growth. You also bore witness to the changes you incited in them and saw how people could support each other in a positive way.

In some cases, your first love may have also been involved in various physical firsts, and the emotional and chemical reactions that come with them. Whether it was a first kiss or the loss of virginity, these physical firsts are also memories we tend to carry with us throughout our lifetimes. Even in cases where things were clumsy or uncomfortable, most of these memories are looked at with a level of affection.

5. Your First Love Was Part of Your First “Us”

Though you may have identified as part of a couple before, your first love is often the first time you actually felt like you were part of an “us” or a “we.” This may represent the first time you made decisions based on what made sense for you as a couple, instead of you as an individual. You may have even prioritized the other person’s thoughts, opinions, or feeling above you own when faced with a decision, relinquishing a few your preferences in favor of someone else’s.

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6. Your First Love May Not Have Ended by Choice

It isn’t uncommon for first loves to be pulled apart more by circumstance than pure choice. For example, two students preparing to attend different universities may end a relationship instead of trying to make it work over a long distance. The same may also occur when presented with a job opportunity that would prove significant for one person’s career.

First loves are often young loves. During our youth, we do not always have the highest level of control over where our lives take us. Before reaching adulthood, we are tied to the activities of our families, which may require us to relocate based on the decisions made by our parents. Educational opportunities and early career options may also be a factor, as it may not be feasible to sacrifice one’s future in order to stay together.

7. Your First Love Represents Your Youth

Over time, thoughts of your first love don’t just refer to them, but to where you were at that point in your life. It may bring back memories of your youth, of a time that may seem much simpler when viewed in hindsight through the eyes of an adult. Longing for your first love may represent a longing to return to that simpler time.

8. Your First Love Represents Possibility

Along with representing your youth, your first love may also remind you of a time when the possibilities seemed endless and much of life felt new and exciting. Thinking of your first love may conjure up a variety of what-ifs, as you consider what could have been had you made different choices at key points in your life.

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9. Your First Love Changed You

Part of what inspires a first love is the positive effect you have on one another. A first love is often marked by a period of personal growth and development, a time of new experiences and facing your fears. As a result, the relationship helps shape who you are and how you proceed through the world, and may represent the first time you allowed someone else’s influence to have such a significant impact on who you are at your core.

10. Your First Love Only Happens Once

The biggest reason your first love will always be with you is that, no matter what, it is always your only first love. The first of any event can only happen once in a lifetime, making it special in it exclusivity. No matter who you later love, or how you change over time, your first love will always be the first, for the rest of your life.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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