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5 Things Only Your First Love Can Teach You

5 Things Only Your First Love Can Teach You

As much as we’d like to believe romantic movies and television shows, real love is something wonderful, but complex. Moving from childlike romantic ideals to real life love is exciting and challenging. Your first love will open your eyes to adult relationships, plus show you a thing or two about loving yourself. Regardless of where the relationship ends up, your first love comes with some incredibly important life lessons.

Conflict can be healthy

No relationship will be smooth sailing from start to finish. No matter how much you care about someone, or how much you have in common, there will be times when you disagree. The difference with someone who truly loves you is that the focus will be on resolving the conflict, not winning a fight. When fights turn into discussions, which grow into heart-to-hearts, you know you’re handling confit in a productive way. Sacrifice, compromise, and communication will soon take the place of quarreling or arguing. There’s nothing like loving someone so much you’d rather lose an argument than see them upset.

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Your body issues aren’t really issues

All of us have hang-ups about our appearance, but being with your first love will make you view yourself in a different way. Experiencing love will make it clear that what you think is wrong with your body isn’t a big deal. In fact, significant others will often adore the qualities you think are flaws. Most importantly, your first love will teach you that perfection isn’t what is attractive, and people come in all sorts of stunning appearances. Your first love will surely teach you to see your body in a more positive way, regardless of the road your relationship takes.

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Selflessness is a virtue

If you’re like most of us, the biggest concerns in life are things that affect you. While a self-centered approach is often valuable in career and education endeavors, selfishness is a healthy relationship’s Kryptonite. Learning to share your time and space long-term will be absolutely crucial to a successful love life in the future. First loves challenge our selfishness.

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You’re too hard on yourself

Many of us hold what we think are high standards for ourselves, but they are in fact impossible standards. Having an outside perspective from someone who truly cares can help you see your flawed logic. Ultimately, if you would be soft on a friend in the same situation, there’s no need to be hard on yourself. If your relationship’s a healthy one, your first love will undoubtedly challenge this habit. 

Relationships need love too

Maintaining a relationship is much different than casually dating or starting a relationship. To truly care for someone else takes effort and longevity. Your first love will undoubtedly make you more thoughtful and active in sharing your affection. Unfortunately, sometimes love alone isn’t enough to maintain a relationship. As much as we wish they wouldn’t, exterior factors have a big impact on our relationships. Your first love is likely the first time you’ll meet these challenges, making it a true learning experience. Learning how to care for someone over time, and how to make the right decisions for your situation, is a critical lesson we take from our first love.

Featured photo credit: Untitled/bailey.foster via flickr.com

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Alicia Prince

A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 4, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no,” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning.

But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

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“Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

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“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

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Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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