1. Your drive.
You should always love someone who brings out the best in you, who inspires you to be better, or at least respects the passion you have for the things you care about. No, you don’t have to have the same interests. And sure, sometimes when you fall for someone, they can balance your craziness out. But when you get into a relationship, you should never change your drive. Don’t let someone make you lazy or dispassionate. Don’t let them squash your dreams or your go-getter personality. Don’t let them make you stagnant, dissatisfied, or ‘blah.’
This is your life and your future and what you desire for it should never be altered for a significant other.
2. The things you love.
You don’t have to love football just because he does. He shouldn’t feel obligated to play Scrabble just because it’s your favorite board game. There’s nothing wrong with compromising or indulging in the other person’s favorites, but you shouldn’t stop cooking pasta with Alfredo sauce just because he hates it, or sell all your video games just because she won’t play with you.
Everything in balance, but don’t stop loving what you love on the account of someone else.
3. Your sense of self.
You are unique. You are capable. You are strong. You are smart. You are an amazing person, whether or not you’re in a relationship. Don’t lose who you are or who you’ve become in loving someone else.
You have always been, and always will be you.
4. Your connection with family and friends.
No one comes from a perfect family, but family has been there, at least for a part of your life. Even if you don’t have the best relationship with your family, they still play a role in who you are and you can’t toss them to the side just because of a relationship. Same goes for friends, who have been there when you weren’t in this relationship. If you fall for someone who wants to pull you away from the people in your life, don’t let him/her. You can have a perfectly healthy relationship with your family and friends still in the picture.
You can’t say goodbye to the ones you love or the ones who raised you just because of someone else’s wishes or insecurities.
5. Your emotions.
We all have emotions (some that we don’t like to admit). But when you get into a relationship with someone, all your emotions come out. Your anger. Your frustration. You’re uncanny ability to laugh at the worst moments. The ease at which you burst into tears when you feel overwhelmed. Some emotions are reasonable, and yes, some might be a little crazy. But we’re all wired differently and you can’t apologize for what you feel or how you act. Don’t try to shut yourself off just to please your significant other or to keep the peace.
You were meant to feel things, and feel them deeply. Your emotions are, and always will be, a part of you.
6. Your quirks.
Maybe you hum in the shower or bite the tips of your pencils. Maybe you love being barefoot or always dance in the kitchen while making dinner. You have these little things that make you, you. And you shouldn’t try to change those for someone else. The right person will see those little quirks, those little strange things, those little flaws as special, as a part of you that they won’t trade for the world.
Remember that love is about embracing who you are, who the person you love is, and who the both of you are when you’re together. Remember that in true love, you shouldn’t have to change yourself.