I’ve noticed a disconcerting trend among my 20-something friends: a lack of respect for their bodies and themselves. With the creation and growing popularity of apps like Tinder (for those of you lucky enough not to encounter it yet, Tinder is more or less a “hot or not” app for 20-somethings), the typical conventions of dating are becoming even less frequent. More and more, my friends are allowing themselves to be used and tossed away by people who aren’t even worth the time of day – people that they would never have gone for before. And it’s frustrating and disconcerting, because determining your self-worth in someone else’s eyes is just a recipe for disaster.
1. We deserve more. It’s simple: no one deserves to be used for sex and tossed to the side like garbage. We’ve heard the lectures from our health teachers, moms, or other guardians since we were children. We know, somewhere deep down, that we deserve way more than some hormone-crazed crush that says pretty things for approximately two days before disappearing back into the woodwork. Whether you believe it or not, you are actually worth something outside of the bedroom.
2. We’re slowly breaking ourselves. I can’t count the number of friends that I’ve seen break down in tears because they really thought that some guy was “different.” I can’t count the number of friends that I’ve heard beat themselves up for “being so stupid,” or for “falling for it again.” The more we beat ourselves up and hold ourselves accountable for the way someone else treats us, the more we’re going to feel like we deserved to be treated that way (see #1).
3. We’re smarter than this. I’ll be honest, I’m definitely guilty of adopting the aforementioned “I’m so stupid” mentality from time to time. And, in reality, we are being stupid when we fall for the same nice words and cute smiles over and over again. We’re smart enough to know when someone is just using us – we just might not want to see it. But, if your best friend can see it, trust them. They know what they’re talking about.
4. We’re going to break our trust bone. Okay, so we don’t actually have a trust bone. But, if we did, we’d certainly be fracturing it. You can only give your trust away so many times before you become convinced that you should never trust again. Someday, somebody will come along and be worthy of our trust, and we don’t want to be too scared to realize it when that day comes.
5. We’re not really going to be alone. I think a lot of 20-somethings (myself included) are overwhelmed by the amount of engagements/marriages/babies popping up on our Facebook newsfeeds. A lot of us become so convinced that, if we don’t meet “the one” tomorrow, we’re probably going to die alone, surrounded by cats. Think about it realistically: there are over 7 billion people in the world. What makes you think that you’re going to be special enough to avoid the drama of love and make it out alone?
So, remind yourself that you’re worth more than you think. You deserve more than you’re accepting. As one of my favorite quotes says, ”If you don’t love yourself, you’ll always be chasing after people who don’t love you either.”