1. Never forget who you are.
And I know, that sounds like just your mother thinking you are something special but guess what—you really are. And so is every other young woman. You need to remember, no matter who or when you are dating, that you are a person of invaluable worth. And because of this—
2. Demand Respect
You deserve to be respected in every circumstance, and you must remember to show that respect too. Throughout your dating years and relationships—both casual and serious—recognize that you deserve the respect of having your decisions heard, of how far you will take any relationship.
3. Do Not Settle
And by this I mean do not assume that a relationship that isn’t working for you will eventually change into just what you want it to be. If it isn’t what you want it to be in the beginning, the odds of it completely changing are slim. So slim that you should not expect you or your partner to wait around, taking from the other, hoping for the other to do what is needed. It is okay to not be compatible; it is okay to decide that you both deserve more. Don’t prolong the frustration for either one of you.
4. You Do Not Have to Have a Partner to Be Complete
There is no shame in recognizing when you have found someone that you love, someone that adds to your life in more ways than you thought possible. It is a beautiful thing to say, “He/she makes me feel amazing.” But do remember that you are you—whole and beautiful, capable of traversing this road alone if needed. Taking a partner is a wonderful and extraordinary thing—but do not allow it to be the only way you will move forward in success.
5. Don’t Let Them Take You
No matter what kind of relationship you are in, do not allow your love to be taken away. Even in a casual relationship, even as a young teen dating and still discovering “love,” know that it must be made of mutual respect and caring. It must echo what you are giving. Do not give and give until you are left with nothing for yourself. Find the relationships that replenish you.