Hannah Brown’s Dating Advice Will Change The Way You Look At Love (And Yourself)
“I am enough exactly as I am. And I'm enough to be loved by somebody fully.” And so are you.
In Elite Daily’s Q&A series Everything I’ve Learned About Love (So Far), celebrities share their most heartfelt and heartbreaking lessons about dating, relationships, and breakups, and offer their best advice. This time, Hannah Brown—a former Bachelorette star and author of God Bless This Mess: Learning to Live and Love Through Life’s Best (and Worst) Moments—opens up about her best pieces of dating advice, her relationship with Adam Woolard, and what she wished she would have learned about love sooner.
What’s your best piece of dating advice?
As annoying as it is to say, you have to learn to love yourself first. If I had not been on the journey that I was on and really committed to doing the work to grow and understand myself, I would've never met Adam. And he was on that journey himself.
We weren't trying to use each other to fill some hole that we had in our hearts. We’re helping each other become better versions of ourselves individually. You can't do that if you don't even know who you are first.
What’s your best piece of breakup advice?
Grieving is important. With everything in life, if you don't really grieve, you're just setting yourself up for failure. I've gone to my journal and written, “What were the good things about the relationship?” Then, I’ve drawn a line through the middle and been like, “What were the bad things in the relationship?” Really get honest about what that relationship was actually like.
Also, having a good support system is so important. My friend did this for me, and now I'm doing it for her. Anytime you want to text your ex, send it to your friend instead. That way, you don't keep opening the old wound.
What's your most memorable first date story, good or bad?
It was in high school. We were going to see a movie. It was Skyfall, the James Bond movie. I was so excited to see it. We’re in the car, and in the Alabama heat, you want some AC, but we had the windows down. We get to the movie, and I'm in it. Everybody makes fun of me when I watch a movie. You cannot try to get my attention. I’m all in.
Halfway through, he tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Do you like this movie?” And I was like, “Oh, yeah. It's awesome.” He said, “Well, I kind of read the times wrong, and I told my dad that I would have you home at 11:00.” I looked at him and was like, “That’s OK, my parents won't care.” He said, “No, but my dad will care.”
So we had to leave the movie early because of his dad! I've still never seen the end of the movie.
What's a fear you used to have about dating or relationships that you've overcome?
I've struggled with feeling like what I'm offering to the table is enough, like I can just show up as myself and not have to put on a show or be the best version of myself at all times.
That's not just in a relationship, but just as a human, living this life. I am enough exactly as I am. I'm enough to be loved by somebody fully. When I am at my worst, that doesn't mean that somebody's going to question if they want to be with me. Having someone, especially a partner, who wants you as yourself, no more, no less feels really safe and good.
What's one underrated thing you love about your partner?
I love that Adam is a great orderer. He can order really good food, and I have the worst time making decisions about what I want to eat. I can look at him and be like, “Can you just decide?” He just knows when I just can't right now, and he doesn't get frustrated. He's like, “Got it, I'll take care of it. No worries.”
What's the most meaningful lesson you learned from your current relationship?
It's the most mature relationship I've been in, and it's definitely been the only relationship that I've had where I felt like we can equally communicate our feelings. It's really great to have someone that I can share my feelings with and know that they are going to be validated and listened to, but also that Adam can equally share how he’s feeling, as well.
I've never had that before, and it's been so great, especially in this time of my life. I have been growing so much on this crazy journey of shedding old patterns and beliefs and becoming a new version of myself. That has been great, but also painful. Honestly, I don't know if anybody else could have been in my life right now.
What does love mean to you?
Love is a choice. Choosing to be there, to encourage, to comfort another, whether they deserve it or not. Unconditional love is wholly accepting somebody for who they are and expanding that love more than you thought was possible. Love is boundless.
I think it's a running definition, too. In a relationship, it’s really important that both partners want to continue to change and grow. Both partners need to know that the person that you first meet is not the same person that you're going to be with in 50 years.
You're going to evolve, and it’s important to encourage that. With Adam and me, he's growing with me, and I think you keep helping each other level up when you do that.
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