Why It's Not The End Of The World If You Haven't Found 'The One' In Your 20s

The timeline of any young adult life is a turbulent one. While we drag ourselves out of the depths of debt and the sometimes rocky post-grad transition into the real world, we are hit with the harsh realities of expectations that may not shape up how we expected they would in our 20s.

Not only are we constantly pressured to sustain success within our designated careers, but we usually start to think irrationally about where we stand in terms of the plans we set for ourselves.

Obviously, our success within the dating spectrum usually works its way into this thought process. For those of us who haven’t met someone we want to go on another date with -- let alone spend our lives with -- a certain pressure can settle into the back of our minds.

Suddenly, you can find yourself looking at everyone you meet as a potential mate, which can either upset your expectations entirely, prevent you from giving the people you meet the consideration they deserve or allow you to enter relationships that aren’t truly right for you.

The answer is to stop searching; the right things will come with time. Try to remember the following things:

1. Never settle ... ever.

I will never claim to be a total expert on dating or romance and I may still have a lot to learn in regards to certain romantic concepts, but there is one thing I am absolutely sure of: You never have a reason to settle when it comes to love.

There are too many times in our lives when we will have to make compromises -- love should not be one of them. If something strikes you as mediocre, set your sights higher.

If you are in a relationship that you know won’t be right for either of you in the long haul, don’t be afraid to walk away. If someone isn't treating you the way he or she should be, stand your ground.

Appreciate everything, act with kindness and learn as you go, but never remain stagnant simply because you’re afraid that it just might not get any better. These are the expectations you are setting for yourself and your experiences will be a direct reflection of those thoughts.

2. Soul mates come in many forms.

If you spend all your time searching for that one person you believe may fit your ideology of a soul mate, you are potentially closing yourself off to some incredible relationships. Although I have never bought into the idea of “love at first sight,” I absolutely believe in the concept of soul mates.

I don’t think, however, we are meant to only have one soul mate; I think we are meant to have many. With the right mindset, you will meet people who align with you in the most surprising and fulfilling ways.

Allow yourself the opportunity to greet these people with an open mind and heart, and you will spend your life surrounded by not one, but many people who help complement your best self.

3. Why are you apologizing? Your romantic decisions are entirely your own.

I also believe, due to the constant variety of opinions and advice available on the subject, we often find ourselves both justifying and apologizing for some of the romantic decisions we make. If you ask me, we should never feel obligated to do this.

I don’t mean this to say we should act recklessly in regards to love, I mean we should put ourselves and our needs first. It is a complicated game and feelings will often be neglected at one time or another, but the decisions we make in our best interests are exactly that: Our own.

4. Stop asking for approval.

Of course, with all of this comes the importance of putting aside the tendency to ask for approval within our dating lives. Don’t be fooled: Even the most confident of individuals can fall into this trap.

We may not openly acknowledge it, but there will be many times in our lives when we end up making decisions that don’t suit our desires in an attempt to gain the approval of someone who may not deserve our efforts.

Although you may often be required to make adjustments for certain people who come into your life, never feel the need to warp your values based on any misguided, shallow flings that will not benefit or develop you in any way. You don’t have anything to prove, no one gets to decide your personal or romantic worth and you don’t need to ask for someone's validation.

5. Don't spend too much time focusing on the future that you forget to enjoy the present.

Don’t forget to take a step back and appreciate where you are and remind yourself that, regardless of where that place may be, it’s okay. If we spend all our time focusing on a single destination, we will neglect to appreciate the in-between for everything that it is.

Don’t cheat yourself of the experience; live it for all that it is worth. If you haven’t met the one, that’s okay. For some of us, it will happen early on, and for others, it may not happen until everything else has settled into place.

Either way, you need to trust the process and believe that things ultimately work out the way they are meant to. Because sometimes, the best people don’t always come into your life when you want them, but when you are ready for them.

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