Push It to the Limit

This past weekend, I ran in the second 5k of my life. From the time I signed up to the morning of the race, I was completely dreading it. I kept thinking of how badly I was going to do because I hadn’t been training. I was convinced I would hate every second of it and stop running within the first mile. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed the race the ENTIRE time I was running it. Yes, there were times of pain and exhaustion, but I genuinely enjoyed myself. Even though my time of a little less than 31 minutes is quite unimpressive to those in the running world, I was proud of myself because I was able to push myself and finish the race.

During the race, I told myself I could do it and that the pain would be worth it. When I crossed the finish line, I felt a sense of accomplishment and a step towards finding the right form of exercise for me. I could have decided to walk at any point in time, but when I felt like I could barely take another step, I would push myself harder and run a little faster. When I felt a pain in my knee, I would convince myself it wasn’t there and refused to let it be my excuse to give up and walk the rest of the way. There were two times that I had to stop and take a few steps to give myself a rest, but I could not let myself just give up. I ran all but maybe 2o steps for the entire race and set a new personal record for fastest time! I could have very easily decided to just walk the race that morning. It was early, I was tired, I felt out of shape, and I was not confident in myself. But I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. To me, this is what working out is all about. It isn’t about looking good in a bikini, impressing that boy with your body, wearing a size 0 jeans, or impressing other people. Accomplishing this goal was all about me proving to myself that I had it in me.

In all that you aim to do, whether it be a health goal, a school goal, or a relationship goal, push yourself to go past what you think you are capable of. Doing this can help raise your confidence in yourself, make you happy, and help you find something you really enjoy.

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Balancing Act: How to Balance Friendships and a Relationship

The excitement of a new relationship is overwhelming and fun, and we want nothing more than to be with that person 24/7. It is so easy to get caught up in that excitement that we oftentimes lose track of the friends who have always been around. Being in a relationship should never make you lose sight of friendships, but that is easier said than done.

Why do we suddenly put our friends on the backburner and focus all of our time, attention, and effort on one person? As young girls we are made to believe that one of our main goal in life is to find a man, fall in love, get married, and have a family. However, dating does not mean that friends need to be dropped. It is just as important to maintain friendships as it is to maintain a relationship. No significant other should ever pull you away from your friends so much that they feel neglected or forgotten. Of course, you and your friends will have to understand that you won’t be spending all of your time together. It will be an adjustment for all parties involved, but if you try your hardest to maintain a healthy balance, it will be rewarding in the end.

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Keys to Success:

  1. Alternate weekends: If most of your free time lies on the weekend, and you see both your friends and your significant other during the week, don’t make plans with the same people every weekend. One weekend, go out to dinner with your significant other, and have a girls’ night the next.
  2. Put yourself in your friends shoes: Imagine feeling like you have lost your best friend to someone else. You would probably be crushed. Being empathetic towards your friends in this time will really help you keep in mind that you have a lot of important people already in your life and that one new person should not take all your time away from those people.
  3. Make your S.O. be friendly with your friends: This helps to ensure that you don’t always have to divide up your time. Trust me, life is so much easier when your friends love your significant other and he/she likes your friends back.
  4. Remember that friendships usually last longer than relationships: In the “honeymoon phase” of any relationship, you are going to think you’ll be together forever. But that is not true most of the time. If you spend all of your time with your significant other, who is going to be there for you if your relationship does end? Most friends won’t stick around if you start ignoring them every time you get into a new relationship. Nothing is better for heartbreak than your best friends!

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One of the most important pieces of advice I have gotten from my mom is how to have a healthy relationship. She always tells me that one of her biggest mistakes in high school was having her life revolve around her boyfriend. She lost a lot of friends during that time because she was at her boyfriend’s beck and call, and she would drop whatever she was doing to hang out with him. Although the relationship lasted a few years, it wasn’t forever. My mom would have liked to get her friends back, but most people will not be willing to come back into your life after you ignored them for someone else. I learned a lot from her mistake, and she is a constant reminder to try and keep balance between the people in my life.

There is a huge rush of excitement in a new relationship, and it can be quite overwhelming. It’s hard not to want to do everything you can to make that person happy and to get to know him or her as best as you can. But you must remember that friends need just as much love and attention. If all focus shifts to one person, you risk losing the friends that have been there for you through everything. It’s easy to get carried away with the relationship and devote all your time to it, but if you just put yourself in your friends shoes and imagine how you would feel if you were suddenly pushed aside and constantly canceled on, it should help you put equal effort into your friendships and relationship.

The Talk

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What do you think of when you hear “the talk?” More than likely that awkward talk you had with your parents in the fifth grade about the birds and the bees popped into your mind. Or maybe it was that time in sex ed when your teacher put a condom on a banana. But that isn’t what I am here to talk to you about. Instead, I want to talk about how to have that same talk with your significant other. No matter your opinions on sex, you are going to have to have this talk at one point or another. It could just be to set ground rules and say you want to wait until marriage to have sex, or it could be to tell someone you are ready to “take your relationship to the next level.” Either way, it is one of the most important conversations to have with your partner.

So many people think that sex is a thing that “just happens.” But I think that it needs to be talked about. Every relationship needs boundaries, and although it can be awkward to have these boundary-setting conversations, they are necessary to a successful and comfortable relationship. Not talking about sex, can lead to a lot of regret and unanswered questions. “Did he just want to date me so we could have sex? Did it mean as much to him as it meant to me?” You’ll never know unless you are able to have the tough conversations.

There are no set rules on when or how to have these conversations, but here are a few tips:

  1. If you are not comfortable enough to talk about it, wait. If the thought of saying the word “sex” makes you cringe, it is probably because you are not comfortable enough to have sex with your partner.
  2. Remember, this is a two way street. Even if you are ready, your partner may not be, and you have to respect that.
  3. Talk about condoms, birth control, and previous partners. It is better to get all of this out in the open before you become sexually active with someone. Safe sex is the best sex J.

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  1. And if there have been previous sexual partners, make sure you get tested for sexually transmitted infections. You don’t want to harm your partner by accidentally passing something along that you didn’t know you even had! It is also super important for your own health, and some STI’s are even curable!
  2. It is okay to tell someone that you are not ready to have sex with them or that you want to wait until you are married to have sex. If your partner is not accepting of that, they are not the right person for you.
  3. CONSENT! Even after having the talk with your partner, one of you may change your mind. That is completely fine and normal; so make sure you ask your partner again if they are sure and ready before doing anything. And if you change your mind, don’t hesitate to tell your partner. If he or she loves you, they will wait!

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Whether you are ready to have sex with your partner or not, you should always be able to talk to him/her about how you feel about sex. Letting someone know that you are ready to have sex is just as important as letting him or her know you don’t want to have sex until marriage. I feel like this is one of the most important conversations in a relationship because without it there is room for a lot of mistakes, regret, and peer pressure. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you are not ready to do. Have the difficult conversations, set boundaries, and always respect your partner!