How To Know If Your Boyfriend Respects You

  1. He always snapchats you right when he wakes up.
  2. He wears nice jeans when you go out together.
  3. His favorite color is red.
  4. He only chews spearmint gum.

Does anyone else come across advice as meaningless as this list as often as I do? There is no shortage of subjective articles on how to interpret the spineless romance our generation has now settled for. But these articles, while usually well-meaning, are most often hollow and misguided. They promise sound advice, but are frustratingly devoid of legitimate substance, throwing out inconsequential examples of affection with little to no relevance to true respect. Sometimes, the people clicking on these articles are genuinely desperate for tangible advice, and petty examples just don’t cut it.

I believe my generation especially is suffering from a lack of understanding in this area. It seems like we are struggling to identify true respect.  If you’re not happy with the relationship you’re in, no matter how serious or casual it is, let’s be real.

You don’t need an article to tell you if you’re being disrespected- you already know.

If you’re reading this with a specific person in mind, chances are that you already knew if they respected you before you clicked on this. You can tell if you are being treated honorably without reading an article about it. But sometimes, it takes a little encouragement to come to terms with the truth.

I’ve been in several relationships that I knew I shouldn’t have been in, but continued to accept disrespect simply because I didn’t have the courage to fight for anything better. (Read more about that here)

So my aim is to encourage you not to do what I did. If you find yourself in a relationship with someone who does not know your worth, it’s not a bad idea to rethink your participation in that relationship. Or, at the very least, consider how you might open up communication about improving your relationship. Often times, your guy might just need a little clarification as to what you expect from him. For example, communicating that you’d like to be walked to your door or to your car when being dropped off is something that can easily be worked on. But if you are seeing consistent red flags that you know aren’t going to change, that’s a different story.

re·spect
rəˈspekt/

verb
1. admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

 

To break it down: when you are being shown respect, you are being admired for your:

abilities
qualities*
achievements

(*Side note: Although our physical qualities can be beautiful, true respect is not earned based on physicality. Respect is earned based on character qualities. If a guy is interested in you only for what you look like, or what you can give him physically, you are not being shown respect. I could write a whole book about that from personal experience, but I’ll save that for later.)

Although I believe most people know when they are being respected, I can give three personal examples of how I know my boyfriend Devon respects me:

  1. He listens to me. He values and trusts my opinion, and makes it a priority to listen to what I am thinking and feeling. He works to understand me, and asks questions when he doesn’t get what I’m saying. He makes it a priority to know what’s going on in my heart and in my mind!
  2. He builds me up. He encourages me every single day, and pushes me to be the best version of myself. He helps me set personal goals, and celebrates my victories as if they were his own. He also builds me up publicly, telling others about how proud he is of me and showing me off. He makes me feel like I can do anything I set my mind to!
  3. He sacrifices for me. He does this with little things- like walking on the side of me that’s closest to the street to protect me, giving me the best bite of dinner, or paying for my food. He also does this with bigger things- like giving up sleep to stay up late with me when I’m feeling lonely, spending time with me even when he has a crazy schedule, and working really hard to be able to take me out to nice places and make me feel special. No matter what it is, I know he is willing to sacrifice for me.

I’m never left wondering if Devon respects me. I am confident of it without a doubt, because of these reasons and so many more. He respects me, and I respect him- it’s a two-way exchange. In a relationship, respect needs to be mutual. So if you clicked here knowing you’re not being shown respect, I’ve been there too. Just don’t stay there.

 

“Be devoted to one another in love, and outdo one another in showing honor” Romans 12:10

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Read This When You Hate Your Body

Let me try & catch you before you say something mean to yourself about how you look, because we all have those days.

Did you forget that your body has a purpose other than looking beautiful?

In fact, out of the list of things your body has on it’s to-do list, looking attractive is probably at the very bottom of the list.  If your body is successfully pumping blood to your heart, taking in oxygen to your brain, and performing basic functions such as breathing, I think you can forgive it for getting bloated after that bagel. There are functions our bodies carry out every second that far surpass the importance of aesthetics.

I forget this every single day. Instead of being thankful that I can walk, I complain that my legs are too big. I’m actually amazed at how ungrateful I am. There are people who don’t have working legs-or any legs at all- and here I am, upset about being able to pinch fat on my thigh.

This type of thinking is difficult to combat, because it’s encouraged by our society. We are continuously sold the idea that happiness awaits on the other side of an eyebrow wax, weight loss, or a botox treatment. We are manipulated into hating ourselves, because if we were all satisfied with our bodies, we would put a lot of companies out of business.

I consistently struggle with body image, and I know most other women do too. I think we are deeply afraid of being rejected on account of our imperfections. The fact is, we all have flaws, but those flaws don’t make us any less lovable. When someone loves you for your heart, they will find beauty in the things you hate about your appearance. This is something that my boyfriend, Devon, really taught me- he helped me see myself with more grace by showing me a love that is unfazed by physical flaws.

Now, my strategy is to acknowledge my flaws, but realize that there are much more important things to focus on. Like the fact that I can walk, dance, hear, kiss, feel emotions, and taste. I can have amazing experiences because of my body- I can even make another person with my body! I can live in my body. Our bodies were made to carry out functions, and we should appreciate them more for that. It’s a daily struggle to fight against negative thinking. But I try to remind myself that the purpose of a body is not to look beautiful. The purpose of a body is to be a vessel through which we experience life.

This is a topic I’m very passionate about, and have been for years. During my senior year of high school, I wrote a song about my struggle with body image, and then filmed & edited a music video about it. It was the first thing I ever filmed, and the project meant a lot to me! You can watch it below:

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Looking Cool, Feeling Lonely

After my first year of college, I was dying to do something by myself. Freshman year was filled with group outings, constantly noisy dorms, and very little personal space. I arrogantly prided myself in being an introvert, and thought I was so cool for being brave enough to travel through Europe by myself. This two-week solo trip was my chance to establish my independence over the summer, and prove that I was an adult. But it turns out that I was entirely more dependent on others than I had thought.

I loved my trip, and grew in a lot of different ways in the process.  But that’s for a different blog post.  Because after about a week of sight-seeing on my own, I started to feel extremely lonely. Visiting museums by yourself is only fun for so long. Not to mention the fact that I was constantly terrified of being kidnapped?! Literally every person I talked to before going on this trip asked me if I’d seen the movie Taken, and my mom was legitimately considering putting a micro-chip in my shoe before I left.

But anyways, the bravery and bold confidence I’d earned myself a reputation for by embarking on this adventure now seemed so meaningless. I remember ordering eggs at this café because it was the most familiar food on the menu, and it reminded me of home. When I took this picture, I just wished somebody was sitting next to me.

 

Here are some pictures of me doing things by myself:

Night biking completely alone in the German suburbs! Probably not the smartest thing for me to do! Can you tell I’m actually terrified in this photo? Also, can you guess who took this photo? A fence. Self-timer, & a fence. Lots of fun.

Mango gelato in Paris at the Tuileries Garden. You know how sometimes, you need to take at LEAST fifty pictures until you get a good one? Well this was one of those days. I obnoxiously asked a minimum of SIX separate strangers to take my photo, because the first five people’s pictures didn’t cut it…haha. So this is me, feeling like a fool, bothering yet another stranger!  But it got 220 likes on Instagram, and that’s all that matters, right? Nobody who liked my picture on Instagram knew how lonely I felt taking it.

Came away from thrift-shopping in Berlin with some really cool vintage German bank notes, & no new friends.

My time in Europe taught me a lot, and I’m very thankful for the experience. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, I just want to be more vulnerable with something I learned. Our culture emphasizes independence. We’re encouraged to do what makes us happy, go against the grain, and follow our hearts. To a degree, this advice has value! But in my eagerness to prove my bravery, I forgot the worth of human connection. I lost my understanding of sharing joy with others, and how it brings deep connection.

I thought boarding a plane and leaving everyone I loved behind, even just for a short time, would make me seem important. I thought that my courage would empower me. I thought that sharing pictures of French pastries and Italian sunsets on my Instagram meant I was doing something right.

But the best part of my solo trip was realizing that going to beautiful places means much more when you have the people you love to share it with.

 

 

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