7 Reasons Why You Should Be Reading Books

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The last paper I wrote in college was a 20-something page piece on the reading brain and why it matters. I did 12 weeks of research only to barely cover the surface of a subject that I grew to love more as the term progressed.  I’ve always been a bookworm and writing a paper on why it’s so important to read was extremely fun ( I know, really nerdy).

This blog is hardly the place for such a long paper but I do want to share some things I found out while researching this project. So, lister that I am, I came up with 7 Reasons Why You Should Be Reading Books.

7 Reasons Why You Should Be Reading Books

1. Reading strengthens your brain.

According to Rita Carter, science writer and presenter of BBC’s documentary, Why Reading Matters, the brain doesn’t have a central reading system. Reading happens in, what she calls, a “cerebral internet”.  In other words, it takes several regions in different areas of the brain to make reading possible. Maryanne Wolf, author of Proust and the Squidsays that, unlike all other human behaviors such as vision or speech, reading has no direct genetic program that is passed from parent to child. We’re not born with neurological ‘reading tools’. Our brains form connections between regions designed to perform other functions in order to process and understand written language. Rita Carter interviewed Dr. Cathy Price of University College in London who gave a simplified explanation of how this works:
“There are no areas of the brain that only respond to reading. All the areas that are involved in reading are also involved in recognizing objects, in speaking. In order to read, it’s the connections between the visual inputs and the component sounds that need to be linked together. So this doesn’t involve any new brain regions. What it involves is stronger and more efficient links.”
Our brains possess what is called neuroplasticity, which means it is capable of learning new things and forming new habits by making and strengthening new connections. Reading is one of the best examples of this. The more you read and deepen those connections, the more you’re exercising and strengthening your brain.

2. Reading boosts your empathy.

BBC’s Rita Carter also brought up the fact that stories can help us become more empathetic. According to an article in Psychology Today, we were meant to tell stories, they provide order, and they connect us with others. Stories give us space to exercise our emotional responses to other people’s situations. John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns talks about this in an episode of Crash Course

“By understanding language, you will, 1). have a fuller understanding of lives other than your own, 2). will help you be more empathetic…Reading critically and attentively can give you the linguistic tools to share your own story with more precision. Reading critically gives us better tools to explain corporate profits and broken hearts and it also connects us to each other.”

3. Reading increases your vocabulary.

I especially like this one cause I love trying out new words that I find in books.  It is true that we pick up words from television and conversation but the truth is, we don’t speak the way we write. Written word is much richer lexically than spoken word. In other words, we use better and more varied words when we write than when we speak. The same goes for syntax–we structure sentences better when we write.  A great study done by Anne E. Cunningham and Keith Stanovich explains that children who read will have a richer vocabulary and better grasp of syntactical structure than their peers who watch television.  Reading enhances their ability to process language, both written and spoken. And because our brains are plastic, it doesn’t matter what your performance was like in school, the same can be true for adults as well. 

4. Reading makes you a better communicator.

This is points 2 & 3 at their best. A rich vocabulary isn’t the only pre-requisite of good communication. Effective communication is a two way street where both parties must take turns at being sender and receiver. Understanding and sympathizing with another person’s situation (empathy) and the ability to effectively express yourself verbally makes for a great communicator. Why? Because it’s not only about having something to say but also ensuring that what you’re saying is of value and how you’re saying it is thoughtful and appropriate. Because there is order, logic, brain connectivity, and emotion at play when we read, we are strengthening those areas that make us effective communicators.     

5. Reading actual books is a unique experience.

This isn’t something I was able to add to my final paper but I still find it important so I’ll include it here.

I have a Kindle and I think it’s a great way to consume material on the go but there is something about reading an actual book that is unique and beneficial in ways that cannot be recreated by any other medium.  An article in Medical Daily says that the tactile experience of holding a book, turning the pages, and moving from left to right aids in the ability to comprehend and remember the text. E-books, with often fragmented text and links to the net also disrupt focus and concentration. Your brain is going through a very complicated process in order to read and actual books facilitate this process better than e-readers.   

6. Reading is the best way to relax.

I didn’t include this in my paper either but I think it’s also important. One article I came across in my research explained that a study showed that reading is a more effective stress reliever than taking a walk, listening to music, or drinking a hot cup of tea. Subjects of the research experienced lowered heart rate and decreased muscle tension.  Reading helps us relax, and takes our minds off the day’s commotion which makes it the perfect thing to do before going to sleep. 

7. Reading is super attractive.  

Lastly, this also didn’t make it my paper but as much as this is my nerdy opinion, I’m not the only one who thinks this. You’ve heard it said intelligence is sexy? It’s so true. Why? Because readers are more emotionally and cognitively intelligent.  A well-read person bolsters their knowledge base and that makes them better conversationalists. When you read broadly and smartly, you have more to offer in your relationships, your families, your careers, and your communities making you more interesting, useful, and, well yeah, sexy.

If you don’t consider yourself much of a reader, then I challenge you to change that. Reading is a privilege and something we shouldn’t take for granted. History tells us that the number one way people kept control of others was by keeping back the written word (think Dark Ages and American slavery). We know knowledge is power; take advantage of it.

In my opinion, I think a good percentage of the mischief people get into would vanish if they would just read good books. And while I’m all for good literature, I’m also an advocate for great non-fiction. If you currently read mostly novels, re-consider your book list and add a healthy dose of spiritual growth, history, social science, biographies, art, business and other subjects that will give you insight and help shape a healthy, well-informed worldview. It’s a part of good maturity which this generation could use more of.

There’s a lot to learn and even more books to learn from. Pick up a book and see what wonderful things you’ll discover within the pages!

Happy reading!
 
 

25 Things You Should Know Before You Turn 25

I turned 25 last week.  Still not sure if I feel different yet, lol.  I’m so blessed to have reached the beginning of a brand new year of life and I’m thankful but I can’t begin to tell you how different my life is from the way I envisioned it when I was 15.  Twenty-five was so old 10 years ago.  Now I’m here and I realize I was wrong…and right.  A quarter of a century is still young but it’s old enough to know a thing or two about life.  Here is a list of 25 things I’m glad I’ve learned so far or am still..ahem..trying to learn now.

25 Things

1. Life isn’t going to go the way you planned.

This is number one on my list for a reason.  Realize that you may not end up where you thought you’d be by the time you hit 25.  If you end up somewhere better, great!  If not, it’s totally okay.  Learn from any mistakes, do the best with what you’ve got and keep moving forward!!

2. Get your financial act together.

Know how to budget, do simple taxes, and be serious about your savings account.  You don’t want to set yourself up to live paycheck to paycheck.  Always have some kind of financial safety net.  It doesn’t have to be big; even something small is better than nothing.  We live in a crazy, uncertain world.  Anything can happen and we don’t have control over much but take control of what you can and minimize the risk of unpleasant surprises.

3. You don’t need to ‘hang out’ all the time.

Even the most social of social butterflies need alone time to chill, re-focus, and hear herself think.  Enjoy your friends but schedule time for a little solidarity.  People who are constantly around people and can’t stand to be by themselves are the ones who need some quiet time the most.  Light some candles, take a hot bath, read a book, do a crossword puzzle…be creative.  Your brain will thank you. Believe me.

4. Know your way around a kitchen.

You don’t have to be a culinary artist but know the basics of cooking and baking.  If you’re just starting out, pick a few recipes to master.  These are the dishes you can bring to a friend’s house or whip up when you’ve got last minute guests.  Get some cookbooks or actually read the food articles on your Pinterest boards.  If your single and don’t wish to remain so, then cooking is definitely something you’re going to need to learn if you want to raise a healthy, happy family. Plus, eating in on a regular basis is always cheaper and healthier than constantly eating out.

5. Get your wardrobe together.

Every adult should have a wardrobe that represents either the lifestyle that she leads or the one she wants to lead.  Know what wardrobe basics are.  Know the difference between fashion and trend.  The older you get, the more you want to steer clear of dressing too trendy.  Build your wardrobe with pieces that are stylish, long-lasting, and still reflect your unique personality.  Your tastes will probably change as the years pass but do take some time to really figure out what you want to say with your clothing.  How you present yourself to the world is important.  As much as we shouldn’t judge people from their appearance, first impressions make a difference.  Use that to your advantage and dress yourself with purpose and class.

6. Know when to shut up.

Plato is quoted to have said, “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”  Mature adults know when to speak and when words are unnecessary.  Don’t speak every thought that pops into your head.  Don’t gossip or spread rumors.  Think before you open your mouth and really practice listening to other people.  You’ll develop better relationships, succeed professionally and get yourself in less trouble.

7. Be a student.

You may think that when you finish your formal education you get to call it quits on the pencils and books.  Not so my friend.  Graduation doesn’t mean the learning stops.  The most important thing you should learn from formal education really doesn’t have anything to do with your degree or certification.  Formal education should teach you how to be a student for life.  Think about all the things you’ve always wanted to learn and figure out how to learn them.  It may mean a free course online or a class at your local recreation center.  Whatever it is, make time to immerse yourself in what you’re passionate about.

8. Have friends that are older than you.

I was one of the first children born in my parents’ circle of friends so I spent my early years around mostly adults.  I’ve since learned that having older adult friends is one of the smartest things a young person can do.  They’ve lived more of life than you and can speak wisdom into your life.  Having friends outside your age demographic challenges your brain and gives you broader perspective in life.  Develop some relationships with adults who are older than you–it’ll be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

9. Listen to your parents.

Yes, you’re an adult.  Yes, you need the freedom to make your own decisions.  But listen up.  Your parents have done this adult thing for a bit longer than you have–pay attention to what they have to say.  That doesn’t mean they’re always right or that you have to agree with everything they say.  But give them a chance, they’ve got experience and that counts for a lot.

10. Keep house.

Whether you’re in a dorm room, an apartment, or living with your folks, learn basic home ec skills.  Remember, if you’re single and you don’t want to remain so, you’re going to need to know how to run a household.  Period.  Can you iron, do dishes, dust, vacuum and clean a bathroom?  Great.  How about change a lightbulb, put a piece of furniture together, hook up the entertainment system, talk to the cable guy or get the dry cleaning done?  There is more to adulthood than keeping a job.  The household you decide to set up will need your attention in every aspect from the houseplants to the rent check.  Learn all you can about running a household during whatever season you’re in now so you’ll be as ready as possible when the time comes.

11. Unplug every once in a while.

It wasn’t so long ago that cell phones did little more than make and receive calls.  You used to have to pay-per-text.  Remember T9?  And apps  What’s an app?  There was life before smart phones.  There is an up and coming generation that won’t ever believe that but it is true.  Put your phone down, step away from your computer, and turn off the TV.  Log out, sign out, exit, shut down, and unplug.  You won’t die.  It’ll be there when you get back.  I get it, there’s stuff going on and you need to be apart of it.  But I promise, email can be checked later, the latest Vine craze can wait, and FB statuses don’t always need updating.  Go and check out life beyond the screen.  Some of you remember what that’s like, yeah?  It still has it’s charm too.

 12. Leave the drama in high school.

If I had a nickel for every time my parents called me a drama queen…well, I’d have a lot of nickels.  Some people are born dramatic, some learn the art, and some have drama thrust upon them, to borrow from Shakespeare.  I think I’m a little of all three, if that’s even possible. It’s not an endearing quality and I’m sloooowly learning to keep it in check. There are times when drama can’t be avoided, it just happens.  When it does, keep your reaction and involvement at a minimum.  Don’t be remembered as the one who made the biggest fuss.  Remember all the junk that went on in high school?  Yeah, don’t repeat all that nonsense.  Leave high school drama at high school, grow up and act like an adult.

13. Kids are awesome.

I love kiddos and we’ve got lots of them in my extended and church families.  If you’re single and or childless, you’ve got the opportunity to be the ‘cool’ auntie or uncle.  You may be paying school loans or rent but you’re not paying for diapers, school tuition, or pediatrician bills.  Spoil the kiddos in your life a little.  Even in this tech-crazed world, a box of crayons and paper will still occupy the modern child.  And when your budget won’t allow even the simplest gifts, your time and attention means a lot. Kids remember more than we give them credit for.  Make friends with them and their parents now and you may be the trusted adult they go to when they need someone to talk to later in life.

14. Go to sleep.

You learned how to pull all-nighters in school and a parent-enforced bedtime is a thing of the past.  Just because you know how to sleep late and function during the day doesn’t mean you should.  This is one that I really struggle with.  I love the solitude of the night and I’ve done some great work during late hours.  However, the truth of the matter is the best work is done when the mind is rested.  So go to sleep at a decent hour, rise early and hit the ground running.  Sleeping late is a bad habit that’s worth breaking and your 30-year old, 40-year old, 50-year old self will thank you profusely.

15. Take care of your body.

Just like it needs sleep, your body needs good nutrition, hydration, and exercise to function best.  Eat lots of fruits and veggies and drink lots of water.  Find an exercise you enjoy and do it at least a few times a week.  Limit your sugar and fat intake and don’t eat late at night.  You will age more gracefully when you take care of your body when you’re young.

16. Know what you believe.

You should be able to have an intelligent conversation about what you’re beliefs are.  Don’t subscribe to beliefs simply because your parents or friends believe them.  Own your what you believe.  Form opinions on purpose and be able to back them up.  It’s okay if you’re not sure what you believe about something but don’t stop there.  Ask questions, study the subject and come to a conclusion.  The world is noisy with sound of a million different philosophies, ideas, and opinions.  Start with God and His word and you’ll have the best framework with which to build your worldview.

17. Know your limitations.

Youth is a great time to try new things, have adventures and step outside of your comfort zone.  But know your limitations.  It’s okay to say ‘no’.  Don’t do things just cause your friends are.  Maybe now isn’t the best time for that.  Check in with your instincts.  If you don’t feel ready, capable, or comfortable, pay attention.  Be smart about your choices and don’t stretch yourself too far.

18. Sleeping around isn’t cool.

I know this is so not PC but sleeping around isn’t cool.  You’re only stealing from your future by shacking up with people you’re not committed to.  Treat yourself with more respect and dignity than that.  It may feel grown up and mature but you don’t have to sleep with someone to have a great relationship.  And if your partner doesn’t think so, then they’re not worth your time.  Believe me, there are so many other aspects of a great relationship than sex.  Work on those things and have fun without jumping into bed.  Your future spouse will thank you.

19. If you want to get married someday, act like it.

Having said that, think about whether or not you really want to get married.  If you do, then act like it.  Don’t give too much of yourself away to too many people.  Focus on being friends first before deciding to date exclusively.  And friends don’t get benefits if you know what I mean.  Move slowly so you can decide if the other person is worth moving forward with.  Anything worth having is worth waiting and working for.  Relationships need time to develop and mature, give them that time.  Ever after is a looooooong time and real love is too sweet to settle for cheap imitations.  No need to rush.  Your future husband or wife is a real, living, breathing person somewhere out there.  Are you living a life you’d be proud to share with him or her?  If not, it’s about time you did something about it.

20. Singleness is a gift.

There is nothing wrong with being single.  In fact, it’s a necessary season in life to figure yourself out.  When you don’t have the distraction of a significant other, you can get to know yourself, your passions, and your goals.  So what you have to play third or fifth wheel again.  I can almost guarantee you that even the happiest couples miss bits and pieces of their singleness every once in a while.  When we enter a new life season, there is often a trading something for something else.  Enjoy and make the most of your singleness before you have to trade it in for being apart of a team.

21. Life isn’t fair and it doesn’t owe you a thing.

I’m sorry if this is news to you but life don’t owe you a thing.  It’s your responsibility to make something of yourself and you’ll only get as much as you put into it–and sometimes, you won’t even get that much.  Entitlement isn’t a luxury you can afford.  You are going to get used, betrayed and stabbed in the back, I’m sorry.  Sometimes the mess and hurt will be your fault and other times your best efforts will only earn you disappointment and heartache.  But God is gracious and life will always be worth living no matter how hard things get.  Take responsibility for your actions, work hard, take the bad with the good and learn how to get back up when you get knocked down.

22. Give a care.

I’ve met people who truly do not give a care about other people’s situations.  They may care about the things that relate to themselves but that’s it.  These people don’t go very far.  Oh, they may succeed professionally but they miss out on so many other things that matter more.  Take genuine interest in the people around you.  Ask real questions not just the polite, small talk niceties.  Don’t be nosy or get into people’s business but show that you care about and value them.  Smile.  Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.  Give up your seat.  Offer to help when it’s needed.  Go out of your way.  Relationships are about what you can give not what you can get.  Care enough to give your best to others–your co workers, your family and friends, the elderly couple in the grocery store, the teller at the bank, they all deserve your care.  Give it freely and without condition.  You’ll be a much happier person when you do!

23. There is a difference embracing your inner-child and acting childish.

There are some things that shouldn’t change when we grow up like enjoying an afternoon at the park, a favorite childhood story, or a game of Candyland with your nieces and nephews.  There is a part of childhood that every adult should hold onto or else we run the risk of over-working ourselves and taking the wrong things too seriously.  Children value the simple things, they’re not complicated and will tell it like it is.  Take the best of childhood and pair it with the wisdom that should come with age.

That’s not the same as acting childish. Don’t run around doing stupid things, not thinking of how it’ll effect other people.  Don’t throw tantrums, toss around people’s feelings, or be careless with other people’s things.  That’s childish behavior and you should know better than that.  Be responsible, say what you mean, and don’t sulk when things don’t go your way.

 24. Stick to your commitments.

You said you’d have lunch with a friend.  Don’t ditch just cause something else came up and it sounded like more fun.  You said you’d participate in a group project.  Don’t flake cause you decide you don’t feel like doing it anymore.  It’s one thing to forget, get sidetracked or over-booked.  It’s an entirely different thing to choose to skip out on something because you don’t feel it’s worth your time.  Don’t be wishy-washy, flaky, or unreliable.  It’s childish and rude and you’ll only frustrate people.

25. Know how to give a good handshake.

One of my biggest pet peeves is a fishy handshake.  It’s weak, limp and you have to hold on to the other person’s hand or it will just slide past your fingers.  This is especially annoying with guys.  Know how to give a good, firm handshake, complete with a friendly look in the eye. No need for a death grip but don’t shy away either.  Good handshakes will vary depending on the setting and the person but don’t miss out on mastering this piece of social intercourse.  People will believe you when you say, “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.”


If you’re going to turn 25, then take the opportunity to learn as much as you can before you hit the quarter-life mark.  If you’re past 25, then take the opportunity to look at what you know and what you probably should know by now.  Life is a cumulative journey and there’s always more to learn and more ways to improve.  Embrace the best and live life to the fullest!

4 Things Girls Need to Understand (Why You Don’t Deserve the Guy You Want)

Last week I posted Why Women Love Gilbert Blythe and Why Guys Need to Pay AttentionIt was a lot of fun to write and I’ve enjoyed the response to it.

Before I posted it, I wanted a guy’s opinion – someone who could read it without any prior knowledge of Anne of Green Gables and make sure that I was being fair in my assessments. So I let the BF read it. He said that it was good! Yay! But then reminded me of something: it’s not just on the guys to be upright dudes – girls have to pull their weight too.

He’s right.

Ladies, we talk about, dream about, and wait for our knights in shining armor, our Prince Charming, our Darcy, Knightley, or Wentworth. We wonder where our Boaz is and why is God making us stay single for so long!?!?!

We want a guy like Gilbert Blythe. But have you ever stopped to consider if a guy like Gil would want you?

So I decided to write a list for the girls. I’m not a relationship expert but I think there are some things that we girls need to understand or remember, otherwise, we won’t deserve the guy we want. It’s not an extensive list because that would probably look more like a book. These are just a few things that got me thinking and maybe it’ll do the same for you too! 

Here we go!

4 Things Girls Need to Understand

1. You’re not always right.

I have a confession to make: my family calls me a know-it-all because I have a hard time listening. *sigh* I’m not proud of it and I wish I could deny it but…I like being right. There, I said it. This may seem rather elementary but it’s worth pointing out because knowing something in our heads isn’t always enough – translation into life is where it matters.

So listen up: YOU’RE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT. Sometimes we need to just shut up and listen every once and again. And again. And again. As women, we like to make a point and sometimes, we come in with that bullet point list of why we’re right. But just because you have something to say and it sounds right in your head doesn’t always mean it has to be said. Think before you speak. It’s a hard thing to learn but it’s a necessity for maturity. We’ve all been in the presence of people who’ve stuck their foot in their mouths and we’ve all probably done it ourselves one too many times. It’s not cool.

I get it, it’s hard – I’m a chatterbox who’s majoring in Communications! But believe me, you’ll get more done in your relationships when you listen with open ears, an open mind, and an open heart. The man of your dreams deserves someone he can communicate openly with, who will take him seriously, and will work together with him to solve problems as a team and love all the great things he has to offer.

2. He’s not here to fix all your problems.

You may have seen this woman before. She’s the woman that got into a relationship with a guy because, for whatever reason, she needed him to fix all her problems.

Maybe you’ve been that woman. Maybe you are now.

Ladies. No man is going to fix all your problems. That’s between you and God.

If you rely on a man to fix your emotional issues, you’re going to fall apart when he fails to empathize the way you want him to. If you rely on a man to fix your abuse issues, you’re going to fall apart when he has a season of weakness. If you rely on a man to fix your spiritual issues, you’re going to fall apart when he messes up. If you rely on a man to fix your trust issues, you’re going to fall apart when he betrays you. If you rely on a man to fix your self-esteem issues, you’re going to fall apart when he forgets to compliment your new haircut or the success of your project. If you rely on a man to fix your financial problems, you’re going to fall apart when he’s struggling to find work.

No man is perfect and he is going to fail you somehow, sometime just as you’re going to fail him. You have to be a whole enough person to be able to understand that and not put that kind of pressure on him. You’re sense of worth can’t be built on a man – that is not a solid foundation and never will be. Sure, relationships are about being supportive and working together and being emotionally available and all that wonderful stuff but there are things in your life that you can’t expect a guy to fix.

Pain is for real and there is a lot of it out there. If you have hurt or anger in your life that you haven’t dealt with, simply having a man isn’t going to fix that. That’s where prayer and counseling come in, that’s when you join a support group or take time away to recover and deal with what’s going on. A man isn’t a fix-it-all and he doesn’t deserve to be.

Your dream man deserves a woman who is doing everything she can to be a whole person and not waiting around for a guy to sweep up all the pieces and figure out how to put them together. Are we talking perfection with every hair in place, lipstick un-smudged and nails manicured? No. I’m talking about a woman who knows what her weaknesses are, knows the areas where she’s struggling, is honest about her needs and does the necessary work to grow, mature, and progress.

Life is messy, it’s hard and it’s painful but a man doesn’t deserve to clean up a mess in your life if you’re not willing to get a bucket and a mop yourself.

3. He needs your respect.

We want a man to be this that and the other for us. We want manly-man who will work hard, solve problems, take the high road, be romantic, wear a clean shirt, spoil us, and tell us we’re beautiful every now and again…

and then…

we come short on the respect.

Men need respect. That’s how they’re wired. And I’m not here to talk about gender roles and argue about whether or not men and women are essentially the same, and all that, this isn’t the post. All I’m saying is that men need respect.

Well, duh, Elyssa! Everyone needs respect.

Okay, yeah, so you agree with me. Men need respect and in the context of this post, we’ll keep it here.

Don’t throw him under the bus in front of people. Don’t constantly question his judgement calls. If you have a question, ask him about it later and don’t make him look a fool in public. This goes back to being right all the time. If something is truly concerning, then address it at an appropriate time and be open to conversation. But needlessly arguing in front of people because you have something to say isn’t respectful. Constantly correcting him isn’t respectful. Constantly questioning him isn’t respectful.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying keep your mouth shut at all times and never have an opinion. And I’m not saying agree with everything he says or does. But have enough respect for the guy in your life to think before you speak and listen to what he has to say. You don’t want to be known as the girlfriend or wife who’s constantly harping on her man, who’s giving all the directions and never let’s him get a word in edgewise. And you don’t want to be the girlfriend or wife that’s constantly rolling her eyes and making snide remarks about whatever ‘dumb’ thing he just said or did. You can’t expect to win a strong man and have a successful relationship while you emasculate him, it just doesn’t work like that.

The man of your dreams deserves the woman who is going to stand beside him, not in front of him or behind him. A woman who values his opinion. He’s not going to get it right all the time and he knows that but he deserves a woman who will be there even when everything comes crashing down and instead of saying, “I told you so!” she says, “It’s alright, baby, we’ll do better next time.”

4. He deserves your very best.

Every woman deserves a guy who will treat her like the wonderful she is, yeah? Well every guy deserves a woman who will treat him like the wonderful person he is. This is basic but it’s worth mentioning.

Ladies, he deserves your best. I’m not talking about always having your hair and make up done whenever you see him. I’m not talking about always having dinner on the table when he gets home. If you can manage that, great, but that’s not necessarily what I’m talking about. I’m talking about your approach.

We often put our best foot forward for people outside our homes and then kind of let things drag when we get behind closed doors. I’m still kind of in that stage with the BF. We’re just dating so a lot of that best-foot-foward stuff is still there. But it’s been several months now and he’s seen Elyssa get upset, he’s seen her cry, he’s seen her frustrated, fed up, and irritated, fall behind schedule, be late for appointments, and go around without hair done or makeup applied. And he’s still here.

We definitely need to be real with one another but I think that when it comes to the relationships that we hold dear, we should take better care to be our best for those people. We put on our best selves for strangers because of what we’ll get from them: acceptance, service, business, friendship, etc. We should offer our best selves for those we care about because they deserve it. It’s not about being fake. It’s about an honesty that says, “This is who I am, it’s not all beautiful, but I’m going to give you the best of what I have.”

A good guy will get that and accept that and love that. The man of your dreams deserves the best of what you have and as the years go by and you grow and mature as a person, that best will just keep getting better.


So what do you think? Are there things you wish girls understood? Maybe not about relationships but life in general. Sometimes we get so focused on what we need, want, and deserve that we forget that other people rightfully need, want and deserve things from us too.

Let me know in the comments, I’d love your thoughts!

-Elyssa