I've learned that I need to level up, romantically.
A prominent memory from my adolescence was debating with boys who had it worse in life. The variables would change weekly but the point remained: someone has to lose and I'd like to know who it is. There used to be a sense of pride that would swell up whenever I would reason my opponent into submission. But after living through some colorful romantic experiences, I started wondering how that mindset molded my outlook on relationships and love.
Pain is unavoidable. It'll show up early and be one of the most consistent feelings in your life. By the time you reach adulthood, you've been hurt often and in different ways. Do you remember the first time you fell off a bike? Probably. Or the first time you were teased? Maybe. Or even the first time you realized someone lied to you?