Being a teenager is like an explosion of emotions. One of the fundamental feelings related to this stage is love. Here are 4 things you need to know.
Adolescence is one of the weirdest stages of life. That is mainly because, as teenagers, we experience lots of changes. When we are teenagers, we go through physical, behavioral, and social changes. But the most significant changes we experience as teenagers are emotional and psychological because it is a stage full of discoveries.
One of the most exciting parts about being a teenager is the interest in love. In most people, during childhood, romantic love is not an interest. But in adolescence, there is almost an awakening in love. Because as teenagers, we start experiencing the psychological processes that romantic love brings. And it also has a physiological base. So love is a relevant topic for teenagers.
But all those changes and awareness during adolescence have a scientific and biological explanation. According to Larsen and Luna, in their 2018 Adolescence as a neurobiological critical period for the development of higher-order cognition research, there is an increase in the neurobiological bases for cognition. That means teenagers have an intense improvement in psychological processes. As seen below:
Neurodevelopment is the process of growth and specialization that shapes the brain to fit its environment under the influence of experience, neurobiology, and genetic mechanisms. Stages of development mark specific periods of significant brain and behavioral change. Adolescence is widely recognized as the stage of development that occurs between childhood and adulthood and is characterized by the onset of puberty as well as unique neurobiological, social, and cognitive development.Larsen and Luna (2018)
Due to the psychological and physiological base of love, teenagers might seem from another planet. Mainly because at that stage of life, we have that heavy focus on experiencing love fast and profoundly. But the truth is all those situations that might make us feel that it is the end of the world as teenagers are not so terrible. Here are some things you need to know about love as a teenager.
Love is Free
For me, one of the things we underestimate as humans is love. This is sadly replicated by each one of us as teenagers. Humans tend to understand love as a feeling. And that might seem the right way at first. But the truth is that love is more than just a sense. Love is a complex combination of factors. That is why a great way to understand love is as a construct. A combination of many concepts and elements that happen because love is emotional as well as physiological and psychological. A fundamental concept that allows us to understand that love is free from everything.
But love in romantic relationships is a crucial aspect during adolescence. Not only as a need but also as part of human development. According to Bajoghli, Farnia, Haghighi, Jahangard, Ahmadpanah, Bahmani, Holsboer-Trachsler and Brand on their 2017 I love you forever (more or less) – stability and change in adolescents’ romantic love status and associations with mood states research set:
Experiencing romantic love is an essential factor in psychosocial development during adolescence and a significant opportunity to prepare for future romantic relationships as adults. As such, romantic relationships are important and necessary learning opportunities, aiding identity development, psychosocial competence for future romantic relationships as adults, and mate value.Bajoghli, Farnia, Haghighi, Jahangard, Ahmadpanah, Bahmani, Holsboer-Trachsler and Brand (2017)
So, understanding love as a combination of elements is the best way to know how free love is. Because the old misconception of love as a feeling had a series of restrictions. Love is free from any prejudice or barrier. Love being genderless and ageless has no social limitations or geographical limitations. The only thing that conditions love is that it is positive.
Love is Natural
Love births and grows itself. You don’t choose who you love. There is no way we can direct or guide who we choose. We might be able to select other elements related to love, but not love itself.
Love is a natural part of life. There is nothing to be ashamed of. As long as love is positive, it is something to embrace. You might never be able to choose who you fall in love with or how to love but if love is born and grows naturally, everything is okay. If neither you nor the other person is damaged or harmed, that love is positive and something to embrace.
Natural love doesn’t have to scare us. When we are teenagers, it is like an explosion of feelings coexisting with hormones. Being in love with someone might seem scary for some people because it is overwhelming and a roller coaster of moods and physiological phenomenon.
Love is Personal
Love is intrinsical. Love is personal. We usually know the way we love. But it seems hard to understand the way another person loves us. The truth is that each person has a unique way to love.
As teenagers, we tend to idealize more than in any other stage of life. That is why love seems too dark and complicated. We have an idea about how we want to be loved. But the truth is that each one of us has a “how to love”. And the way we love might not be what the other person expects.
So, take it easy, and try to understand the differences. Sometimes how someone expresses love doesn’t have anything to do with the actual love construction the person has. Sometimes we are so overwhelmed that we don’t know how to communicate. And how we learned about love and loving might determine how we love too.
Love and Sex Are Not The Same
When we are teenagers, we also experience a sexual awakening. This is an important topic because, as human beings, we tend to confuse those different things. Even when they get related at some point, love and sex are still distinct and separate. There is a relationship between the two but when we are teenagers, we might not understand that. We need to know that sexual relationships are not something you must fulfill to show love. Even when there is a sexual need, you must realize, sex is not to be taken lightly. Sex is a deep physical interaction that carries consequences.
Also, there is a difference between infatuation and romantic love. But they are different because infatuation is the stage of love characterized by passion but not by commitment or love. When we are teenagers, many of our relationships only get into this stage but no further.
Even when you have all those excited hormones and want to experience everything, slow down. There is plenty of time, and it can be better if you are prepared. Problematic situations around sex come from ignorance and hurry. So, it is crucial to understand that love and sex are two different things.
Now, my teenage friend, those were four of the things all us as adults would have liked to hear as teenagers – the necessary steps to understand the whole new world that is love. These are things to think about and try to apply in your life. Because thanks to that, you might be able to experience a more healthy kind of love.