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To be young and in love – Is there a better feeling than that? If you ask people in relationships, they are probably going to say no. However, those who have experienced life for a little longer might give you a different answer. It just comes with experience and to some extent, heartbreak. The youngsters who say that they are in love or have experienced heartbreak might not understand that completely. Mostly, 14 or 15 year olds are really not in love, they only think they are.

Now, there are two sides to this situation. If you ask a youngster about their relationship, they will probably tell you how much in love they are. On the other hand, when you talk to older people, they will tell you that teenage love is a waste of time. You will hear things like, “It’s just the chemicals in their mind acting up”, or “They are only having some fun”.

Is teenage love real? Can a teenager really know that they want to spend their life with a particular person? These are just some of the questions which have been floating around my mind lately. When it comes to my opinion, I think that one really cannot find true love during their teen years. Why do I say this? Well, firstly, it’s the age to find yourself, focus solely on what you want with your life and become more aware of the world around. Secondly, love cannot be a selfish emotion; it’s all about accepting someone’s flaws and seeing past them. This comes with a certain maturity. Other than that, love requires you to constantly work at it and be open to change. For someone who is still growing up, this can be quite challenging.

Of course, there are exceptions to this; several people do end up spending their lives with their childhood sweethearts. However, it’s quite rare. As far as a majority of youngsters are concerned, particularly in this day and age, who think they are in love, I would like to believe, have a very wrong understanding of it.

There are quite a few people out there who just want to be in love or think they are for the sake of it. I came across a number of 14 or 15 year olds talking about how they had found their soul mates and their eternal love. Now, there is nothing wrong with teenagers being in love or becoming infatuated with someone. The situation gets tricky when they mistakenly believe their feelings to be everlasting and end up hurting themselves in the end.

You come across a teenager making a public declaration of love and gushing about their partner on social media and then a few weeks later, it’s followed by another similar declaration with someone new. Now, there is nothing wrong with being out there or even dating if you are up for it but you have to realize that you are not in love. Stop calling every crush the ‘love of your life’. Honestly, it gets annoying!

This Valentine’s Day, all the social media platforms; be it Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, seemed to be overtaken by people in love. Just like every year, it was probably one of the most profitable days for the advertising industry that goes all  out in the days leading up to Valentine’s. I would say that the media has a big role to play in the portrayal of love and determining how we express it. Movies, dramas and advertisements have given a lot of people unrealistic expectations about relationships and being in love. This has led to the idea of love becoming more appealing than the experience of the feeling itself. You will be surprised by how many youngsters are actively looking for their one ‘true love’ and those who are in relationships make it a point to flaunt it as frequently as possible.

With social media being deeply integrated into our lives nowadays, more so than ever, I just couldn’t help but notice the high number of kids who needed a reality check as far as love was concerned. Every time, there was a teenage expressing their eternal love for their partner on Instagram or Facebook, I wanted to tell them that it wasn’t love. You may think I am being too judgmental, cynical or trying to dampen someone’s happiness. Well, perhaps, I am slightly guilty of the first two, but in no way am I trying to make somebody unhappy.

The objection being raised here is against the peer pressure, social media anxiety and all such factors which are responsible for shaping young minds in such a way. A 15 year old today thinks that he or she has to fall in love and then post about it too because that’s what they can see happening around them. They are led to believe that if you do not have anybody to celebrate Valentine’s Day with or are single for a long period of time (God forbid!) there is something wrong with you. We can argue that it’s not just the teens that are made to feel this way but generally everyone. It is this fear that lives within most of us; the fear of being lonely. This is why we have jumped into relationships, made mistakes and many times, been a 15 or 16 year old in ‘love’.

At that time, when somebody came up to you and told you that your feelings were not real and what you were experiencing was created by external factors, perhaps, you may have dismissed them too. Similarly, a youngster today is just as unwilling to accept that their perception of love is being formed by all the wrong things.

Your friend put up a gushing post about their relationship or the person they are with, and now you feel like you are missing out. It is completely natural to experience these feelings because you are still growing up. After all, the teenage years are known to be one of the most crucial time periods in a person’s life. You are learning, you are processing, and you are constantly evolving.

For the upcoming generation, things are slightly different when it comes to learning and experiencing. We are living in the age of the internet which means that there literally different worlds available at the tip of our fingers. With so much information out there, it can be a challenge to figure out what you need to let go and what is going to help you with personal growth and development. The things you are influenced by on the internet, particularly the social media, can play a vital role in shaping up your personality. If you let yourself become affected by the content you see on social media, it could really have a negative impact on you further in life. Sometimes, you can be pressured into taking decisions which you later on end up severely regretting.

Love and relationships are the most common areas where most young people today go completely wrong. They fall in ‘love’ because everyone around them is talking about being in love, be it on television or social media. You don’t want to be left out; you want to experience it too.  The problem doesn’t lie here. It begins when you start thinking that this is it; your one true love. Just think about what I am saying here and you will slowly and gradually come to self-realization. What you feel could be real love, but in all likeliness, is just your perception. You want it to be something huge in your life so you are almost forcing yourself to believe that it is, which brings me to my point: ‘Kid, you are not in love!’

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