5 Love Tips For Anastasia Steele In 'Fifty Shades Of Grey'

Fifty Shades Of Grey
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Our naive heroine, madly in love with Christian Grey, has much to learn about life and herself.

Dear Anastasia,

Congratulations. You've just experienced firsthand the real difference between intense pleasure and pain, and I don't mean in a sexual sense, but in an emotional one. Welcome to the world of being in true love, where you can be on Cloud Nine one day, and in the throes of despair the next. Yes, it's true that your love for this powerful man has made you feel happier than you've ever been in your life. But it has also caused you to cry uncontrollably, lose your appetite for weeks — or devour an entire jar of cookies, drink irresponsibly, send inappropriate text messages, lay in bed for hours on end, and question everything you have come to learn about life and who you are as a person.

Now, I imagine your dealings with this dangerous, yet irresistible, man are far from over, but I just want to offer you some friendly words of wisdom before you proceed any further …

1. You cannot rescue Christian. "I had hoped to drag my Fifty Shades into the light, but it's proved a task beyond my meager abilities." Many women, myself included, have a tendency to believe that if someone loves you enough, they will somehow magically morph into what we need them to be. We make excuses for them and tolerate their behavior. Christian had a troubled childhood, so maybe that's why he is the way he is, you say. You could be right, but it's not your job to heal him. He needs to do that on his own. Many of us try to sa Alve these damaged, passionate men from themselves because we want to take away their suffering, we need their love, and we want to live happily ever after with them. We also want to feel as if there's something special about us if we can change them. We're usually so close ... if only x or y would happen. If only Christian would let you touch him, if only he would open up about his past, if only he would give you "more," if only he would admit he loves you … Remember, all you can do is love someone, as they are, in the moment. 

2. Don't ever compromise yourself for a man. You and Christian made a valiant effort to blend your needs and desires together because you wanted your relationship to work. This kind of compromise is healthy — until it becomes unhealthy. When he pushed you to the limit and you felt you could no longer tolerate the physical pain, you left — good for you! Had you ignored the voice inside of you that said "I don't like this" or pretended you enjoyed the pain, you would have ended up losing touch with the core of your being. When you know in your heart what is truly okay and what isn't, stick to your guns and you will have no regrets. Read more...

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3. Don't blame yourself for exploring who you are. "Embarrassment and shame wash over me. I am a complete failure." Ana, let me tell you something: You are not a failure, and there is nothing to feel ashamed about. Shame is born from the limits we force on ourselves, and the limits we allow others to force upon us. As a woman, it's natural to want to experience something new and exciting. You can only discover your own true limits (hard or soft) when you allow yourself to experiment, to discover what feels okay and not okay to you, and to push these boundaries. You found your limits and you stuck to them. Bravo! Your journey on the road to self-discovery and sexual awakening is nothing shameful.

4. Don't isolate yourself or keep your love affair a secret. Yes, you signed a non-disclosure agreement (which, if my legal skills don't fail me, probably wouldn't be enforceable in a court of law), but you cannot keep this pain to yourself. If you do, it will take on a life of its own in your mind, exacerbating and prolonging your suffering. Sometimes, we understandably want to keep what happens behind closed doors a secret. If you don't feel comfortable talking about your relationship with Kate or your mom, then don't. Just find someone you trust and tell them your story, whether it's an online support group or a therapist. If you still can't do that, then start a journal. You need to get this out!

5. You will love again. Promise. I'm sure this is the last thing you want to hear and you may hate me for saying it, but it's true. I know Christian Grey isn't just some crush you passed notes with in high school who broke your heart. This was your first true love, who gutted your soul and tortured your heart. Though you may never love exactly the same way again, love has many forms, and you will love again. How, when, who and why are questions that cannot be answered. Your destiny will unveil itself slowly over the course of your life's journey. As long as you stay true to yourself, all roads will lead you back to love.

Sincerely,

Someone who's been there.

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