11/17/2014 06:05 pm ET Updated Jan 16, 2015

I Need a Boyfriend! A Teen Girl's Recipe for Validation

Love and respect should always go hand-in-hand. And I'm not just talking about the mushy kind of love. Even your relationship with your parents, and your best friends, should be centered on respect. We all know this, so why do we, as girls, allow boys to disrespect us? We continue to make excuses for them, and we say things like "He's just being a typical guy." Since when did a "typical guy" become someone who disrespects women?

I have a crazy idea, so just work with me on this one... What if the real problem is us? What is we are disrespecting ourselves and allowing this behavior to happen? The more experiences I have and the older I get, it seems as though us girls LOVE to blame the boys for everything that goes wrong in a relationship. However, we are seriously lacking one very important characteristic: Respect. Not necessarily respect for our boyfriends, but respect for ourselves. The pressures we face as teen girls are honestly unbelievable, and our parents may never realize the twisted ways society tries to shape us every day. But we totally get it, because we are living these pressures on a daily basis! One of the main pressures most high school girls face is to date. And not only are we expected to have a boyfriend, but we have to make him happy. I want you to pause and re-read that sentence. We have to make him happy. The next time your subconscious tells you this, stop yourself! Your only priority is to make yourself happy. Relationships at this age are supposed to be fun and exciting. If you feel stressed out every time you're alone with him, then there is a lack of respect being had for one another and yourself. Communication is honestly so important, which sounds totally cliché, but if I've learned anything over the years, that would be it. Even the tough conversations have to be had, or else your life is going to become drama-central. Therefore, if you are not ready to go any further physically with your boyfriend, then just tell him. If he has ANY problem with that, then he does not respect you. See what I mean about respect? Standing up for yourself against a guy, voicing your morals, values, and what you feel comfortable with, is one of the bravest and most respectful things a young woman can ever do for herself. Once you establish these boundaries within your life, then suddenly, dating becomes a fun bonus, instead of a debilitating stressor. Algebra is stressful enough, the last thing we need to worry about is if he is going to try something tonight.

If you're in a negative relationship, get out of it ASAP! The most important thing is for you to be safe, and the moment you begin feeling unsafe is when it's necessary to put everything to a screeching halt. It took me a long time to realize that I don't owe my boyfriend anything. If I'm in a relationship with someone, he should be there because he genuinely likes me. I mean... That's kind of the whole point, right? It amazes me how far off the beaten path we have gotten. Now, relationships are all about what is "expected" of us, instead of what we genuinely want. If your morals and values are screaming "NO!" in your head, then you should probably listen. Make your own voice a million times louder than society's expectations, and you will succeed.

Don't be his idea of flawless. Be your idea of flawless and let him love you for it. If he can't, then he isn't the guy for you. You merit someone who loves you. Altering yourself just to be someone else's girlfriend is the first big sign of a lack of self-love. Changing yourself for a guy is a huge sign that you don't respect yourself, because if you did, you would realize how amazing you truly are.

Respect yourself, respect others, and most importantly, find your own path to happiness. Maybe your path to happiness is being single through high school and hanging out with your girlfriends. Maybe it's finding a great guy who respects you, or maybe it's finally setting boundaries for yourself. Whatever your path may look like, never divert from it. Society is going to tell you that what you're doing isn't "cool" because nothing we do is ever going to be perfect, and that is okay. That's actually what life is all about! So do what you know, in your heart, to be right, and remember that you are in the drivers seat of this crazy journey called life . Just because all your friends are in relationships and you're single doesn't mean you're any less valuable than them. Actually... Do you want to know a secret? I think you are pretty brave for rocking to the beat of your own drum, because uniqueness, honesty of oneself, and bravery are becoming rare in our generation. So stand apart from the crowd, set your own personal boundaries, and live your life for YOU!