Don't be a feelings whore.

Too much is written about sex and too little about feelings. Sex is easy. And most of us know exactly what we're getting into when we do it with no strings attached. But what really leaves you feeling used is when you whore your feelings for someone who never deserved it in the first place. Using people emotionally without contributing much in return - that's the real tragedy of our times. Sorry, but that can never happen with 'mutual' consent, unless you happen to be a masochist.

Yes, you desperately want to find your soulmate and fall in love. But that doesn't mean you allow every man/woman who shows you the least bit of interest to take over your soul. Let the right one in. Have standards. Don't be easy. And certainly don't mistake choosiness for selfishness. When it comes to caring about someone, it's good to be selfish. Not everyone deserves a place in your thoughts. Not everyone deserves to be included in your prayers. Let people earn that place, the way you earn one in their lives.

Be polite. Be approachable, even. But don't let the floodgates of your heart open at the first sign of attention. Don't start dreaming the second you sense a connection with someone. Because people are rarely what they seem at first. People are always different when they're in 'chase' mode. That carefully built persona of charm and humour rapidly falls apart when they realise that you've given them your heart.

You will be tempted to play counsellor when someone comes to you with their issues, because let's face it. Solving another person's problems makes you feel so good about yourself. It makes you feel valued and it buoys your self-esteem like nothing else can. But if you start believing that they care for you in return, then you may be setting yourself up for an enormous disappointment. Because most people are unapologetically self-centred. They love you for what they get from you. They don't care two hoots about who you really are or what you want from life. That can only happen when you're attuned to each other as equals - not as patient and counsellor or victim and saviour.

Don't whore your feelings. Because it's no fun to have your emotions raped and blown to smithereens. It's no fun to be taken for granted and discarded once you've pulled someone up from the dumps. It's no fun to invest so much of your time, thoughts and affection, only to realise that there is zero gratitude on the other end. Guard your feelings, if you will. Don't hide behind your barriers but don't be an open book either. Don't be a magnet for negative people, because they'll never be able to give you anything in return.

(This post is not directed towards any particular person. It is merely an account of my feelings at one point in time.)