For as long as I can remember, one of my favorite parts of the week would be evenings spent sitting in my living room, eating ice cream, and watching The Bachelor or The Bachelorette with my mom after a long day. Now that I am in college, this routine has transitioned to nights on the couch with my roommates watching the shows’ episodes the day after they aired via a streaming service because we do not have cable.
With The Bachelor and The Bachelorette airing their 26th and 19th seasons respectively, many people nationwide are captivated by the drama, romance, and entertaining unpredictability that finding love on a reality television show can bring. However, not surprisingly, many people strongly dislike The Bachelor franchise and view it as scripted, forced, unnatural, and fake.
While I can see both sides of this discussion, I would like to offer a new perspective on the show and an interesting way to make it applicable to your life. Rather than focusing on the negativity that surrounds The Bachelor franchise, I decided to compile a list of my top three life lessons that I have continuously applied as a 21-year-old single female during my time watching this famous, long-running show.
Lesson #1: It Is Always Good to Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone (Even If It May Be Scary)
Something that has always stuck with me about The Bachelor franchise is that every contestant that comes onto the show must abandon their job, home, friends, and family and not communicate with the outside world during what could be up to several months of filming. Many contestants find this requirement to be extremely difficult to endure and consider it to be one of the biggest challenges of being part of the show. These contestants are taking a huge risk by stepping out of their comfort zone and temporarily leaving their former life behind for a chance at love, which is scary, hard, and stressful. They also take this risk with no guarantee of a positive outcome and a good chance of a negative result since there is only one “winner” at the end of the show. I have watched many contestants experience significant growth, independence, and self-reflection both during and after the show, which can be lightly compared to the maturity that comes from going to your first sleepaway camp without your parents as a pre-teen! I believe that no matter how scary or unnerving a situation may seem, it can offer a tremendous opportunity for you to grow as a person and expand your horizons and perspectives when you step out of your comfort zone. We have all heard this advice at some point from our parents, teachers, and mentors, but it is certainly something to keep in mind as you progress through life to truly find out who you are and how much you can handle when you are put to the test on many levels.
Lesson #2: The Only Competition You Have In Life Is Yourself (With The Right Mindset)
Given the competitive nature of the show, contestants are technically “playing against” 30 other men or women to win the heart of the lead. However, I have found that the most successful and well-liked candidates on the show are the ones who simply focus on themselves rather than getting wrapped up in silly arguments and drama with the other contestants. In the world we live in today, people are always competing for the highest grade, the best job, the coolest outfit, the most money, or the biggest house, and it is so easy to fall into toxic comparative mindsets that stem from society’s unspoken competition to be the best. Although it can be hard to put into practice, the only person you should be competing with is yourself – whether it is to get the best grade to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, to find the best job that makes you the happiest, to wear the best outfit you feel the most confident in, or to earn great salary money to support the lifestyle you desire. I encourage you to work on creating a mindset that shifts to focusing on you competing with yourself and pushing yourself to achieve your own dreams and goals rather than those of the people around you.
Lesson #3: Everything Happens Exactly How It’s Supposed To (So Be Patient With Your Story)
The last lesson that The Bachelor franchise has taught me is that everything works out exactly how it is supposed to. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have seen contestants go from crying in the back of the limo and feeling like their life was over after being sent home by someone they thought was the love of their life to doing a complete 180 and getting engaged, building an awesome career, getting married, starting a family, and traveling the world with someone who is better than they could have ever imagined. This aspect of the show has taught me to always be patient with your own story, trust that everything happens for a reason, and have faith that the best is yet to come.
After reading this post, I hope the next time you turn on your TV to watch an episode of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette that you will look past the tears, drama, and crazy antics and open your mind to see these life lessons in action. I guarantee that you will not regret it, and you may even make a positive impact on your life.