HOW TO ENJOY BEING SINGLE
Today I’ve officially traveled full circle. A year ago I recollect sitting on a deflated air mattress on day two of my post-break up life googling “How to Enjoy Being Single”. The articles I found mainly discussed strengthening ties with friends and exploring new hobbies/activities. I continued to search the dark corners of the internet for a piece of advice in attempt to patch up the deep void of emptiness that now resided inside of me. But I never uncovered what I was truly looking for.
After reflecting back on the experience now, I realized the information I sought seldom cropped up in self help articles. Additionally, a year ago I considered quick-fix solutions exclusively as the answer to how to enjoy being single. However, nothing worthwhile is a quick fix solution. In this post, I bestow my learnings onto you with the goal of making you a happier, more fulfilled, mentally-resilient individual prepared to overcome the challenges of single life.
ERASE THE IDEA FROM YOUR MIND THAT SINGLE MEANS ALONE OR LONELY
When I tell people that I write a blog about the importance of spending time alone, they immediately assume that I write about single life. That conclusion originates from the widely held belief that if you choose to be single you must also be alone and lonely. Generally viewed as synonymous in most peoples’ minds, yet each word means something completely different.
Lonely is the lack of human connection in the present moment. Ironically, we generally experience the most loneliness in a relationship or surrounded by strangers. Loneliness at the core refers to the absence of emotional connection not the absence of company.
Without company embodies the entire true meaning of the word alone. However, the emotional weight assigned to the word is socially constructed. We project our own feelings when we observe the woman devouring a double cheeseburger in the corner booth. We jump to the conclusion she lacks social connections and never stopped to consider she chose to eat alone. We originated as a tribe-based society therefore we conclude, based on a primal reaction, spending time alone is a default, not a choice.
Similar to alone, by definition single refers to a status without emotional attachment. Although you may experience feeling alone or lonely while single, we as a society assign those emotions. Ironically the loneliest moments of my life transpired while in relationship. In my single life I pursue a plethora of friendships and relationships that nourish me with emotional connections that my previous relationship failed to provide.
STOP VICTIMIZING YOURSELF
Playing the role of a victim is a common method for dealing with the pain of a fresh break-up and relinquishing yourself from acting to improve your circumstances. The end of relationship marks a painful and pivotal moment in our lives. Nevertheless, dwelling on past mistakes and tearing yourself down for how you previously acted is not only counterproductive, it prevents you from starting your new life. Conversely if you accept the situation and devise solutions to improve it, opportunities to craft the life you desire will present themselves. Processing the emotional effects of a break up occurs over time so ensure that you allow yourself to work through it at your own pace.
People in your life may not possess the same mindset as you and might interrogate you with questions surrounding your dating life. While I encourage you to date and meet new people, I caution you to carefully choose your next partner. We frequently equate single people with milk; once past the “expiration date” no one wants a glass of “spoiled milk”.
What if we viewed single life as a choice, not a default?
What if we viewed the single life as a sign bravery?
Hopping from one relationship to next provides a barrier from contemplating your own contribution to why the previous relationship failed. You avoid analyzing or taking responsibility for your imperfections. Single life forces you to acknowledge your own reality. While not an easy task, if you persevere through the obstacles within your own mind, you will discover a happier life.
DON’T LET BEING SINGLE DEFINE YOU
As I mentioned previously, as a society we value relationships over the single life. Therefore we don’t prioritize spending time alone and generally discourage it. Think of your nagging Aunt Carol interrogating you about why you’re still single. Or the douchey guy at the bar who failed to comprehend how a pretty girl also leads a single life. People assign labels to aid in comprehending your end game. Don’t accept the connotations associated with that label.
TAKE THE TIME TO LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF
Even healthy relationships require hard work. Therefore, we often prioritize our partner, a career, and a social life over self-development. Whether you broke up with your first long term relationship or ended a long term marriage, entering into your newly single life opens up the perfect opportunity for you to evaluate yourself, your goals, and to craft your ideal life. At no other point in your life will you be able to focus all your attention on revamping yourself. Building the best version of yourself will not only improve the quality of your life, it will attract the kind of person you desire to build a healthy relationship with.
TRY NEW THINGS
After investing years in a relationship, your preferences naturally meld with your partners. Without consciously realizing it, you lose your tastes as individual for the betterment of the relationship. Use this as time to treat yourself to whatever interests you. Flying trapeze? Do it (Loads of fun). A pottery class? Get at it. A fancy tasting menu? You betcha. Take the time to rediscover yourself.
MAKE NEW FRIENDS/RECONNECT WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS
We often forget during a break up we built a network of people in our lives. Many times we neglect to sustain our connections during a relationship. In your newly single life, reconnect and grow relationships with your friends and family to fill your life with thriving network of people. Think girls weekends away, baking Christmas cookies with mom, you name it. Low on friends or family? Use this time to forge new connections. You may meet a new friend in the improv class you signed up for or volunteering at the library. Also try out Meet Ups, classes, or volunteering to meet new people.
ENJOY THE FREEDOM
Without realizing it, during a relationship you often spend more time then you account for with your spouse. Even if you lead healthy independent lives of one another, you still invest a substantial amount of time together. When you are single, you can utilize your time in whatever way suits you. Itching to jump on a plane to Iceland, book it (I highly recommend it). Forget negotiating whose family to visit for the holidays or arguing over Netflix shows, you decide. And that’s a pretty great feeling.