Stop worrying about what other people think. The ever present, ever ominous, “other people” are irrelevant. Your friends are relevant. Your family is relevant. You are very, very relevant. “Other people” are not relevant. You are never going to date “other people;” you are going to date a person. Someday, you will go out with someone who loves you, and you will love them; you won’t love everyone, and everyone will never love you.
Don’t be jealous of other people who are in relationships. Be happy for them. Be happy for them even when you’d rather punch a pillow, or take a shot of whiskey, or keep running until you can’t come back. Be happy even when couples are obnoxious and lovey-dovey; as a matter of fact, be happier. Let go of envy, just let it go; let it empty out. Fill it up with lunchtime dates with friends, and nighttime drinks with co-workers.
Think of the ex who hurt you, like the one who really hurt you. Remember every painful moment you still hold onto, recall every tear shed; then forgive them. Forgive them for letting you down, forgive them for every time they hurt you; then forgive yourself.
Become comfortable with alone. Alone means you are just by yourself, and you are a pretty kickass person. Exercise alone, go to movies alone, plant flowers alone, eat alone, see a movie alone. Realize alone isn’t that bad — because you aren’t that bad.
Remember you are actually awesome.
Travel whenever you want. Get in a car and drive, whether it’s to a local park or across the continent. Don’t worry about coming home in time for dinner; that will come later. Embrace the beauty of the unique freedom you get in being single. Realize your chains of loneliness are really the keys to your liberation.
Eat what you want. Drink what you want. Don’t worry about anybody judging you for the tub of ice cream or (whole) bottle of wine.
Laugh. Laugh all the time, whenever you can. Laugh when someone tells a funny joke. Laugh when you spill coffee all over yourself. Laugh when you make painful eye contact with your ex on public transit. Find that one friend who can always make you laugh. The one who has you hunched over your work desk, or the back of a seat on the bus, just absolutely cracking up. Hang out with them all the time.
Find a way to help someone else. Don’t compare your situations, don’t categorize them as a hotter mess than you, don’t even think about yourself at all. Just help. Remember that the world is filled with lots of people struggling to find their way. Remember you’re not the only one lost. Remember the world is a good place.
Let your heart soften. Abandon all the “rules” you have about dating people. Stop judging people based on their stats. Ignore their height, weight, and the number of Twitter followers they have. Start trying to a date a person, not a caricature.
And slowly, maybe too slowly, you will become happy being single. Happy going stag. Happy being alone. And when you are finally the happiest, you will find that person; and you’ll be with them not because you need them, but because you want them, and that’s how you’ll be happy no matter what.