We’ve all heard the saying, “Being in a relationship does not guarantee happiness the same as being single does not guarantee unhappiness.” This is where your half-full, half-empty mindset comes to the surface.
As a single person, it can be hard to stay optimistic, especially if all of your friends are in relationships, and you’re in that weird 20 to 30-something age range where you feel societal pressure, your friends are all in love, maybe even some of your exes, and you miss that warm feeling of companionship.
You may even dwell on past relationships because they are the closest thing you can feel to intimacy, especially if your dating life isn’t super grabbing at the moment. When you’re single, it is easy to get lost in fantasizing about who and when will be your happily ever after. But that’s the flaw, our happily ever after is already ourselves, either single or not. The focus? Your life purpose.
It’s easier to feel like there is a chance for happiness, even if you’re in a tumultuous relationship, because you think you have a name and face on it. That’s just it: you think. But we all know, it is never a guarantee. Even if things look promising. Even if you’re married with kids. The truth is, no matter how happy you are with someone, the sole responsibility of your happiness will always be reliant upon you.
And here is the beautiful thing: when you’re single, you feel that truth entirely. So, it’s sink or swim. You can either make the most out of being single, or you can just make your life centered around finding the one you will marry. I don’t recommend the latter, and here’s why.
When you’re single, you have the gift of time. That’s right, it’s a gift. This time that you are “alone” or as I like to say, “free.” It’s all about perception, and once you start to see this as a gift, you will treat it like one. You can travel more, read more books, and be able to focus on your job and career, and just more of everything really. I personally find that when your career is your passion, dating your career is a pretty rewarding relationship, one that appreciates your effort. You’re the only flower in your garden to water at this time, so you can really focus on your personal growth.
When you’re single, you are more vulnerable to making new friends. Friends add to happiness in so many ways because the truth is, we need people. Humans are social creatures no matter how introverted you consider yourself, and I have always actually thought of my friends as a more important piece to my life than a significant other. The universe has a way of connecting vulnerable people who need each other. We make friends based on common ground and common needs. Join a softball league, book club, yoga studio, whatever tickles your fancy, and start opening up to people. Remember that you have to be a friend to have a friend, so don’t ever be afraid to make the first move. You have nothing to lose, and everything to share.
When you’re single, you have the freedom to move. It really goes back to your career. Think of all the cross country job opportunities you’ve thought about applying for or accepting, but never did, because “that would be crazy to just up and move.” If you’re single, you should be applying everywhere all over, seeing where your career will take you. Elevate yourself and expand your network. You are not tied down, now is the time.
When you’re single, you can have more short-term relationships. I actually do not view these as a waste of time. I think getting out there and dating as many people as you can is a really empowering thing, and perhaps even a necessary thing. It’s not that I am just learning what I want and don’t want from someone, it’s about sharpening my ability to connect with people. It also gives me the opportunity to feel like I have a choice, and often, it’s hard to muster that when we are in love. But I am strengthening that muscle, which will help me in what I end up settling for.
When you’re single, you’re probably doing the same thing right now that somewhere some couple is doing. Watching TV, on the internet, cooking something. You’re just doing it alone. In peace. In solitude. You don’t have anyone to answer to. Sure, it’s fun to do all of this with someone, I get it. But it doesn’t always mean peace. When you’re alone, you have a higher chance of achieving peace. Now, go meditate.
Remember that the most challenging, personal, and fulfilling relationship you have will always be yourself. How much you love yourself will be reflected in your next relationship. In the words of Anais Nin, “We see things as we are,” so it’s important that you use this time to love yourself. Amazing things happen when you do, and suddenly you stop settling. It’s important that you are your best self, single, or in a relationship. It will never be anyone else’s job to make you happy, and you don’t want it to be.