1. Your relationship with yourself is the single greatest relationship you’ll ever have.
Who else have you fallen asleep with every night and will continue to the rest of your life? You’re the only person that you’ll spend every single moment with. Wouldn’t you want to build the best possible relationship with a person you’d have to spend all your time with?
Whether you’re crying with yourself on the floor at 3 a.m. or reveling in the beauty of a sunset when no one else is with you to witness it, you’ll treasure your own company. In moments of hardship, you’ll reach into yourself for love, kindness and comfort. As a young, single woman, you have the perfect opportunity now to cultivate a loving relationship with yourself.
2. Your relationships with the people around you are dependent upon your relationship with yourself.
Most of the people you’ll meet throughout your life will learn how to treat you according to how you treat yourself. The people you allow into your life will mirror the ways you treat yourself. If you don’t believe you’re worthy and deserve respect, they’ll take that as permission to treat you the same way. This is especially important when it comes to attracting a partner.
If you have endless love for yourself, you’ll feel ready and entirely willing to give your partner love rather than withholding it until that person makes you feel full first, because you already feel full on your own.
3. Travel as much as possible.
There will most likely be few moments in your life when you have the kind of time and financial freedom to travel that you have now. Think about it: you’re the only person you have to pay for on a trip, your schedule is the only one that needs to be adjusted, and you have full reign to fill your days with activities only you want to do and places only you want to see. So please, buy that plane ticket already.
4. Build, strengthen, and appreciate female friendships.
When you’re eventually in a relationship, you won’t have as much time to spend with your girlfriends as you do now as a single woman. If you take advantage of the time you have now to cultivate meaningful relationships with the women around you, those friendships will endure throughout your life. When communication dwindles and girls’ nights and wine parties become less frequent, the women you built strong friendships with will remain much of the backbone of your life because you spent time building those friendships.
5. Replace the time you spend looking for a lover with time reflecting on what’s important to you in a relationship.
The space between your last relationship and your next offers an incredible opportunity to reflect on past relationships: what you learned from them and what you would do differently if given the opportunity. If you feel you acted irrationally in a particular relationship, spend time reflecting on why. On the flip side, what behaviors did you put up with in a relationship that you refuse to allow in future relationships? These are not moments to be hard on yourself about what you should have done in the past but rather an opportunity to thoughtfully reflect on how past lessons can serve as a friend to the future.
6. If you feel lonely, sit with it.
Everyone experiences that feeling of “Oh god, what if I never find someone? What if I’m alone the rest of my life?” We are humans wired for connection with other humans. Loneliness is an incredibly common fear to have. But for many, the fear of being alone is simultaneously a fear of being alone with oneself. Dig deeper into what you’re feeling by sitting with it, facing it head on and then working through it from the root up. Once you get to the point where being alone the rest of your life is no longer your greatest fear, you’ll feel a genuine sense of freedom.
7. These years will form your foundation. You will plant many seeds in your twenties that will bloom later in life.
The moment will likely arrive when your life drastically changes from being a single woman to being a woman whose needs mesh with those of a spouse or child. Though you’ll likely (hopefully) be happy in a serious relationship or marriage, there will certainly be moments when you want to pull your hair out, when you’re knee-deep in dishes and laundry or when you feel so overwhelmed by the needs of others that you’ll feel very distant from yourself. In those moments, the seeds that you planted as a young, single woman will blossom to carry you through the challenges. The work you invested in yourself will stay with you through your life, and the seeds will sprout just when you need them.
8. If you rush finding “the one,” you will almost certainly end up with someone you shouldn’t be with.
If you feel pressure to get married or feel a need to prove to the world that you’re not a lonely woman who has little to offer, you begin to justify behaviors you would’ve never accepted before, neglect your needs, and/or lose sight of your values. If you don’t work through the fear you have of being alone, it will control your life and lead you to make decisions you wouldn’t have otherwise. Then ten years down the road when you realize the situation you put yourself in because you felt rushed, it will be far more difficult to get yourself out of it.
9. Go on as many dates as you want; sleep with as many people as you want.
No one has room to make you feel shame for seeing who you want or doing what you want with your own body. As a single woman, there will never be such a wide open door in front of you as there is now to explore different partners. This helps you learn what qualities you admire in another person and what you enjoy and deserve in bed. You can see other people and still be single. In fact, it’s in these moments that you can fully explore what attracts you to another person.
10. Do things alone, often.
It may feel daunting at first, but there is nothing more empowering than doing something on your own. Take yourself to dinner and spend $50 on an entrée and two glasses of wine, go to a movie by yourself, visit and explore a new town with only the company of yourself. It’s in these moments, when you’re able to completely experience a situation or environment without having the distraction of someone else, that you can learn important and meaningful lessons about yourself.