I loved being single.
I love being with my partner, too. It’s a different type of love. When you’re alone, doing your own thing, and living out your life the way you want to live it, you feel on top of the world. Eventually, that comes to an end, and you decide to share your life with someone, and that feels good too.
However, I want to talk to you about how being single — truly being single, is one of the best phases of your life that you will ever experience.
It’s often bypassed because society tries to make you believe that you can’t be happy or fulfilled unless you’re with someone romantically. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Being single and utilizing it to your advantage can help improve your life in several ways.
With that being said, here are 3 ways in particular that truly helped me become the person I am today and allowed me to have the great relationships that I have in my life now.
. . .
Your confidence level booms.
When I took a dating hiatus, my confidence level soared. I took a long and hard look at myself and asked the following questions,
What did I like about myself? What did I dislike? Who did I want to become? What did I want to be known for? What kind of impact did I want to make? What did I want my future daughter to think of me as?
I asked myself all of those questions and did a lot of self-reflection. I was done going through the motions of life at that point. I wanted more, and more importantly, I wanted to start building a life for myself that I was proud of.
My single life was all about me and my needs. I knew that I wanted a forever partner eventually, but I also knew that they would come when the time was right. For all of that to happen, I needed to understand my own needs, my own desires, and values. Being single helped me focus on those things.
Through that process, I gained confidence in myself that seeped into other relationships in my life. My friends noticed a change in me; I was no longer that girl who was settling cause she didn’t know what she wanted. I was the type of girl who suddenly spoke up. The one who went for things because I had gained a sense of awareness of who I was and what I had to offer.
Being single allowed me to tap into my own inner strengths, which manifested in a greater level of confidence that I never had before.
. . .
You can take advantage of opportunities that come your way.
Let’s play pretend.
Let’s pretend you’re dating a pretty decent guy (or gal), and your relationship is fairly serious, but you haven’t tied the knot or anything. In fact, you don’t even know if you would. They work a regular 9–5, and you’ve got your own thing going on when all of a sudden, something happens.
An opportunity falls right on your lap, the opportunity to travel to a different state for something exciting (permanently).
Would your partner go with you? Would they quit their job for you? If they would, would they end up resenting you for it? Would you feel obligated to stay because of your “decent” relationship?
I say all of this because I was in this exact boat. I was in an off-and-on relationship with someone for a long time, and nearing the end of it all, I realized that my life would be average if I stayed.
I wouldn’t experience anything extraordinary, but at the same time, I’d have a man in my life who did care about me. I wouldn’t see the world, but I also wouldn’t necessarily be lonely for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not I’d meet someone nice again.
When I told my ex I was moving to LA, I remember a flash of something in his eyes. Anxiety? Sadness? All of a sudden, he started talking about getting me a dog. A dog that we would share custody of until eventually, he could move to California with me so we could be together.
My initial instinct was, “Wow. That’s so nice of him; he would leave his home, his job, and friends to be with me.”
However, then I felt guilty. Because I knew that he wasn’t doing it for himself, he was doing it because he was scared to see me go. And the dog wasn’t a sign of love; it was his way of trying to keep himself around. “If we have a pet, it’ll be harder for her to leave me.”
When you’re single and alone, you’re free from the constraints of having a partner. Your life is 100% your own. Nobody is hindering you from chasing your ambitions. You’re more likely to take risks, have adventures and enjoy your own life and the decisions you choose to make.
I chose to pursue my ambitions and chase my dreams instead of settling down with the wrong person. The next time fear (or a person) comes knocking on your door and tries to give you an ultimatum, punch it and do what you feel is right.
. . .
You can figure out what YOU want.
Dr. Jenny Taitz, psychologist and author of How to Be Single and Happy, says that being single is your chance to figure out your own personal mission statement. It’s a critical time to figure out who you are and what you stand for.
Without even knowing you, I can guess that you’ve got a lot of things in you that you stand for, not because you genuinely stand for them, but because you were influenced by somebody else to stand for them.
I know this because I, too, have been in the same boat.
My first boyfriend was incredibly religious, and our relationship was doomed from the start because he was Muslim and I was Christian. Still, throughout our short-lived relationship, I noticed myself doing things for him that I otherwise wouldn’t do.
For example, he was against me having any friends outside of him. He believed that there was no reason for either one of us to have friends outside of one another, so I agreed.
My second boyfriend was the complete opposite. There were days that I barely even saw him because he was so occupied with “guy night.”
I didn’t think much of it. Instead, I worked or spent time with my dog at home. Secretly, it really bothered me. There were other things about our relationship that bugged me too.
Still, instead of asking myself whether or not the relationship was right for me, I stuck around in the hopes of magically feeling better about it.
When you’re single, you have time to get clear about your own needs and values. That is when you take the time to reflect on prior relationships and reassess who you are and what you want out of life and what you want out of a partner.
I once read that when you’re single, you have the ability to focus on the one consistent factor that will create the positive change you’re constantly seeking– yourself.
I took advantage of that. I focused on myself and what I wanted. I focused on identifying my own core values and rather than be constantly influenced by a partner, I honed in on building up my own character, and my own opinions.
. . .
Being single is a gift. If you choose to utilize it to your advantage rather than wait around looking for “the one” to come around, you can truly improve yourself and your life.
I’ve experienced loneliness, I’ve experienced pure bliss without a partner, and I’ve experienced it with a partner.
I can confidently say both are unique in their own ways. However, the best way to experience joy with a partner is by first experiencing it with yourself.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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