This is a repost of the article of the same name on www.lifehack.org by Author Dave Edwards.
There are worse things than being alone. But it often takes decades to realize this. And most often when you do, it’s too late. And there’s nothing worse than too late.
– Charles Bukowski
Yes, there are worse things than being alone.
In fact, your single years can be some of the most productive and liberating times of your life. But the way some people reluctantly wear their single status, you’d swear it was something to be escaped and avoided at all costs. You’ll no doubt know friends who obsessively crawl bars and clubs looking for someone – anyone – who can provide the security and comfort of a familiar relationship. And then everything will be all right. Right?!
It’s a shame that so many people view relationships as the best part of life. Being single allows you to experience so much that is often simply not possible when subjected to the financial and emotional pressures of supporting and maintaining a relationship. Far from being a temporary state that merely fills the inconvenient bit in between relationships, this time should be used to grow and evolve beyond the realms of those consumed and caged by societal expectations.
Being single can be the most magical, wonderful time of your life. Here’s why.
1. It’s about finding out who you really are.
There are physical characteristics that we all know about ourselves; height, approximate weight and sex being the obvious ones. But being single affords you a unique opportunity: you get to really find out who you are. The good, the bad, the indifferent, are all laid bare. Your strengths, weaknesses and insecurities exposed. Embrace the solitude and vow to learn and uncover everything about yourself. Resolve to tackle your demons rather than bottling them up. So many potentially great relationships are ruined because we carry much unresolved baggage from one relationship to the next. Being single is about finding out who and why you are what you are. And then working to iron out the creases.
2. It’s about exploring what you want to do with your life.
Being single used to mean nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.
– Sarah Jessica Parker
How many people do you know that had dreams and ambitions, yet fell into an unhappy relationship? Maybe felt obligated to assume new responsibilities they never wanted or expected? There’s something deeply tragic about this. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there is nobility in living for others and putting their needs before yours. And there are times when this is absolutely necessary and the right thing to do. But wouldn’t you want your children to blaze their own trail and find and live their dream? So what’s your excuse? Use this time to pursue your passions, whether they come with monetary rewards or not. Immerse yourself in the process. And to hell with the consequences. Because you will never be happy unless you find and love what you do.
3.It’s about gaining confidence.
Being single allows you to develop skills and talents you may have forgotten about or didn’t even know you had. It allows you to learn how to do things independently and cope with change. Being single and creating the life you desire is a journey. And the reward for a journey of self-discovery is a new-found confidence and sense of contentment. Your choices, options and freedoms are limitless. Having the confidence to really seize these opportunities means you’ll get to live and enjoy the life you want.
4. It’s about knowledge.
A journey of self-discovery requires that you explore different cultures, beliefs and ways of life. It is about acquiring knowledge and gaining wisdom. When you are accountable only to yourself, you have a unique opportunity to go wherever your heart takes you. A hunger to learn and a curious spirit will serve you well. Read that great book you’ve never gotten round to. Revisit the classics and broaden your horizons with new genres of literature. Travel far and wide and soak up new experiences. Absorb the smells, sights, sounds, and exotic cuisines of foreign lands. If you commit to squeezing every last drop from your life, being single moment will prove to be utterly exhilarating.
5. It’s about regaining your health.
Not only is an unhappy relationship the cause of many mental health issues; it is often to blame for an expanding waistline. Whether it be comfort eating your way to an all too fleeting sugar high, or devouring one too many convenience meals in front of the TV, a familiar, safe and comfortable relationship rarely stirs the physical beast within. Yet your physical and emotional well-being are intrinsically linked. Use this time to nourish your body with quality, whole foods and benefit from the feel-good endorphins that exercise provides. You’ll gain the self-confidence, satisfaction and a sense of achievement that only a strong and healthy human body knows. And you get the satisfaction of politely declining admiring suitors captivated by your recent physical and mental transformation.
6. It’s about making your own rules.
When you’re in a relationship, you tend to put someone else’s needs before yours. You no longer always come first. But being single means you can be selfish, for all the right reasons. Have an urge to travel? Take flight. Want breakfast in bed, a long leisurely morning walk, followed by an afternoon swim and dinner at midnight? Do that. There is no one guaranteed way to live a great life. But by being single, you get to immerse yourself in the vital process of actually doing things – of living – and making up the rules as you go along. There are no limitations. Nothing holding you back, apart from your own fears. Isn’t it about time you addressed them?
7. It’s about loving yourself.
People always say that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. Well, maybe not. You can certainly love someone even if you’re going through the darkest of times. But you simply cannot give the pure unadulterated love you’re capable of if you’re shackled by low self-esteem and regret. Finding the true you and evolving into what you were meant to become means that those who enter your life will be enriched by the experience. You will be present – making the most of every moment. Unmasked. Those who are able to love themselves, seem to effortlessly create happy and fulfilling lives.
Would these lives be better and more enriched if shared with a partner? That depends. Sometimes, yes – but often not. If you’re not yet feeling content with your life choices, and don’t know where you’re heading, maybe it’s time to put the search for your perfect soul-mate on hold for a little longer…
You’ve got some living to do first.