by Liberty Stembridge, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 1st March, 2019
Around the time of Valentines, it's common to start feeling insecure or disheartened about your love life if you're single. Seeing everyone around you in relationships whilst you're left eating alone at home is not exactly a mood-booster.
There's a common misconception that being single means being miserable, and around valentines this can really start to affect your mental health, even if you were perfectly happy beforehand. In reality, there's no reason why being single is any better or worse than being in a relationship, life is what you make of it - so if you're struggling this time of year, here's how to embrace your singledom.
The best way to really know yourself is to spend time by yourself, it's as simple as that. This might sound lonely, or boring - but it's really not. Learning to enjoy time by yourself is key to your overall enjoyment of life, and if you, like many people, have skipped from one long-term relationship to another, you might not have had the chance to live completely independently for an extended period of time. Now is the time to really embrace that, and get to know yourself.
Try new things, whether it's food, entertainment, sports, whatever - just give it a go. If you hate it, now you know. Keep a record of what you discover, in a journal or even as a little note on your phone. Singledom is the perfect time for self-exploration.
Embracing your single life does not mean that you can't think about relationships at all. In fact, your time being single is the perfect time to figure out what it is you do and don't like in a partner.
You're clear headed, unsullied by the rush and excitement of a new relationship, but with the wisdom of old relationships that didn't work out still fresh in your mind. Once you've set out some boundaries and criteria for what you're looking for in a future relationship, you'll find it easier to create a better one when you do find "the one".
Sounds cliche but there truly is no better time than when you're single to do some serious self-improvement. With a constant source of affection and validation that a relationship can provide, it's easy for many of us to feel complacent about working on our flaws and reaching for our own personal goals.
When you haven't got anyone else to worry about, it's much easier to focus on yourself and the areas you want to improve upon. Chances are, you're previous relationships highlighted a few of your faults, and now is the time to work on them.
No one's saying that you can't be fun free and independent while you're in a relationship, but if there ever is a time to embrace your wild side - it's when you're single. You can do whatever you want to do now - your life is completely your own, you don't need to work on anyone else's schedule.
Quit your job, move across the country, go out partying, go back to school, live on a yacht for a year, adopt a dog - whatever it is that you want to do, do it and enjoy it.
A common stereotype about being single is that you'll stay locked in your house all day, only leaving to go to work and end up incredibly lonely. Sure, if you never leave the house and make no effort to maintain any friendships this might end up being your fate, but it isn't for most people.
Your time as a single person is ideal for meeting new people. Go out to bars, join clubs or groups, network with friend's of friends, whatever it is that gets you out of the house and meeting new people. Just don't forget to stay in contact with your current friends too!
The term "selfish" has a lot of negative connotations, but it doesn't really have to - especially when you're single. All it really means is that you're putting yourself first - which you should be doing. Rather than feeling weighed down or suppressed by commitments, now is the time to forego all that nonsense and do whatever makes you feel good, regardless of what anyone else thinks or wants from you (within reason, maybe don't go slacking off on your job just yet).
Dates are all the fun with none of the commitment - sure you might meet a few bad eggs, but overall, dating can be a very fun and empowering experience, especially if you're fresh out of a relationship. Being single doesn't have to mean being alone, be it in friendship or romance, so date as little or as much as you please. Just remember to keep it casual and fun - this is not the time for melodrama and angst.
Travel is one of those things that everyone says they want to do, but end up putting it off one way or another. This is especially true when you're in a relationship - conflicting schedules and differing wants can prevent you from going where you really want to go, and that can be frustrating. So if you've always wanted to hike the Inca trail, now's the time to do it.
Don't be put off by the idea of traveling solo, literally thousands of people do it every year and come back saying it's one of the most liberating experiences of their life - and who knows, you might just find the next love of your life.
As a society, we've been conditioned to believe that being single = bad. That being single means being lonely, and wanting to be single is a sign of failure. None of these are true of course, but that doesn't mean they can't slip into your psyche and affect the way you feel.
If you find yourself often falling prey to unwanted, negative thoughts about your relationship status, consider keeping a set of reminders nearby to read through when you're feeling low. Sometimes all it takes is a quick pick-me-up to get you back into thinking and feeling positive.