This advice is intended for anyone who’s newly single, but really it’s relevant for anyone searching for meaning as a human being. It’s much harder to understand what it means to be alone in our youth, so when entering adulthood, many are more focused externally rather than internally. In this time, we should be reflecting upon and embracing what makes us uniquely us, which could lead to a host of benefits, such as discovering a career that provides purpose or maintaining a balanced life. Instead, we give in to our fear-of-missing-out, stay out too late, and look for love in all the wrong places. What we really should be doing is working to feel more confident in our own skin.
Being single can guide you to your true self and be wonderfully empowering, once you make sense of it. Here are five things to think about when newly single:
1. Life is a solo journey with visitors along the way.
“All alone! Whether you like it or not, alone is something you'll be quite a lot!” - Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go!
It’s a harsh truth that can help the newly single man reclaim confidence during a time when the future feels so uncertain. we fear most what we don’t know or understand. However, defining this unknown helps conquer the fear and redefine personal identity. Throughout life, we will keep the company of many lovers and friends. Each fleeting relationship and new friendship teaches us something valuable about ourselves, and we'll never leave the same. It’s important that we learn to be grateful to every “visitor” for holding our hand, inspiring us, or showing us a new part of ourselves along the way.
2. Being single is a rollercoaster.
Whether it is a conscious choice or forced upon us, being single can bring loneliness, anger, pain, independence, freedom, and relief. It is important to know that all of these feelings are possible and probable during our journey through life. How we react to or dwell on these emotions reflects how well we cope during our single adventures.
Coping can take many forms, some not being as productive as others. While binge drinking, going out, gambling, and drugs offer an immediate escape, more productive coping habits like working out, traveling, focusing on your passion, or crushing work tasks provide a prolonged sense of accomplishment that keeps you happier and distracted for longer. Sure picking up the bottle on Wednesday is easier, but delving into the right productive outlet(s) can make all the difference when your rollercoaster hits a dip.
3. Ignore the noise and trust your intuition.
Society strongly influences our thinking about singledom. Marketers, dating shows, self-help books, and pop songs sell happiness as a destination rather than an emotional expedition with many twists and turns. This commercialization of love feeds on our insecurities and leads us to constantly compare our lives to others’. A close friend recently shared, “I’ve always lived my life on my own time.” Finding a life partner isn’t a marathon or a sprint - it’s a spontaneous moment when everything falls into place. While social pressures and the hyperaccessibility of digital dating and social pressures suggest otherwise, you can evolve to embrace the now without falling victim to tunnel vision on what you are “supposed to do.” Being mindful of what you want and open to what feels right will lead you in the right direction.
4. Confront the emotions driving your anxiety and overcome them.
Identify the forces constraining your ability to find contentment outside of a relationship and redirect your energy to cultivating the unique things that bring you joy and opportunities that manifest growth. When you shift your thinking, you become the architect of your own happiness.
Fully investing your dreams, hopes, and heart into building a lasting partnership that ends can leave a void that feels impossible to make whole again, especially when the ending is abrupt. Thankfully, in time, we mend and fill this space with family, friends, new experiences, new people, and transformative moments - if we resolve to do so.
5. Self-love and self-discovery are key.
Being single is about uncovering who you are and who you want to be. Focus on your relationship with you and design a life that you relish: travel alone; learn to play an instrument; join a sports league or book club; visit a museum; meditate; journal; try yoga; reconnect with friends; visit family; build your career; reinvent your personal style; volunteer; explore your city; take an online course; attend a lecture; read in a coffee shop; go to the movies alone; take a weekend trip away; plan an excursion abroad; learn to say no and stay in on a Friday or Saturday evening (or any night really); redecorate your apartment; save money; finally watch one of the 37 Netflix shows your friends have recommended; improve your cooking; or just be alone.
There is no right or wrong way to spend your time. Losing yourself in your awesome life will help you find more joy and a better understanding of who you want to share the adventure with, if anyone.