Been there, done that, lived it, and survived.
And so can you. Whether you’re just entering singledom for the first time, or been there forever, single life is a journey. A beautiful, amazing, tough motherfucker of a slog.
Being single was the best of times and the worst of times. I loved it, I hated it, and I always learned from it. As Winston Churchill once said: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” And I did. Whether it was navigating the world alone as an only child or constructing it as a single woman, I kept going. What I found was an independence and resilience I never knew I had.
Going solo isn’t always easy, but it does show you what you’re made of.
The following isn’t dating advice; it’s practical wisdom and survival tips that saved my ass and kept me sane when I was single, and continue to come in handy even as a married person. The wisdom might sound familiar, but it never gets old.
Hopefully as you navigate your own journey through single life (or just life in general), these tips will come in handy for you too.
KNOW YOUR WORTH
Having a sense of your own value is what self-worth is all about. It’s your principles, character, attributes, and personal power. Knowing your worth protects you from being taken advantage of, becoming a victim, compromising yourself, or selling out.
RAISE YOUR BAR
Once you know your worth, you can start aiming higher – personally, professionally, and romantically. If you know you deserve better, then don’t be afraid to ask for it. Demand it. Especially when it comes to love. Don’t settle for less. Raise your bar and watch the quality of your life improve.
HEAL YOUR WOUNDS
In order to move forward, you’ve got to take a few steps back. Who hurt you? What’s the source of your pain? What past action or event gave you emotional scar tissue today? Don’t take old wounds, grief or anger into your future. Do whatever it takes to heal them now and be free.
LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
No one’s perfect; we’re all human and make mistakes – I’ve made plenty. The key is to apply your newfound wisdom to becoming a better person, parent, partner, whatever. Fucking up isn’t the worst thing in the world – repeating your fuck-ups is.
SET YOUR BOUNDARIES
Boundaries are a lifesaver. I’m talking about saying no, standing up, speaking up, and refusing to take on people’s pain and suffering. When you set clear boundaries, you become your own advocate for self-respect.
FIND YOUR PASSION
The quickest way to take the edge off being single is to get busy. Ask yourself what you love, then pursue it with a passion. Stay social, surround yourself with good friends, volunteer, engage with your world. You’ll create new interests, new relationships, and find new purpose in life.
BE ALONE WITH YOURSELF
While it’s important to stay busy, it’s also important to know how to be alone without freaking out. Get comfortable in your skin; enjoy your own company; and carve out quality alone time. Learn to savor the stillness and you’ll never be lonely again.
TEMPER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Having goals is great, but having unrealistic expectations can set you up for disappointment and defeat. Deepak Chopra describes this as “detaching from the outcome.” Remember, there is power in letting go and surrendering control. You can have aspirations, but beware of expectations.
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
It’s the hardest thing to do when you’re feeling shitty, but taking stock of what you have, instead of what’s missing, speeds up the healing process. Dig deep and find some gratitude every day (“I’m grateful for my family, friends, clients, job, health,” etc.) You’ll feel a shift and a lift.
KEEP YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR
If anything will keep you from losing your shit, it’s keeping your sense of humor. Whether it’s a bad date, a bad breakup, or some other bad news, let it go. It’s just not worth it. Remember to keep your wits (and wit) about you.
It doesn’t matter if you’re new to single life or a lifelong member. What matters is that you find what works to keep you sane and empowered. Like I said, being single isn’t always easy, but should you find yourself going through hell, just remember to keep going. It’s a worthy slog.
Required reading and suggestions for singles and non-singles alike
- The Four Agreements
- Codependent No More
- What Happy People Know
- The Secret (yeah I know, but it kind of works)
- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)