Does “happily single” sound like an oxymoron? It doesn’t have to. Our relationship-obsessed society would like us to believe that “single” is a synonym for sad, lonely and depressed, and happiness can only be achieved by finding Mr. Right.
The problem with this belief system is that many women end up jumping into relationships without knowing who they really are or what they really want out of life and love. They end up lost, confused and – now – stuck with another person in tow. Having a significant other is not the social equivalent to a happy pill; you have to be satisfied before you start the relationship in order for it to work. The best way to find happiness is to know and love yourself. And you can only do that when you are your number one priority – in other words, when you are single. Here are 9 tips to help start you on a journey to a happy (single) life.
1. Discovering You
When you are a part of a couple, there is a tendency to stop thinking in terms of “I” and start thinking in terms of “we.” But when you are single, you don’t have to cater to anyone else’s needs or settle for compromises. Now is the time to discover who you are and what you want. Surround yourself with the things you enjoy. Decorate your home according to your personal style. Crank up your favorite music in the car. Remember, your most important relationship is the one that you have with yourself.
Keep a journal to help you in your personal discovery. Record your thoughts every night before bed, or every morning after you wake up. You might be surprised how much you learn about yourself on those pages.
2. Date Yourself
Take an art class. Write that novel. Learn to ski. Turn off your phone for an entire weekend while you curl up with your favorite book. Whatever it is that you love to do, don’t wait, don’t make excuses – do it! There is no better time than the present when you are solely responsible for yourself.
In fact, think of it as a date with yourself. By spending time sans a partner, you become your own best friend. Whatever annoys you about yourself gives you a clue about growth potential. Take time to see why you are so cool to hang out with—and why you are happy to be single.
3. Change Course
If you enjoy your career, be careful not to turn into a workaholic. Many singles throw themselves into their work to eat up any extra free time. There is nothing wrong with working hard and taking on extra projects to get ahead; however, a healthy life is all about balance. You need time to work and time to play.
Take the time to sample all of life’s little pleasures. Soak in the tub for as long as you like. Have a glass of wine while listening to Sinatra. Fill your home with your favorite flowers, or treat yourself to weekly pedicures.
Your time and money are yours and yours alone; you don’t have to answer to anyone to justify how you spend them when you are happily single. By pampering your inner princess, you focus on the fun and luxury of being a woman.
And don’t forget to pamper your palate. Cooking for one doesn’t have to consist of an endless parade of frozen dinners. Use your kitchen as an experiment station to try out crazy new recipes or, if you’ve always loved Mediterranean cuisine, enroll in a cooking class. Be sure to keep your refrigerator stocked with plenty of fruits, vegetables and healthy snacks. Pampering yourself means taking care of your body – inside and out.
5. Travel Solo
There is no better time to travel than when you are happily single. With no significant other, no kids and no other responsibilities, you can whisk yourself away at a moment’s notice. Whether you’ve always dreamed of visiting the Australian Outback or you want to follow your favorite band on tour across the Eastern seaboard… what’s stopping you? Don’t let the lack of a travel companion deter your dreams. Besides, you’re likely to meet the most interesting people along the way.
Use some of your free time to volunteer. Find a service that really speaks to you, such as helping out at a retirement home, working at an animal shelter, or tutoring young boys and girls. Helping others brings a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment like nothing else. And working with like-minded people can open the door to new friendships.
7. Bond with Buddies
We all need other people in our lives. It’s part of what makes us human. All too often, single people tend to feel lonely and disconnected from others. But you don’t need a relationship to make you feel complete. Establish a social network of friends to share your ups and downs.
Make regular “dates” to see your closest friends. Try for at least once a week. Meet each other for lunch or happy hour, gather together to watch your favorite television show or reserve one night a week as “girls night out.”
Try to establish friendships outside or your inner circle as well. Connect with your coworkers, join a book club or a sports league, or get friendly with fellow volunteers. Venture outside your comfort zone when it comes to meeting new people. Think of how well-rounded your life can be when you surround yourself with people from all different walks of life.
8. Free to Flirt
If you’re happily single with no serious intention to settle down, get out there and flirt. Have dinner with the dapper executive in the office next door. Go for drinks with the cute guy you see at your local coffee shop every morning. When you’re keeping things light and fun, you can keep your social calendar filled. Just be up front about what you are (and aren’t) looking for in another.
You are single for a reason. You won’t settle for a less just to have a man in your life. Don’t let anyone pressure you into a relationship that you aren’t ready for. If the right guy comes along, who knows what might happen? But until then, you are happy being single.
With friends, career and hobbies, lead a full, well-rounded life. You don’t need that “other half” when you are single and happy. Celebrate your independence. And remember, there is nothing sexier than a fun-loving woman who is in control of her own life. So if you happen to attract some male attention, you can decide whether he’s Mr. Right, Mr. Right-Now or Mr. Yeah, Right. Ah, the benefits of being happily single!
Are you living your life to the fullest?
James Dean once said, “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” Do you take time to pursue your passions or are you a slave to the daily grind?
By Ashleigh Frank for LifeScript.com