Being single is hard in a world in which the life sum seems to be get married and having a baby. I know I’m not one to talk about this as I am married, but I didn’t get married until I was 31. I didn’t meet my husband until I was 29. Before that, I had one boyfriend for 3.5 months in college. I never had a Valentine’s date, I rarely had dates period. I had in fact become a master of being single.
So how did I master being single? First and foremost, I became happy being with myself. I know that sounds really sad, like I didn’t even have any friends, but it’s a really valuable skill. There is the old adage, how can someone be happy being with you if you aren’t happy being with yourself. But even beyond the ultimate goal of meeting someone, learn how to be happy alone. You have spent many years with yourself, and you will spend many more years with yourself. That has been and will be the only constant in your life. Yourself. So you need to learn how to be happy in the moments you’re alone, even if they are few and far between.
Start by taking care of yourself. Eat well (and indulge periodically), wash your face, take vitamins, feel good in your body. Find a mantra about yourself regarding your physical appearance or your mental abilities. Repeat this mantra on a daily basis. Learn how to love yourself.
Next, get out of your comfort zone. I have so many girl friends who will not go to dinner or see a movie or go to a class by themselves. They won’t even sit and wait for someone without pulling out their phones to look busy.
Start small. Go to a wine and design or candle making class by yourself. These classes are often filled with women. Talk to whomever you are sitting beside. Even if they are in a group, everyone loves to meet new people. Work up to bigger things. Go see a movie by yourself, or go to a nice dinner alone, or even travel by yourself. But always be safe: stay in well lit areas, around people, and always keep your head and shoulders up. If you feel unsafe, turn around and find another way, a short cut is not worth it. But the world is actually, generally, very safe.
A great way to work up to eating or even traveling by yourself is to start at a coffee shop. Get a cup of coffee and sit outside without looking at your phone or slumping over. Sit up straight but comfortably, and people watch. Challenge yourself to sit there for 15 minutes, then 30, work up to an hour! A great way to pass the time is to make up stories about the people you see that make you laugh. Exercise your creativity.
Most importantly, fake it until you make it. It takes confidence to walk into a dimly lit restaurant by yourself, and be sat with only one menu, without looking like a loser. Make it look like you would love nothing else than to have this wonderful meal by yourself(because no one knows that inside your head you are really thinking, omg, do these people think I’m a loser?). Walk with your shoulders back and your head up, and a slight smile on your face. Don’t look at your phone, just look around. Look at the artwork, look at the flowers, look at the menu. Use the same trick of making up stories about the people around you.
Remember, love is lovely. Romantic love, platonic love, but the most valuable kind of love is love for yourself. Use Valentine’s day, and every day, to celebrate yourself in special ways. Gift yourself a massage for Valentine’s day, get a pedicure after a long week, cook yourself your favorite meal after accomplishing a new goal, buy yourself a stained glass window to hang in your window that catches the light. Never stop celebrating yourself, because friendships and relationships are hard and sometimes your friends and significant others have to be selfish. Remember that everyone goes through a hard time, but there may be times that you are the only one who will think of you first. Always take care of friends and family, but when you’re running an errand for a friend in need, there’s nothing wrong with picking up your favorite candy bar as a little reward.