What I’ve come to realise more than anything is that being single is not a better or worse path than being in a relationship. It is quite simply a different one. It has its own incredible, warm and enlightening benefits, just like being in a relationship does. And when you realize those benefits, well, it can be a hard life to un-choose.
The thing is, we always are in a relationship – with ourselves. And when this relationship is good, when we nurture it and find all we need from within, it is the happiest we can ever be. Anything on top of that is a bonus.
When we take the time to have this relationship with ourselves, we find out what we really need. We realize the true power and freedom in making choices for ourselves, and all of the possibility that includes. We can go anywhere we like, with anyone we choose, and it is only while on these paths that we discover who we are and what we are looking for in life. As a single person, we have time for this and are making time for this, and we are feeling good about ourselves because of our own making. We are not in danger of losing our identity, only of finding it.
I recall reading the infamous Eat Pray Love, and stumbling across a paragraph whereupon Elizabeth Gilbert leaves her husband and begins to allow herself single-person thoughts, such as “What do you want to do Liz?”
To which she replies, starting small and slowly getting larger in her ideas:
“I want to go to Yoga class.
I want to go home early from this party so I can go home and read a novel.
I want to learn how to speak Italian.”
Our possibilities are limitless, and the more time we spend with ourselves, the more we begin to see just how large we can actually dream. In the words of Bob Dylan: “When you ain’t got nothing you got nothin’ to lose.” Which is true, in terms of responsibility. Except you don’t have nothing. You have everything, right at your fingertips.
The greatest joys I have ever known within a relationship are when you can share the joys of your own life, of the things you love and strive for – the things that make you who you are. When you know those things and live them, they are only then exacerbated by the people who come into your life and love them too. And vice versa. We can be proud and excited and strong for our loved ones when we are strong in ourselves.
We can also exist entirely in the moment, without thinking about the future. Being single means a lot of traveling, sleeping over the whole bed, flirting, and wreckless fun. It’s about enjoying our own achievements, answering to no one, going where the wind takes you. It is a time we can fully commit to our education, our careers and hobbies.
We spend so much of our lives either in love or thinking about being in love. So we must cherish those precious moments in between, the moments where we don’t have someone else to think about, the moments where we understand the true value of selfishness, and its place in the balance of all things. Because if you don’t know these things about yourself, you cannot truly understand your needs in compliance with somebody else’s – the bright somebody of your future. The somebody who will someday run alongside you, as your best and most wonderful single self.
“My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude.” – Warsan Shire
Featured photo credit: Magdeleine via magdeleine.co