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10 Lessons Everyone Needs To Learn While Being Single

10 Lessons Everyone Needs To Learn While Being Single

Being Single

Being single can be tough, especially for someone who really wants to be in a relationship. When I was single, I could be so envious of those in committed relationships and thought that if only I had someone, all my problems would go away.

The ironic part is that even if those relationships were full of drama and problems, I still thought I’d be happier. I just wanted someone to love me. I wanted it right now.

I used to rationalize the reasons why I was single and would convince myself that it was because of some defect in who I was. We can be so hard on ourselves.

I wish I knew more, when I was younger and single, than what I know now. It would have saved me many years of struggling to be happy as a single guy who really wanted to find true love. Now happily married, I look back at all the stuff that worked and all the things that didn’t when I was single.

In my mature single days, I’ve found that these 10 lessons to be the most helpful.

Love Yourself and Love BEING AROUND Yourself

This is perhaps the most important lesson of all. You may have heard this before, but the only way you can truly love somebody else is if you love yourself first. It really is true.

However, it continues to be a common belief that finding true love will somehow complete you. Remember the movie Jerry Maguire? I remember when I first watched that scene when Tom Cruise rushes in and boldly exclaims, “You complete me.”

I actually thought to myself, “Who can I complete? There has to be hundreds of women who need me to complete them!” I was so cool.

It’s as if we are a complicated puzzle and if we just find that one perfect match, all our problems will go away.

The truth is, nobody can love you more than you can love yourself. A relationship won’t save you or fill some empty part of you.

It’s easy to think this way because we all want to be loved by someone. It feels good to be loved.

But, true love comes when two people love themselves first and can share that intimate love with each other. Love yourself first.

Here is something you can try.

I used to do this a lot when I felt uncomfortable being alone. In fact, it might make you uncomfortable at first, but it’s worth it.

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Go out to eat and treat yourself to a nice dinner. Yep, that’s right you and YOU only. Proudly request a table for one and sit by yourself. Don’t worry about what others think and make sure it’s a sit down restaurant. It can’t be at an airport either! Enjoy the meal and spending time with yourself. Savor the meal you have. Feel uncomfortable? That means you need to do it again.

Love being around yourself.

Find Ways to Lift Up Your Spirit

Ask yourself this, what sort of things get you excited? In other words, if you had a free afternoon to do what you enjoy, what would it be?

You can also think of something that really excites you that you may have neglected when you were in a relationship. Often, in toxic relationships we tend to lose some of who we are and what we enjoy doing.

It can even be as simple as catching up with some old friends.

I used to make “singles mix tapes” (MP3 or Playlist for the younger crowd) of songs that really would lift up my mood.

Find songs that really lift up your mood (I will not go into all the songs I picked but one of them was by a band called Chumbawamba)

Already do things that lift you up? Do more of them. Try something new.

Stop Wishing What Could Have Been

It is so easy to think about the past, especially the good stuff. The good memories take up way more head space than the bad, or at least we don’t remember all of life’s minutiae (life’s minutiae = awesome rock band name).

Many of us figuratively go to that “happy place”- a faraway land where we hope we can live some day.

Have you ever told yourself,
“If only I was still in love with (ex or at all) things would be different. I would be so happy”

I know I have.

When you find yourself thinking about the “what if’s” in life, try the following:

Ask yourself, is this actually useful in helping me be happy right now. Is it helping in any way? Probably not.

It is very easy to think of ideal situations and what could have been. But, when we live in the past, it cripples us from living in the present.

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We begin to hold ourselves back feeling stuck in another time.

Take this Time to Figure Out What’s Really Important

This is the time where looking back at past relationships can be beneficial. Try to look at it as objectively as you can.

What really didn’t work in past relationships? What was something you thought you really wanted but realized that it wasn’t really that important?

Decide for yourself what you truly want out of that relationship. You’ve heard the old saying, “don’t settle for something less”. But, what does that mean for you?

Write it out if it helps. It’s helped me become more objective because it is no longer trapped in my mind.

One caveat.

PLEASE, don’t be the person with “the list”. You know who I’m talking about.

They’ve made a checklist of their “perfect” mate and if that person doesn’t meet exactly every one of those 27, it’s a hard no.

If you tend to do this, I encourage you to ask yourself why all of these are important- the deeper meaning. You may find that it may have something to do with you instead.

Spend some time on this.

Stop Idealizing Your Ex

Your ex is not perfect. Accept it. We tend to associate this person with all of the good memories when we are feeling lonely. The hard truth is this:

Your ex is a person that you are not in a relationship with any more. That is it.

They are nothing more, nothing less.

Your perception of your ex is in fact YOUR perception of who you think that person is. They may be a great person. That’s fine. There are people in my life who I think are great but don’t put them up on pedestals.

Try and let go of the idea of what this person represents and simply acknowledge their place. It also can be useful to ask yourself what you learned from that person. I’ve even written down why I’m grateful for that person and what they taught me about myself today.

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The more you start viewing your ex as who they are, the easier it will become to let go of what you think they should be.

Feel Genuinely Happy for Others in Relationships

This includes your ex. It’s ok to feel jealous, but it’s important to really understand what jealousy is really masking.

It is human nature to feel jealous. But, next time you feel jealous, stop and ask what is that feeling all about. What is it in me that is missing that I am seeking externally? Am I insecure about something?

One way that has helped me get over some of this feelings is to verbally tell friends how happy I am for his or her relationship. In turn, they are happy to hear it and that energy will only bounce back to you.

The best part? The more you tell people how happy you are for them, the better you will feel about relationships. You begin to associate relationships as something positive even as a single person.

You also stop comparing yourself to others because it isn’t about you. It’s just about telling people how great you feel about them.

Your Life Isn’t Over

After a breakup or a long time living in the single world, I used to think I would actually be single forever. There was no hope.

All I could think about was my life as a long and lonely single one, because it was all I could see. We often put these blinders on and can’t see past what’s in our minds.

Someone once showed me a very simple tool that really helped me keep things in perspective. Draw a long line with a beginning and an end point with the day your were born as 0 and the age you think will be your last, respectively.

Then, draw a square from points representing ages when you have actually been single. You can even break up the square to smaller spaces when you’ve been dating or in a relationship. Or, when you believe you could have been in a long term committed relationship and/or married.

You will find that the space is actually quite small compared to your potential lifespan.

This is just to get you to view this moment in time as only a sliver of life.

Get Out and Meet People

The best time to do this is when you’re single- at ANY age. There are plenty of ways to find and meet new people. Join a meetup.com group or join a free dating site and meet other singles in your area. You may not find a relationship right away, but it’s always great to practice.

Go out drinks with some coworkers after work.

Earlier we talked about doing more things that excite you. What are some things that excite you that other people may also enjoy? Then, think about where you might find like-minded people. Maybe it’s an online group or local club.

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You don’t have to make it your mission to find your soulmate but just go out and meet more people. When people want to be around you, you may find you start attracting more people you may be interested in, without even realizing it.

I don’t even suggest setting expectations for yourself. The point is to not try too hard and to just have fun with it.

Get out there!

Find People You Can Relate To

In my hardest times, I’ve always found it helpful to reach out to someone I trust. A friend, family member, or someone going through the same thing as you, can really help you make sense of how you feel.

It is a lot easier to joke about the challenges of single life with someone who is also single. In fact, it’s helpful to know that you aren’t the only one thinking some of those crazy thoughts.

Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies” just popped in my head. You can even relate to that!

I also find it helpful to watch comedians talk about their failed relationships. They often have a great way of presenting their own lives as something all of us can relate to. Some of them are so open about their shortcomings. Even better, they make you laugh!

I caution you not to get too wrapped up in the negativity of others. There are some single people I know who constantly complain about their single lives. This doesn’t help you.

Find people who you can relate to but also can lift you up, not put you down.

It’s OK to be single

Embrace this time in your life. Don’t beat yourself up about being single. It is much better to be happy alone than miserable with someone else.

Just because someone is in a relationship, does not mean they are happy. It’s helpful to remind yourself of this.

Every day brings a choice as to how you can live the single life. Remind yourself that it is ok to be single and choose to live a happy single life by loving yourself first.

Despite what all of the sappy country songs tell you, you don’t have to be miserable, lonely, and desperate when you’re single.

I’m going to get a little mushy here- if you do feel bummed that you are single, just start to acknowledge those feelings. It’s better to feel them then hold more of them inside.

Actually, being single can be a lot of fun. Embrace it!

Come back to these lessons as a reminder that everyone is single at one point or another, and it’s how you choose to live the single life that is up to you.

Featured photo credit: Ryan Mcguire via gratisography.com

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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