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5 Reasons Being Single Is Okay

5 Reasons Being Single Is Okay

The benefits of being single are often left unexplored as many people prefer the idea of maintaining and discussing relationships. Well, we thought we’d give some much-needed attention to the reasons being single should make you just as happy as being in a relationship! Vincent Nguyen of Self Stairway explores five lessons he’s learnt whilst being single:

It’s sad that most people look at relationships like they’re the be-all and end-all of personal happiness. “I can’t be happy if I’m not taken!” seems to be the mantra of millions.

I empathize because I used to be one of those people. Looking back a few years, I was insecure, unhappy, and I felt like the only way I could change all that was if I was dating someone.

Well… My first relationship wasn’t exactly the healthiest and I wasn’t really happy. I don’t regret it because it taught me what to avoid in future relationships, but I shake my head when I think about the person I was then.

I was so needy and dependent on the relationship that even while things were breaking apart, I desperately held on and tried to pick up the pieces that should’ve been left alone. My heart would be racing if she didn’t respond to my texts in less than a few minutes, I’d check up on her all the time and I was suspicious of all her male friends.

That’s the sort of behavior that was normal for me. I couldn’t even imagine how it felt to go back to being… single.

So of course, I kept holding on.

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Eventually, we broke up and I fell into what I call my darkest hours. I’d be trying to sleep and feel this intense pain throughout my body. My heartstrings felt cut. I’d wonder to myself, “How do people handle being alone?”

That was 5 years ago.

If this is you right now, trust me when I say I get it. I remember how it felt to be reliant on one person for your own happiness. It’s a miserable way to live.

How can you be happy in the long run, 5/10/50 years from now, if you’re dependent on someone else to fix all your personal problems? That’s a sign of a larger issue.

You need to be satisfied with who you are before you can get into a healthy relationship. Neither person could accept the responsibility of being a crutch for the all of the other’s issues.

If you truly believe there’s no possibility of happiness because you’re single, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment, pain, and the inevitability of entering a toxic relationship. The relationship you eventually enter won’t last and you’re going to spiral down. Hard.

Here are 5 mindset shifts I had to finally internalize before I realized how to be self-content outside of a relationship.

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You have the chance to build a better lifestyle

Relationships won’t transform you into a captivating person filled with unique hobbies and interests.

That’s on you.

I used to believe that having a girlfriend would somehow make me more interesting. The truth is, the bulk of the work lies on your shoulders, whether you’re single or otherwise. In my case, I began to deep dive on subjects I enjoyed.

Fashion interested me so I went out and bought clothes. New clothes made me feel good because I knew I looked good — and I had a new conversation topic to fall back on. Boom, more interesting.

Then I played more sports. Tennis, Bowling, Ultimate Frisbee, and Disc Golf became hobbies that kept me busy and gave me things to talk about.

Having interests makes you interesting.

Being single can be just as self-improving as a relationship

They say your significant other brings out the best in you. That’s only if you’re in a healthy relationship, which most people currently dating aren’t.

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You can still work on building self-confidence, self-esteem, and everything in between. Personal growth doesn’t suddenly halt when your Facebook relationship status is set to single.

If you condition yourself to believe you can’t grow on your own then your mindset needs a serious shift.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic solution you can drink to realise this, It’s something you’ll have to come to yourself.

Toxic relationships drain you more

Rush into one and you’re bound to be desperate. You’ll fall for the first girl that displays any interest in you and you’ll stay with her because you’ll tell yourself it’s better than being single.

Ferris Bueller’s comment on his best friend, Cameron, says it best: “…he’s going to marry the first girl he lays, and she’s gonna treat him like shit, because she will have given him what he has built up in his mind as the end-all, be-all of human existence. She won’t respect him, ’cause you can’t respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn’t work.”

Is this you? Do you want to be in a soul-sucking relationship just to avoid being single? Relationships aren’t the end-all, be all of human existence. Don’t be Cameron.

There’s no such thing as wasted time

One of my closest friends is in this situation right now. I asked him how his relationship was doing and he was unenthused.

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I asked if he felt happy but his response was that he didn’t know what that meant. Then I asked him why he’s still dating her. He said he didn’t want all their relationship’s work and effort to go to waste.

Okay, you put effort into something that didn’t quite meet your expectations, but so what? You learn what to avoid in the future. You get stronger. You emerge as a freaking beast.

Did I regret my first relationship? I sure did at the time, but I realized I had grown so much from my experience. I know more about what I want, what I don’t, and I learned something valuable; holding onto something broken only delays the disappointment when it shatters.

Learning to be content with yourself allows you find a higher quality partner

After learning to be happy with myself, my expectations for my future girlfriend have been raised much further than just physical appearance. The way I look at it, I’m living an adventure of my own. I want my partner to add onto that and I’m not willing to settle for less.

When I go on dates I’m seeing if I’m interested in them, not the other way around.

This lets me be a lot more relaxed and confident in myself when I’m meeting women because I have all my shit together. There’s no secretly hoping she’s “the one” every time.

All of this because of these 5 mindset shifts.

Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway. He was a full-time college student, a freelancer, and an intern for 3 different companies, but more recently dropped out of school after landing his dream job. Although he’s juggling a lot, he considers Self Stairway his full-time job.

5 Reasons to Be Happy You’re Single | Self Stairway

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Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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