There can be so much stigma around single, independent women. (Why can’t everyone be down for #womenempowerment?) Especially when you’re in your 20’s. Our young adult years are so full of growth, development, and socialization. We’re being pushed from so many angles to start finding “the one” and “building a life together.” So of course, from time to time, these things will overlap and we will end up comparing our subjective progress to our friends’.
I have an amazing group of friends that I adore more than life itself (shout out to my ladies). However, I have come to find that I do compare myself to them from time to time and that doesn’t do anything but make me bitter towards their successes. Or at least, what I consider to be a success.
Comparison truly is the thief of all joy.Theodore Roosevelt (with modification by yours truly)
I have one friend who is engaged, just moved into a big ol’ house, and is getting a super cute puppy. All while being in school with me to get her doctorate. Impressive, right? Another friend of mine is living on the beach, working in medicine, engaged to the love of her life. Dream. Another friend is planning her wedding and going on her doctoral internship next year. Amazing.
If you’re even slightly attentive, you’ll notice one thing all of these friends have in common. Yep, they’re all engaged. While I am so ecstatic for all of them, it’s hard when I take a look at myself in comparison. I’m not engaged, nor am I even remotely close to it.
It’s difficult to be the single friend, or even the friend without a serious relationship, when most of your closest friends are in long-term, committed relationships. While they may still invite you to social things, it still feels weird. Sometimes it weighs on your self esteem “Why don’t I have what they have?” or “if only I were ___ or had ___ I’d be there too.” But why?!
It has taken me some time to come to terms with the fact that IT IS OK to be the independent friend in a group teeming with serious commitment. There are thoughts that may come up when you realize you are that friend, such as:
- I’m not good enough
- Nobody wants me
- I’m not good at relationships
- I’m not goo with commitment
- I’m not meant for anyone
- I’m flawed and that’s why I’m single.
No no, honey. You are not flawed and there is nothing wrong with your ability to commit. There are so many reasons people choose to be single during their young adult lives. I obviously don’t know your reason, but the point still stands.
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You Get To Have Fun
Disclaimer, I’m not saying that relationships aren’t fun. They definitely can be! My point here is you get to do what’s fun for you and only you. Maybe your idea of fun is different from other people’s. When you’re in a relationship, you have to compromise and do things that you don’t find enjoyable sometimes simply for the sake of seeing your partner happy. Being single is great because the only things you have to do are things you want to do. You only have to go places that you want to go.
Your Freedom Is Endless
One of my favorite parts about single-dom is the freedom (ha, rhyme). Now, I’m definitely not saying I felt trapped in any relationship I’ve had by any means. I’ve always been able to do what I want, but there’s something special about the extra liberation that comes with being single. You don’t have to consult with anyone before you decide to do something. Want to hop from friend’s house to friend’s house all weekend without returning home to do anything but shower (maybe)? Go for it! Want to live off of the same meal all week and not hear anyone complain about it? It’s yours! Want to binge watch that trashy reality TV show with the curtains closed all day? Nobody’s stopping you! Want to listen to an audiobook about different types of crabs while you make dinner? Sounds like fun to me!!
May I suggest using Audible for all your audiobook needs.
All The Extra Time!
I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a relationship I feel like I’m constantly talking to my partner, or thinking about them, or making plans for what we can do together. All of the time spent on these activities is suddenly freed up when you become single. You can use this time to do anything you want! I know some people fresh out of a break up have a really hard time with that silence. It’s almost like you can hear the other person not talking to you anymore. But this is where you bring in some self love and do something to help you get back in touch with yourself. Spend some of this newfound time doing a self care activity. You’d be surprised what kind of self discovery can come from the silence after a break up.
You Get To Be Selfish
This point in our lives honestly should be about being selfish. This period of time is when we are allowed to explore things we like and don’t like, take opportunities we want and ignore the ones we don’t. Having no commitment to another person means you don’t have to consider someone else’s feelings when making decisions. You don’t have to talk things over before you make a decision, whether it be about a new job, a trip you’re planning, or this expensive thing you’re about to buy. The decision is all yours and that is amazing.
You Can Try Something New & Explore New Interests
One of my personal favorite things to do after a break up is try something new. Whether that is a new fitness class (I love me some group fitness) or a new recipe or a new morning routine. If you were in a healthy relationship, none of these things were likely restricted from you. So you may be wondering why this is important. This is important right after a break up because you are exploring something that you were curious about. Putting ourselves out there to try new things is anxiety provoking but also exhilarating! We often find ourselves getting comfortable in our relationships, ultimately settling into a routine with our partner. Once this routine fades away, what better way to refresh your day to day life than with something new!
The point of this post isn’t to discourage people from finding relationships or being happy in them. the point is to liberate those who are single right now (or are about to be) and may not feel the best about it.
Experiencing a break up can be Earth shattering and confidence breaking. However, there is always some beauty in the breakdown. Hopefully the points above will help you gain your confidence back and live a life that is truly and uniquely yours.
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