Following the theme of healthy relationships and intimacy this week, this article is for people who are embracing single life. Our culture is steeped in subliminal messaging that having a partner is a must. With a “happily ever after” with the perfect match being the end goal. However, this unrealistic message is being challenged more by people who are learning to love life alone.
Studies show that single people who are never married report similar levels of satisfaction and happiness over their lifetime. “Not having a romantic partner at the center of our lives does not limit our lives, it throws the doors wide open,” said Bella DePaulo, a social scientist at the University of California to Psyche. “Now, instead of prioritizing one person by default, we can decide for ourselves who really matters to us and live accordingly.”
If you’re looking to embrace yourself as your life partner, take a look at these tips to inspire that relationship.
Defy societal wrath on singlism
Many people describe the biggest hurdle to overcome in not having a partner are other people’s views. From judgmental family members, to the “plus one” on an invitation, there are constant reminders in everyday life to make you question if you’re living the right way and leave you mentally exhausted.
Here’s a reminder that your way of living is not uncommon. Data shows that 40 percent of households in Sweden, Germany, Norway, and Denmark are accounted for by singles. “Single adults are the fastest-growing demographic in recent years,” says Elyakim Kislev, who works at the School of Public Policy and Government at the Hebrew University. Learning more about the power and commonality of singlism can rid yourself of internalized stigma from society. Applying conscious effort to reject society’s false assumptions can eventually set you free.
Embark on a solo adventure
Activities like eating out in a restaurant, going to the movies, and going on a holiday may seem intimidating on your own due to the presumed judgment from others. However, a study showed that people attending an art exhibition on their own not only enjoyed the experience as much as with a companion, but also diminished their preconceived fears of outward judgment after attending. These periods of solitude may help reconnect with yourself and enjoy life on your own terms.
Reframe your outlook
Sometimes we are left single for reasons outside of our own control, leaving us unhappy. Remember, though, research shows you’ve got as much chance of being happy now than with a partner. It’s also helpful to think about your breakup in a new light during this period. There is no guarantee your life would have been happier in the long run if you had stayed together, with many couples regretting their choice of partner at some point but not having enough courage to leave.
Practice radical acceptance
You can’t change reality, but you can change the way you think about it. The best way to let go of self-defeating thoughts is acceptance through allowing yourself to feel them, but not getting carried away with wild assumptions about the future. This way your energy can remain focused on positive thoughts and practical actions that will actually change your life for the better.
Find your purpose
Reflecting on your inner goals and personal growth has been shown to leave individuals with a more fulfilled life. It may be useful to ask yourself how you want to live your life and what you want it to stand for. If you don’t know yet, that’s okay. Start small and consider what you want to achieve in the next week, day, or even hour. You will get there in the end.