By: Brijuan Phillips, LMSW
Singlehood. The thought of it can haunt us all. But as a Therapist, I find myself frequently wondering why? Why is there a stigma surrounding singlehood? Why is it that this particular relationship status is met with so much angst? In my work with clients, I find that there are a number of overwhelming and uncomfortable feelings caused by singlehood, including shame, inadequacy, disappointment, insecurity, and sadness. Emotions aren’t the only example of discomfort embedded in the idea of singlehood, though. Singlehood triggers the following fears:
- Fear of loneliness; the discomfort with not having anyone to share space, ideas, and life experiences with.
- Fear of judgment. Society pressures us into partnership. The mass majority of us love the idea of having our person along with our thriving careers, the house, the dog, and the kids. We create these false narratives of what life should look like for many reasons–maybe childhood traumas and added on pressures of the medias, family, etc. So we strive, strive, strive until it becomes forced. Then we become judgemental of ourselves and others when things do not pan out in the way we thought.
- Fear of becoming hyper-independent. When we have done so much on our own for so long, it can start to feel pointless to pursue partnership.
- Fear of the unknown. Some of us create this belief that since one failed relationship (or more) has happened, this could mean we are not meant for a relationship, and we may never find love again.
- Fear of lack of intimacy; no longer being able to connect mentally, emotionally, and/or physically with someone else.
All of these fears are valid, human responses. The issue is that we have grown to believe that these fears cannot be worked through and happiness is ultimately found outside of ourselves, which can be due to our own incapable self-beliefs.
So, what if we challenged our fearful and limited thinking? What if we choose to take our power back from stigmas, anxiety, fear, and societal pressures? One way we all know this can be tackled is by spending more time in solitude–in other words–embracing this season of singlehood. No longer running from it.
I know–I hear you asking “but, how?”
Keys to Singlehood
Here are some keys to mastering your season of singlehood:
Stay in the present moment.
On those solo dates or while you are home doing nothing, give yourself your full attention. Sometimes in our solitude, we think back to our most embarrassing moments; we overthink about our current place in life; we deem our journey as doomed; then, we begin to feel shameful and inadequate. When you are in solitude, it is imperative you stay in the present moment. The point of staying in the present moment is to not become lost in what was, what should be, and what could be (because we all know that ruins the moment). Be mindful of where you are at, in
the here and now, without judgment. People-watch, and maybe give a compliment to a stranger. Observe your surroundings and share gratitude for its beauty. Read a book. Go to your favorite social settings. Stay home and enjoy your own company. Notice something about yourself that you have never noticed before. Write a letter to yourself. Reflect on your career and acknowledge your achievements. Call your trusted folks and loved ones who have consistently shown love and support. Use your time wisely with an open mind.
Intentionally (and unapologetically) pour love into yourself.
We strive to be in the love space of partnership so much, yet we put ourselves in a love drought. In your season of singlehood–intentionally, actively, and unapologetically–do the things that fulfill you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Use this season to learn more about yourself. What are your hobbies in this current stage of life? What activities have you wanted to try, yet haven’t had the chance to? Are you physically healthy? Are you physically active? Are you in tune with your body–from both aspects of health and pleasure? How can you boost your awareness of bodily cues? How is your mental and emotional wellbeing? Are you filling your own cup consistently? What is your self-talk like? Are you graciously improving yourself? Are you truly loving yourself to the fullest extent? Are you capable of loving yourself as much as you want to love someone else?
Be vulnerable with yourself.
In your season of singlehood, open up to yourself and be lovingly genuine about your life. This is for you to become clear about where changes could be made. However, this does require emotional depth. Because of our traumas and experiences in life, sometimes we lose emotional connection with ourselves. It’s easier to move through the world with this idea of strength being to ignore the raw emotions and the stories behind them that are seeking attention from you. Instead of bypassing them, I wonder how much further you would get if you invited those raw emotions and their stories in.
Create joy and enjoyment.
Where could you use more joy in your life? This emphasizes the importance of always being on a journey to learn more about who you are. Besides rushing to take a chance on another person, finally take that chance on yourself. Invest in yourself. Seek what brings you joy to bring yourself out of that negative loop and more into a joyful one. This could also look like only inviting in people and experiences that influences joy and enjoyment, and setting boundaries with those who bring the opposite.
Look like (and embody) your best self.
One powerful statement that has circulated the internet states: “Visualize your best self and become them.” Discover who your best self is and take inventory of whether you are representing that. Invest in yourself and fine tune your character. Change what you do not like on the inside and outside. Revisit your core values to become who you aspire to be. These are steps to take to release that surface-level self-love and finally replenish yourself with the real deal from within.
What Is Your Season of Singlehood Signaling?
We, individually, are in our season of singlehood for a reason, or maybe for none at all. Whichever the case–utilize your season productively. Remain open to more self-love, self-discovery, and/or comfortability with solitude.
How BeWELL Can Help
Resources, such as psychotherapy, would be helpful in this season to further support you in unpacking:
◆ How can we create peace, comfort, and fun within your life?
◆ How can we envision a season of singlehood with less anxiety and more contentment?
◆ What are your confidence levels surrounding solitude and being single?
◆ How can you incorporate more patience in your life?
◆ How can we lovingly manage the emotions that come up?
◆ What is your idea of self-worth? Is it attached to being chosen by someone else?
Consider how much you have been living according to unnecessary standards. Peace, comfort, fun, confidence, and patience are things that are to be discovered within. You and a Therapist (maybe, me *raises hand*) can explore the possible resistance and blockage getting in the way of your full potential in your season of singlehood. We can explore learning how to quiet the noise of society and de-center romantic partnership to allow yourself to take center stage for once. Perhaps you are carrying an outlook, perspective, or standard that really isn’t yours to carry. Yes–thriving in romance is cute. Yes–we need each other for human connection, but what is also acceptable is being okay with your solitude regardless. What is also acceptable is loving those who are here with you, right now, at this very moment. We put ourselves in unnecessary pain looking so far ahead into the future, and furthermore, forcing connections for a feeling and understanding that has been within us this whole time. Now is your time to change the narrative and thrive in your season of singlehood. You are enough as you are, and on your own.