“Life is not about the material things we cherish or the people we know, it’s about the journey we embark on and the knowledge and love we gain along the way. Single doesn’t have to be a road block on that journey.”
Being single is hard. I’m talking unbuckling a car seat with prosthetic nails hard! If you don’t understand, wait until you have kids or deal with them and you will. It’s hard but it’s not impossible. Love is the purest and ancient form of energy we know. From the moment we hear, “Daddy loves you princess”, or from the moment we have our first kiss, it becomes the goal to find the man of our dreams. The stigma that comes along with being single, however, is that we treat it as an in-between stage. Single is a stage all on its own and it is one of the most challenging stages to conquer.
If you’re single, people either assume that you just got out of a relationship and are looking for another one immediately, or that something must be wrong with you…or both. I’ve heard it all before, “I don’t know how you’re single, you must be crazy!” Or my favorite, “You don’t want a man? Oh, that’s just because you ain’t met a real one yet!” *Inserts eye roll.* All of these things cause us to expedite the process before we are truly ready, which then leads us to hop into relationships that are not beneficial to us. There are two major steps that get overlooked but are the key to unlocking successful singleness.
Step 1: Self-Discovery
This step is so crucial that it has caused me to no longer say “I’m single.” Now, I say “I’m self-loving.” This step is all about self-discovery. How many times have you gone on a date and when the question, “So, tell me about yourself” comes up, you get choked up faster than eating a Popeyes biscuit with no water? That’s because you didn’t spend time getting to know yourself in the single stage. You are forever evolving and growing and to assume that you know yourself just because you spend 24 hours of the day with yourself is detrimental. If your mind isn’t focused on the right things, then you learn nothing from those 24 hours.
Self-love is more than just being okay with what’s on the outside. Self-love is knowing what makes you different on the inside and loving those differences. It takes a lot of nights spent alone. It takes a lot of questions that may be hard to answer. It’s also filled with a lot of revelations and a new-found confidence.
How can you tell a man what you like and dislike when you’re unsure yourself? Take time to indulge in things you enjoy. Go on that solo date! Get your nails and hair done! Create that vision board! Once you learn to love your own company, the codependency for outside company begins to fade. You begin to become self-aware and confident in exactly what you want. This lets you know you’re ready for step two.
Step 2: The Grocery List of What You Want
Once you’ve become knowledgeable in who you are, this makes step two ten times easier. Step two is what I like to refer to as “The Grocery List”. A wise woman once said, “Dating with no expectations is like going to the grocery store with no list, you’ll just pick up anything.” As a result of you spending so much time getting to know the ins and outs of yourself in step one, the person that you allow into that space in step two must be complementary to the things that make you ‘you’.
There’s no such thing as the perfect man. Lists that sound like “6’7, brown hair, 6 figures, and owns everything” create unrealistic expectations. A man could possess all those qualities and still not be compatible with you. You must figure out what you value, what are you willing to work with and what are your deal breakers.
Make a mental or physical list of the things that you are looking for that will help you grow into a better person. For example, the things on my list are things that I value and would want my partner to value as well. Some of those include honesty, a relationship with God, good money management, and understanding. Those are just a few of things that I look for when meeting someone new. The list doesn’t have to be set in stone but it’s important to know what you are and aren’t willing to budge on.
Once you have zoned in on the things you need, it makes it less dreadful to embark on a new journey with someone. These things can now mold the conversations you have during your singleness and even shed light on the dangerous paths that would have otherwise been a mystery. This method doesn’t just apply to your dating life, apply it to your friendships and partnerships as well.
Life is not about the material things we cherish or the people we know, it’s about the journey we embark on and the knowledge and love we gain along the way. Single doesn’t have to be a roadblock on that journey. By taking these steps, singleness can go from feeling like a punishment to feeling like a privilege.
You are a marvelous creation of God and the prize does not lie in a man finally realizing that. The true prize is the moment you realize it and begin to walk in it.