With the most romantic (or loneliest) day of the year behind us, many young people are left feeling hopeless about the state of their love lives. The social stigma that comes with being alone is only magnified through the winter months, culminating in a Valentine’s Day that seems to serve only one purpose—reminding you that you are alone. Much of our society is built around other peoples’ perceptions of us, often in relation to other people. We are judged by the type of significant others we have, how many we have, and the type and number of friends we have. Young people commonly identify their worth with the relationships they have—they think if you’re single, it must be because you’re not worth anyone’s love and attention. It’s easy to feel like being single is a punishment, rather than a choice you can make for yourself. Learning to choose yourself over any temporary satisfaction that comes from another person gives a new strength to being single.
The original title for this article was The Power of Choosing to Stay Single, but in the midst of its writing, it became clear that it is about so much more than being single. Choosing yourself is choosing empowerment and self-love above all else. It can include being single, but choosing to stay single is still about other people. Choosing yourself doesn’t mean being selfish, it doesn’t mean never giving to others, and it doesn’t mean you have to be alone. You can be a giving and loving person, while maintaining the perspective that YOUR life should be filled with things that make YOU happy. It’s about loving yourself enough to recognize your value, and choosing people that understand and match that sense of value.
When you spend time alone, you begin to redefine the things that are important to you. When you’re not putting time and energy into another person, you have time to pursue things that make you happy and discover new things about yourself. Not everyone is worthy of your time and energy and that’s not necessarily a reflection on them. You may have a good time on a date with a nice person, but it doesn’t mean they’re a person worth hours of time spent thinking about them, or worth the time it takes to create a healthy relationship.
Selecting who you’re going to put time and energy towards can be thought of in relation to the economic principle of opportunity cost. Opportunity cost takes into account the actual cost of the item (spending time with another person in this case, let’s say 3 hours spent on a date), as well as the time spent on yourself that you’re missing out on by choosing that activity over another (3 hours spent reading, getting some retail therapy, or whatever else you might have done instead). This line of thinking begins to put into perspective whether something is really worth the cost (your precious time), or if you would benefit more from investing your time in yourself. Even if you don’t get economics, you know when someone makes you happy enough to be worth getting out of your bubble bath and putting on real clothes to spend time with them.
Actively choosing yourself is a difficult thing to do. It’s an adult thing to do. It’s an extremely personal and subjective decision. Ultimately, it’s just the idea that your personal happiness should be at the top of your list of priorities. If a person doesn’t serve you in some way and contribute positively to your life, you’re better off without them. When you put positive energy into bettering yourself and focus on that, positive things and people will be drawn to you. Let your girl power shine, and never settle for less than you know you deserve.
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