How to be Single and Satisfied!

As soon as January rolls around, I exuberantly welcome the beginning of the end of cuffing season. Sure, Valentine’s Day is nearing, but nothing beats no longer hearing “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey. This has been the centerpiece Christmas song for as long as I can remember. While I cannot deny that it’s an undeniable bop, there is something increasingly bothersome about its overall message.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been broken up with during the holidays. Maybe it’s simply because I’m growing older. Maybe it’s because I’m tired of women being told they need a man to be complete. But I just cannot roll with the collective desire (or perhaps need) for relationships.

Upon closer examination, I have found that it isn't even a real relationship people want. That sounds wild, but the more I look at all the popular posts on Twitter rehashing the same exact message of "I'm lonely, does anyone want to admit they're in love with me?" in different formats, the more I realize that all they want is validation. People want someone (anyone) to unconditionally love them to fill the absence of their own self-love

“Do you like yourself when no one’s liking?” This question, asked by Chidera Eggerue in her TEDxTalk, left me speechless. As a person who almost never stops talking, this is a big deal. Nowadays, we have the instant feedback of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people at a time. It is maddening. I’ve had countless friends delete Instagram posts if they didn’t get a certain amount of likes within an hour of posting. Do you like yourself when no one’s liking? Unfortunately, I believe the answer for a lot of people is a cold, resounding "no." This is truly a concern for me.

In this presentation and in her book What a Time to be Alone, Chidera examines the value of being alone. Not feeling lonely, but being alone. Often times, people associate the two as one and the same; however, Chidera would beg to differ. Her whole ideology is that she wants people to enjoy their own individual company without the validation of others. When left with our own thoughts, are we content with who we are? I've taken this concept under my wing for the past year, and I cannot express how truly rewarding it's been.

The secret to being single and satisfied is spending time with yourself intentionally. Build a relationship with yourself just as you would with another person. Learn about who you are, what you like, and what your needs are. Then, try to attain what you need and want for yourself. It's not always easy, of course. In the face of rejection or failure, it's hard not to wonder what's wrong with you; but part of having a true friendship with yourself is not being hard on yourself. You would never tell a friend that a failure or rejection defines them, so why would you tell yourself that? If you end up stumbling along your journey, know that these obstacles are just lessons in disguise. That boy who ghosted you? Just a trial to teach you that you could do better than someone who refuses to communicate with you. The C you got on your exam? A grade merely tells you how well you performed with a certain set of questions, not how well your intelligence performs in life. Learn from these roadblocks and always choose growth over long-term wallowing. (Doesn't hurt to throw in a pint of your favorite Ben and Jerry's ice cream and some crying, though. Even titans like you aren't invincible to feeling hurt.)

I reached a point in my self-love journey where being alone was preferable to vying for validation either in-person or on social media. I no longer felt the need to rely on others to tell me I was worthy of love. This doesn't mean I'm anti-friendship or anti-reassurance. Rather, I'm just more comfortable with myself when I'm alone, so I don't feel a looming absence when my friends and family aren't there. Also, it's easier to be vulnerable when they are around, because I've made peace on my own time with my emotions. Now that I've reached this clarity for myself, I want this same freedom for those around me. I challenge everyone to ask themselves on a regular basis, "Do I like myself when no one's liking?" My hope is that more and more often, you find yourself saying, "YES."

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