As young adults, it may seem like everyone we know is either in a relationship and/or starting a family, and all this exposure to the lovey-dovey life makes you wonder if wedding bells are in your near future as well. If you’re single, the thought of being in an exclusive relationship with, “The One” either excites you or repulses you.
We’re regularly exposed to the romantic experience; whether it’d be through the frustrating antics on The Bachelor, or finding out So-And-So got engaged via Facebook, love is all around us. As college students, we’re already juggling classes, campus organizations, part-time jobs, and dream internships. Maybe you simply don’t have time for a committed relationship, or maybe you can’t possibly fathom sharing a place with someone who isn’t as clean as you. Whatever the reason for your single lifestyle, it’s important to fall in love with yourself before falling for someone else.
Think about it: when was the last time you did anything special for yourself? And no, I’m not just talking about treating yourself to Starbucks for the smallest reason (even though that is the ultimate treat). Have you ever dressed up for yourself, or bought yourself a bouquet of flowers just because? Why wait around for someone to do cute things for you? The answer is simple, but not a lot of us realize that you don’t have to wait around for it. We are completely capable of going the extra mile for ourselves. However, dating culture inadvertently sets the stigma that only a partner can do all of those things for us. Bzzz! Wrong answer. You can enjoy the single life while also learning and exploring your love languages.
TikTok creators have recently put a spotlight on the concept of dating and falling in love with yourself, so there are a ton of videos on the app that gives advice on how to do it. Personally, I’ve been obsessed with this content, and I’ve been applying all the tips to my life recently. The verdict? I’ve never been this happy being single in contrast to past relationships, and that’s saying a lot. Inspired by The Five Love Languages series by Gary Chapman, Ph.D., here are a few ways that you can feel the same!
Words of Affirmation
How often do you find yourself applauding your achievements? Even the small victories, like making your bed or remembering to read a chapter from your textbook, deserve some praise. Learn how to reward yourself with positive words of affirmation. It can be a simple, “You got this!” before a dreaded 8-hour shift. We often get so caught up in our daily lives, that we forget to tell ourselves that we’re enough. Even if you forget, I’m here to remind you: you’re amazing, and you’re going to do great things!
Gifts, Gifts, Gifts!
Although it’s convenient, keeps you productive, and tastes amazing, Starbucks shouldn’t be the only treat you gift yourself! Being in a relationship comes with the inevitable perk of gift-giving, but why expect flowers and candy in the form of, “I’m sorry” when you can give yourself those things just for being single and awesome? Buy those boots you’ve been eyeballing after a stressful week, or get that adorable stuffed animal you saw during your late-night Walmart run.
Get Cute and Dolled Up For Any Occasion
Even for someone like me who loves fashion, I understand those days where you just want to wear an oversized hoodie and biker shorts to class because you’re too tired to put any effort into an outfit. But have you ever been so bored that you just started doing your hair and makeup for no reason? Yeah, let’s normalize that. While dabbling in makeup and getting ourselves dolled up doesn’t solely define our beauty, it sure as heck makes us feel like the, “It Girl” sometimes. But we should feel that way all the time! I triple dog dare you to dress to the nines the next time you go to H-E-B or class. It may feel silly now, but we tend to feel our best when we look our best. So work it!
Take Yourself Out Whenever You Can
Not all of us can afford to dine at a five-star restaurant on a school night, but you have options for this one! It’s easy to see a cool exhibit or event in the city on Instagram and think, “That would be such a cute date idea…too bad I don’t have anyone to take me.” Girl…if you’ve learned anything at this point, you can already guess what I have to say about that. Take yourself…duh! First of all, never pass up an incredible photo-op just because you don’t have a significant other to go with you. Never pass up any opportunity because you’re single. Enjoy the solitude and learn to enjoy your own company when you’re out and about. Sitting in a restaurant alone may seem intimidating, but it’s honestly freeing, especially when you get dressed up for it. If you’re not completely comfortable with this strategy, you can also do this with your bestie!
This last piece of advice is the most sentimental. It’s tough seeking love in a relationship if you don’t also love yourself. Take this time to figure yourself out and fall in love with the parts of yourself that you already know. When we’re unsure of ourselves, we tend to seek out second opinions from others, and this happens all too often in unstable relationships riddled with insecurity. But when you’re confident with who you are, it becomes a non-negotiable in a relationship. If you love your body, you won’t let anyone else tell you otherwise, and you’ll be able to weed out the bad apples that try to come into your life. The young, single years of our lives should be spent cultivating the versions of ourselves that we absolutely adore. Discover new hobbies that you excel in, know what makes you happy and what peeves you, and unapologetically live your best life with conviction.
Don’t get me wrong, it genuinely makes me happy when friends I went to school with post ultrasounds, wedding photoshoots, and pictures with their significant other on social media. However, I’m also equally content that I currently can’t relate to any of those milestones, and that’s because this is the point in my life where I’m focusing on myself at the top of the list. And honestly, it should be at the top of yours too. Being single when everyone else around you is falling in love with their partner gives you adequate time to fall in love with yourself.
So embrace the bachelorette life with open arms, and most importantly, have fun!