How To Successfully Be Mindfully Single

After ending a relationship I'd really believed in just as the semester was finishing, I decided to be what I’ve dubbed “Mindfully Single” for the summer and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

Consciously deciding that your primary focus is going to be your personal growth is uniquely empowering, but undoubtedly comes along with some challenges. For the best results, here are my tips:

  1. 1. Create a Timeline...

    woman using laptop

    ... you can actually stick to. One of the hardest things you'll have to tackle is not throwing the towel in and the easiest way to keep yourself accountable is to have a realistic end date in sight. When I decided I wanted to give mindful singleness a try, I knew immediately I wanted to devote my summer to the experience. When I met a really sweet guy the second week, I knew immediately I wanted to say screw it and get his number. But my timeline made sense to me. It was long enough to foster real progress, yet short enough that I wouldn't feel like it was impossible to get through. Besides, I knew I didn't want my next relationship to be long-distance, so anyone I met while I wasn't in Richmond was ruled out by default.

    That's not to say you should try and just ignore any attraction you might feel while being mindfully single. In fact, do the opposite. Analyze what it is about the people you find yourself crushing on that makes you so interested in them. What's the common factor? You'll be surprised by how objective you can be when you know you're not going to let anything happen. Discovering I have a bad habit of crushing on people who are unavailable was a huge moment of realization for me and is something I wouldn't know to work on had I not stuck with it. And sticking with it is easy when you set yourself up for success. 

  2. 2. Brainstorm What It Is You Want and How You're Going to Get It

    Minh Pham

    What makes being mindfully single different than just being single? Practicing mindfulness. 

    The easiest way to gain nothing from the experience is, well, to do nothing. You need to identify what it is you're hoping to gain from the experience before starting. Do you want to get to know yourself better? Work on your self-confidence? Establish some healthy habits for when you do get back into dating? For me, it was a bit of everything.

    So, I headed to my nearest budget bookstore and invested in myself. I came home with a self-help book full of confidence-building strategies that were designed based on psychological research and a journal-book hybrid that was full of exercises to help me identify what it was concretely that I wanted to change about my habits

    If you want to be mindful of your spending, too, there are a ton of free, easy-to-find resources online. What matters is that you're putting your time and effort into actually doing the work you need to grow not how much of your paycheck you're spending on yoga classes you could find for free on YouTube.

  3. 3. Tell Your Friends 

    Women using gameboy together

    Everything is easier when you have your friends backing you up. Mindful singleness is no exception. When I told my best friends my plan for the summer, I wasn't expecting much. Maybe an "I love that for you" text and a joke or two about it later.

    They ended up giving me exactly what I needed throughout the experience: support, some tough love and a joke or two. They took me out on friend dates so I could have an excuse to dress up and feel good about myself. They kept me accountable by telling me what I needed to hear (which, sometimes, may or may not have been a "he's not even that cute, he's just tall" reality check). They also casually checked in to see if I was actually doing the exercises I told them about and they sacrificed watching rom-coms for the whole summer. 

    Telling your friends also makes it seem more official and you're going to need that boost of confidence because the off-the-market magic that happens when you're in a relationship happens too when it's you who's taking yourself off the market. Yep, expect the number of times you get hit on to skyrocket for absolutely no reason. Life is cruel like that.    

     

Trust me, next time you're in a relationship and are able to preemptively recognize you're falling into some bad patterns you'll be glad you put in the work.