One thing you'll learn when you're solo? How awesome you really are.
In a world where everyone celebrates engagements, weddings, anniversaries and other relationship-centered milestones, the private lives of those who are not married or in a relationship are often pushed to the wayside. Not this time — it's National Singles Week. Also known as Unmarried and Single Americans Week, this holiday was started in the 1980s by the Buckeye Singles Council in Ohio. It's meant to commemorate single individuals and celebrate their contributions to society because, hey, we matter too!
In honor of National Singles Week, read on to discover important lessons and tips from singles to help you live your best single life.
Lesson 1: There's No Shame In Being Single
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 103 million unmarried individuals living in the U.S. — that's over 44 percent of the U.S. population of adults 18 or older! Still, many singles feel shame or apprehension about their single classification due to the stigma society still places on people who are single. Mandy Hale, author and creator of The Single Woman blog, agrees. "Because of the negative connotations about single life and the pressure society puts on singles to get married NOW," she says, "a lot of singles are stuck in this place of feeling flawed or isolated or misunderstood and it's hard to keep a positive mindset in that sort of situation. This is exactly why I wrote my book, The Single Woman, to give women (and yes, even men) permission to feel good about their lives and to celebrate their single season rather than mourn it." So be proud of where you are, no matter what stage of life or love you are in.
Lesson 2: Rediscovering Yourself Is Healthy
Being single is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with someone special that you may have been neglecting: yourself. "I think singles are able to truly get to know themselves without the distractions of others," says Justina, 31. Indeed, getting in touch with your core self is not only vital to your own stability and well being, but to your ability to foster romantic relationships in the future. Hale advises, "You have the opportunity to figure out who you are and what direction you want your life to go before inviting someone to join you in it."
Lesson 3: Being Free Affects Your Time, Money And Space
Hale says time, freedom and space are the three biggest perks to being single. Mary agrees. "The biggest benefit of being single is the freedom to do what you want, spend time and money how you want to, and make plans on both a large and small scale that you want to make" she says. "Being in a serious relationship, you can’t make those decisions on your own, nor should you."
Lesson 4: You're Contantly Growing
Hale draws upon her own personal experience in reflecting on how being single has helped her grow. "Having the opportunity to get to know myself and see how brave and strong I really am has been such a special part of single life," she says. "Singles get to grow in a completely different way and direction than our married counterparts, and we're kind of forced to face the world head-on and deal with challenges and face difficulties and obstacles on our own … It's nice to be reminded of your independence, and to realize that you can take care of yourself and you can live a big, brave, bold life and be free to invite people into your life because you WANT them there and not because you NEED them there."
Lesson 5: Loneliness Is Only Temporary — And It's Not Just For Singles
Sometimes for those of us who are single, the loneliness is palpable. "Being the only one of your friends or family without that special someone, sometimes really gets to you," admits Mary. "And, the wedding invitations sent to you and you alone — ouch!" If you're single and feeling lonely, accept that it’s a part of your journey right now and remember that the feeling always fades. Then call a friend, join a community organizing group, or consider getting a pet. Remember, even people who are in relationships can still feel alone and no one's life is all hearts and flowers (regardless of what their Facebook page says).
Lesson 6: You'll Learn How To Strengthen Other Meaningful Relationships
One perk of being unattached? You have a healthier social life. Researchers found that both men and women spent less time with friends and family than they did when they were single. "Being single can be lonely, but strong friendships and relationships with family help me every day," says Ann. Mary describes her single life as being a web of emotions, causing her feel both happy and sad, independent, but lonely, and grateful, but excluded, all at the same time. Her other relationships are the silver lining. "I've learned to enjoy my own company," she says, "and I've learned that my friendships and family mean the world to me." Use this time to strengthen the bond with your family and friends and form new relationships.
Lesson 7: You'll Realize How Amazing You Really Are
When you're swinging solo, you not only take the time to figure out what you want — you also recognize what you deserve. For Natalie, 27, being single made her realize how awesome she was. "I've seen too many people get comfortable and settle. I want to get comfortable and settle with someone who deserves it, and is just as crazy about me as I am about them. Being single has allowed me to see what a great catch I am, and I appreciate those other great catches even more." Andrea, 30, agrees. "You really get to know yourself and what you want, don't want, and what you're looking for," she says.
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