There's Nothing Wrong With Being Single, So Embrace It

There's Nothing Wrong With Embracing Your Singleness

Being single is a place of focusing your attention on yourself, not a sitting area while you wait for your significant other.

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First and Foremost

Everyone's view on being single is unique to them. My job here isn't to persuade anyone to think the way I think. I want to share my beliefs and thoughts about this topic because it's important to me.

For a long time, I had a skewed mindset about being single. So if I can, I'd like to shed some light on a topic that's usually talked about in a negative context. My opinion about singleness has changed throughout the years, influenced by numerous relationships, my spirituality, and accepting myself.

Backstory

When I think about how my personal experiences have shaped the way I look at being single, I feel as if I have three different experiences.

I first viewed singleness like a sitting area while I wait for my significant other to come through the door and call my name. This time of singleness came before I had any relationship experience. I was in high school, focusing on school, basketball, and friends.

But my mindset about being single was extremely negative. I thought that since I didn't have a boyfriend or no one was interested in me, there was something wrong with me and I just had to wait for a guy to pick up interest. Now when I look back, it was a weird and unhealthy place to be in.

The second story is sad, depressing, and the result of my first breakup. During that time, I was miserable and couldn't understand why anyone would want to be in that position. It's funny: before I ever had a boyfriend, I was never this sad and unhappy. But being in a relationship, breaking up, or doing anything for the first time can change your entire perspective on that thing, which is what happened to me.

The third experience is the one I'm in right now. I can honestly say I'm living my best life. My Christianity has heavily influenced my current mindset about singleness. I came out of a relationship and into a great place of freedom, security, and happiness. I understand that my being single is not a bad thing, nor is it a place to go out searching for someone else who will be there to fill the times I may be lonely.

Being single is a label, not who you are.

Don't get it twisted - being single does not define you! It's not something you need to point out to everyone you meet or use as a characteristic when you describe yourself. I made the huge mistake of thinking that because I'm single, it's something people need to know because that's just who I am now. But it's not.

Just like when it comes to putting so much meaning behind labels like "boyfriends" and "girlfriends," the same thing happens with the word "single." Sure, you can bring it up if you're actively getting into a relationship or dating, but it's not something the changes your personality. You should be yourself whether or not you're single or in a relationship.

Your singleness is a special time for you and you only.

I cannot stress this enough. There are so many pressures and stereotypes that circle around what a guy or girl should do while they're single. Some say being single is a time for exploring your sexuality and finding what you really like, while others say it's the time for dating and sleeping around. And some say singleness is a time to try every risky opportunity you can before you settle down.

I disagree with all of these. Being single is a learning process. Whether you come at it from different stories like I did or you've embraced it from the start, being single is time for you to dive deeper into who you are as a person, alone.

Find your strengths, weaknesses, and everything in between. Set standards and boundaries for yourself for the people you're going to meet in the future. Become a strong, independent person for your goals, wants, and needs. Stand up for yourself when you face hardships and work them out. Find people who genuinely love you and have your best interest at heart.

All in all, the choices you make during your singleness should benefit you extensively. You aren't responsible for anyone else except yourself and that kind of freedom is unmatched.

My religion has definitely influenced my perspective on singleness.

My opinion on being single may be different from other people due to my faith and what I believe in. According to my spirituality, singleness is not just a time for you. It's also a time for you and God.

Having the time while you're single to focus on your personal relationship with God is extremely important. It makes sense to focus our freedom on the person who set us free from the beginning. With God on your side during your singleness, it allows you to stay on the right track and do all of the things I mentioned above.

But in reality, it is hard for us to always do the right things and not make bad decisions. We're human and it's inevitable. However, there's a way that's been carefully designed and created to help us: the word of God.

The way I see myself as a single Christian is amazing. I'm not worried about what my future holds or the downfalls I may experience in my life. Why? Cause God's got me. Yes, I have my moments where my faith is low and I sin or mess up and find myself more lost than I was before. But there's beauty in that too. There's hope in the messing up because I know God forgives and can wipe my plate clean.

Before you get it mixed up though, this isn't like a free pass to do whatever I want, whenever I want. That's not how God intended forgiveness and repentance. God wants us to know that the plan He has for us relationship-wise is already taken care of. As long as we live according to Him, which to be honest is a great and safe way to live, He has our best interest heart and will love, protect, and care for us no matter what.

(You may have noticed how I haven't talked about all the things that could go wrong when you're single. That's a long conversation for a whole other article.)

Being single is not a bad thing. It's a time for you, to learn who you are and what you want from life. Embrace that.

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48 Of The Best Catholic Mass Songs

Check out this list of some of my favorites!
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I love to sing.

But, I am very bad at singing. One thing I love about Mass is that I get to sing as loud and as terrible as I want, and that is a beautiful thing. I've compiled a list of what was originally going to be 10 of my favorite songs to sing at Mass, but as you can see, my list quickly became 5 times longer. Enjoy!


1. "All are Welcome"

A great reminder that we are to love our neighbors, no matter how different we are.

2. "All is Well With My Soul"

A refreshing reminder that God forgives our sins, and we are in good hands.

3."Amazing Grace"

A classic, powerful song that shows just how much grace means to us.

4. "Ave Maria"

A beautiful song honoring the Virgin Mary, a role model for all women.

5. "Be Not Afraid"

A reminder that no matter what we're going through, God is with us through it all.

6. "Blest Are They"

A guide on how to live out the Beatitudes.

7. "Canticle of the Sun"

A joyful tribute to God's Creation.

8. "Center of My Life"

A reminder to put God first, a reminder which is always necessary in this materialistic and egocentric world.

9. "Change Our Hearts"

An uplifting song reminding us that God saves even the most disobedient of his people if they give their hearts to Him.

10. "Christ Be Our Light"

A classic song that reminds us even in our darkest of days, Christ will light the path.

11. "City of God"

A song inspiring the building of God's Kingdom- something we should strive to do as Christians.

12. "Come Back to Me"

A song all about repentance and forgiveness- God is waiting for us with open arms every time we fail him.

13. "Companions on the Journey"

A reminder that we are not alone in our journey to spread the Good News, and we can work together to spread His Word.

14. "Eye Has Not Seen"

A reminder of the joy and happiness that awaits us in Heaven.

15. "Fly Like a Bird"

A comforting song reminding us that we will always be in God's care.

16. "For the Beauty of the Earth"

A song that captures the essence of how wondrous Creation is.

17. "Glory and Praise to Our God"

A song full of thanksgiving and praise to God who showers us with blessings every day.

18. "Go Out Go Out"

One of the favorites at my school- essentially a "pump up" song to go spread the Gospel.

19. "Here I am Lord"

A encouraging song, inspiring us to serve the Lord with all the talents we have.

20. "Here I am to Worship"

One of my all time favorite gathering songs that inspire me to give all the glory to God.

21. "How Can I Keep From Singing"

A reminder that God's works are wondrous and He is deserving of all our praise.

22. "How Great Thou Art"

A classic song inspiring us to look around and see God in everything and everyone.

23. "I Am the Bread of Life"

A comforting song telling us that if we live our lives in Christ, we will be reunited with God when death comes.

24. "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"

A song that tells us Jesus is alive, and He has redeemed us by his death.

25. "I Will Choose Christ"

A song inspiring us to recommit ourselves to Christ each and every day.

26. "In Every Age"

A reminder of the timelessness of God- He has always been there, and He will always be there for us.

27. "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today"

An Easter song which joyfully celebrates the Resurrection and the defeat of death.

28. "Lead Me Lord"


A reminder that if we seek God, He will lead us.

29. "Let There Be Peace On Earth"

Always a song that inspires us to act for justice and peace among all people.

30. "Like a Shepherd"

A reminder that God cares for us as his own because we are his own.

31. "Litany of Saints"

A beautiful song, often sang on Easter, in which we ask the Saints to intercede for us.

32. "Lord of All Hopefulness"

A prayer asking God for the strength to get through the day.

33. "Loving and Forgiving"

A reminder that God is always wanting to forgive us of our wrongdoing and heal our pain.

34. "Only a Shadow"

A reminder that we have seen just a glimpse of the love God has for us, and there is much more in store for us.

35. "On Eagle's Wings"

One of the saddest, yet happiest songs of all time- although we die, we will be raised up and be with Him forever.

36. "Our God is Here"

A reminder of the true presence of God in all things.

37. "Prayer of St. Francis"

A beautiful song that makes the prayer feel even more powerful.

38. "Rain Down"

A reminder of the endless love of God.

39. "Roll Away the Stone"

My favorite Easter song of all time. HE IS RISEN!

40. "Shepherd Me O God"

A popular song serving as a reminder to put our wants aside and follow God's will.

41. "Sing to the Mountains"

A song of thanksgiving to God for the abounding gifts he has bestowed on us.

42. "The Summons"

A great song for those who are discerning their calling.

43. "Ubi Caritas"

A song all about the love of Christ.

44. "Unless a Grain of Wheat"

A reminder that without God we have no life.

44. "We Are Called"

A call to service and justice.

45. "We Are Many Parts"

A reminder that although we are many people, we are all part of the Body of Christ, and we all need to work toward peace together.

46. "You Alone"

A reminder of how although we are undeserving, God still loves us and should be praised.

47. "You Are Mine"

God has called us each by name- He knows YOUR name, and you belong to Him.

48. "Your Grace Is Enough"

A necessary reminder that God IS more than enough for us! We don't need to be consumed with this world because we have HIM, and an eternity of happiness awaits.


Singing, although I am terrible at it, has really improved my prayer life. It could do the same for you!

Cover Image Credit: Allie Daniel

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My Experience Falling For A Straight Guy And What It Taught Me

If you've ever fallen for a straight guy, I'm here to say you're not alone.

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Unrequited love is part of the human experience. It doesn't really matter if you're gay, straight, or bisexual. Everyone has cared for someone who didn't reciprocate those feelings. Some people even become drawn specifically to what they can't have. Since we can't control our feelings, it's inevitable that we would eventually meet someone who didn't share those feelings.

For gay men, most of us came of age in an environment where other gay kids were either closeted or nonexistent. I'm not sure if things are easier for gay youth today, but dating wasn't an option for me in high school. So I don't see how I couldn't have fallen for straight guys as a teenager. This is something I (and so many other gay men) know all too well. They were really the only guys our age that we were exposed to.

I always thought that once high school ended, these heartbreaking crushes on straight guys would end as well. But I was wrong. My most recent experience came a few years ago. I had just ended a six month long period of back and forth with a guy I went on a couple of dates with. The good news is, we've stayed friends. The bad news is, it wasn't the right time for either of us to be together.

I was online one day and came across a video of this musician on YouTube. We'll call him Mike. Mike was singing and playing guitar in some parts of the video. In other parts of the video, he was giving an interview. I was immediately struck by his good looks. I was also struck by his apparent shyness and introverted nature. Despite his quiet demeanor, he was so talented as a singer and musician. I also developed an admiration for his songwriting skills.

A crush soon developed, because I identified with him. I could relate to his quiet nature with his creative spark still yearning to get out. It was a juxtaposition I felt I understood. I decided to send Mike an Instagram message telling him I enjoyed his work. When he didn't respond, I decided to reach out on Facebook instead. I also took it upon myself to ask about any upcoming performances. I wanted to meet him in person. Mike responded thanking me for the compliment and directing me to his website with information on his shows.

I feel it's important to note that my crush wasn't akin to a teenager obsessed over a celebrity heartthrob. Mike wasn't famous and didn't appear to live a rock star lifestyle. He was an independent artist who performed at local bars and seemed very approachable. I felt like this was a guy who I could possibly bond with. Of course, I wanted something more than friendship, but I was also aware that I haven't even met him yet. I didn't want to get too ahead of myself.

Over the next few months, I sent him a few other Facebook messages to which I received no response. Two of them were simple, "Hi, how are you doing?" messages. The other one was a song I wanted to share with him since we're both music lovers. I wanted to develop a bond with him but was curious as to why he was ignoring me. I sent him an email asking if he received my messages. He responded telling me he doesn't like to use the internet to chat.

I should've gotten my first clue when he ignored my Facebook messages. I should've taken the hint when I read his response to my email. However, I was so deep in my crush that I made up an excuse. I thought, "Oh, he just doesn't want to chat on Facebook. He probably prefers to talk in person. If I send him letters via email, maybe that would be more his style."

I knew Mike had a show coming up, but I wasn't sure if I should go. Even though I wanted to believe his email was to be taken literally, a part of me knew what he really meant. I asked a friend for advice and she encouraged me to go. She said, "He might be friendlier in person. Who knows?" So, I took her advice and went to three of his shows.

All three shows were great. We didn't get to say much more than "Hi" to each other at the first show since he was so busy. However, I did notice that he was standing close to a particular girl most of the night. I soon realized this was his girlfriend. Surprisingly, I wasn't that disappointed. It didn't discourage me from trying to pursue a friendship with him.

I never wanted to come in between the two of them. But I still wanted to give friendship a try. A part of me thought that maybe they would break up for reasons unrelated to me and I would have a chance with him. However, a stronger part of me was more realistic. After all, who knows what could've happened? We could've gotten so close as friends, that viewing him in a romantic way may have felt weird. He could've revealed himself to be a totally different person than what I envisioned and my feelings may have deteriorated. Maybe I would've been turned off from being around him completely.

Of course, I'm also aware that my feelings could've grown stronger and it would've been too painful. If that was the case, I would've come clean about my feelings and ended the friendship. But I never had a past experience to compare it to. Friendship with a straight crush was never an opportunity that presented itself to me. Hence why I at least wanted to give it a chance. But I would never get that chance.

We talked a bit more at the second show, but it amounted to no more than small talk. His friends and fellow performers soon arrived. They commanded his attention more than I did. Still, he was very friendly and introduced me to some people. After the show, I felt like I was on cloud nine. Now that he spent some (albeit brief) time with me and seemed very welcoming, it felt like we reached a new level. It seemed like we got past the awkwardness of only communicating online.

At the third show, however, things felt very different. I purposefully arrived an hour early so we could actually talk. However, Mike didn't arrive until a mere 15 minutes before showtime. He immediately got out his instrument and started practicing. I realized this wasn't the time to talk. I didn't want to disturb him. So, I sat and watched the show. He did a great job and I enjoyed it. But whenever he had breaks in between sets, he would talk to his girlfriend. Again, I didn't feel it would be appropriate to interrupt.

I didn't get to talk to him the entire night. I left feeling defeated and disappointed. I planned on asking him if he wanted to hang out sometime. Since I didn't mean for it to sound like a date, I was going to include my friend in the plans. I dreaded the thought of asking him via email since it was clear to me that our online interactions were abysmal. Looking back, I can see that fact alone should've convinced me to back off. But I was so lost in my infatuation that I didn't listen. I sent the email and awaited a response.

For months to come, there was no response. I eventually sent him the same letter via Facebook. Again, months passed and I received no response. In retrospect, I see that you can't expect much from people. If someone doesn't respond the first time, you cut your losses and move on. Yes, it's incredibly rude and insulting. In fact, I feel ignoring people is even more insulting than being mean to them. However, you must hold onto a shred of dignity. But I wasn't ready to do that.

Mike had another show later that year. For whatever reason, I saw this as an opportunity to reach out again. I sent him a short letter on Facebook telling him that I wish I could make the show, even though I couldn't be there. I also wished him good luck. It was shortly afterward that he blocked me on his Facebook. He also blocked me on his Instagram.

Now, I realize that reaching out again was a dumb move on my part. However, it was incredibly frustrating to me that he handled it the way he did. He could've sent me a response at any time making it clear that he wasn't interested in my friendship. I'm sick of people ignoring others because they're afraid to hurt their feelings. Believe it or not, there is a nice way to reject someone. Instead, he chose to block me rather than answer me.

A couple of months passed and we entered a new year. I couldn't stop thinking about Mike and how things went down. I didn't want to leave things the way they were. It was clear to me now that there was no chance at friendship. But I at least wanted closure, so we could leave things on good terms. I decided to send him a lengthy email apologizing for not taking the hint sooner and clearing up my intentions. I didn't mention my crush, because I felt it was unnecessary. I went to sleep that night with no expectations of a response. Either way, I said my peace and knew that my attempt at closure was all I could control. If he didn't respond and things were left with him blocking me, oh well. At least I tried.

I woke up the next morning and saw a response from Mike. I was surprised, to say the least. I opened the email and read what he wrote. It was just one sentence thanking me for the kind note and for respecting his desire to keep to himself. I felt a sense of relief that he gave me the closure that I needed. Regardless of whether it was done out of pity or if it came from a genuine place, I was happy.

But that doesn't mean it has been easy for me to move on. I still think about Mike all the time. I don't really understand why, since I barely know him and he didn't exactly treat me very nicely. I guess sometimes people just get under our skin and there's nothing we can do about it. I'm sure I'll meet someone else down the line and move on. A fulfilling relationship has to be more powerful than an unrequited crush.

When I sent the email looking for closure, I promised Mike it would be the last time he heard from me. I wish I could say I kept that promise. However, two years after sending that email, I came across an article that said someone in his family was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. I felt terrible for Mike and wanted to reach out. I sent him an email acknowledging that I've broken my promise. However, I said I felt it would be remiss of me to not reach out after hearing the news. I wished him and his family well. I said I would be praying for a recovery. I also told him that I wasn't looking for a response from him. Which is a good thing, because I have yet to receive one.

I'm not sure if he's angry that I contacted him again or just doesn't care. Either way, I know my heart was in the right place. I know a lot of those reading this can relate to my story. One of the things I learned from my experience is to not let your heart overpower your head. It can be hard to let go and move on when someone isn't even giving us a chance at friendship. When that happens, it allows you to hold onto a version of them you've imagined in your head. This makes it even more difficult to move on.

But as I said, a fulfilling relationship has to be more powerful. I remain optimistic that when I'm ready, love will find me and I'll move on. For those of you who are in similar situations, please learn from my experience. Don't make the same mistakes I made. Look out for the clues in the beginning, because you can't expect people to be clear with you. If someone doesn't respond the first time, take the hint and move on. Know that you don't deserve to be treated that way and that person doesn't deserve your time. Know that you will eventually meet somebody else and move on. Falling for straight guys is inevitable and it happens to the best of us.

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