Okay, so, you’re single. Maybe this is a new thing for you, maybe you’ve been single your entire life (like me). Either way, you may be asking yourself, “Why? What’s wrong with me?”

First of all, nothing is wrong with you. Relationships are tricky, unpredictable, complicated and every single one is different. Building quality relationships requires that people get to know each other and knowing someone often entails finding out that they’re, as Meredith Grey would say, “dark and twisty” (shout out to Grey’s Anatomy).

As most people do, you have a past that has shaped you into the person you are today. Different trials and experiences can often lead to impairment in the relationship and dating department. If you’re like me, you may be a walking contradiction in a lot of ways.

You may often have difficulty communicating your feelings adequately with a habit of letting them bottle up and explode. You may be complicated and hard to understand. It’s hard to show you love because you may not be sure how to accept it.

With all that being said, you may be hard to love but that’s not the reason you’re single. You’ve been hurt in the past but it has given you growth. You know what you want and what you deserve and you shouldn’t settle for or accept anything less. You’re single because you have yet to find the person who meets these expectations and there is nothing wrong with not settling.

Why waste your time in a relationship going nowhere? Life is too short for that. The time you spend now, being single, will allow you to continue growing into a better you, without the added difficulty of being in a relationship simultaneously. When you have the opportunity to grow independent of another person, you are free to grow immense and beautiful.

Imagine two oak tree saplings. If they are planted too close together then the competition for resources results in their loss of the ability to grow as big or as tall as they could have been had they been planted with some distance. Let your roots extend deep, your branches reach far and grow so tall you reach the sky. The more that you learn about yourself, the better you will be able to know and love someone else.

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me why I’m still single I swear I’d be a billionaire by now but how do you answer this question?

I know the answer, I’m hard to love, I’ve been hurt and it’s complicated but no one wants to hear that so I normally just say, “Just haven’t found the right person.” This is, to some extent, true. I just haven’t found someone that wants the same things and is willing to work for and with me.

This is not a bad thing though because I would much rather be single than to settle into a dead-end relationship. Our society shames being single which is ridiculous because pitying those that are not in relationships is a gross underestimate of what these people have to offer.

If you’re single and allowing yourself to grow independently, you’re putting yourself at a distinct advantage in your future relationships. Learning what you need, want and expect from a significant other ensures that you will not accept any treatment less than what you deserve, the best.

Be secure in your independence and use the time to learn more about yourself. Your past may have left you hard to love at times but it also made your love an incredibly special gift because it is one that must be earned. When you find the person that is willing to do what it takes, you will find that all this waiting was well worth it.