Seems as if everywhere I turn there is another relationship happening before my eyes. I used to ask the same question that everyone asks themselves, "What's wrong with me, why aren't I in love?"
Whether you've been in love or haven't, I'm here to tell you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you if you are currently single. Our society is focused on pressuring us to believe that we must be in a relationship, we have to focus on the future and if we're not ahead of the game of dating then we're far behind. People think that every day that they aren't in a relationship is time wasted. Honestly, it blows my mind how people think that way and that they are not fully happy unless they are in a committed relationship.
Sure, we all want that one person to tell everything to, the one person to cuddle beside and the one person to constantly post pictures with as you fall in love. I know all the love that social media and Hollywood glamorizes is constantly shoved in our faces every day. It seems that love is just surrounding everyone except you. I'm here to tell you that it's perfectly OK to be single, especially in college.
College is supposed to be the best four years of your life. It is surrounded by unforgettable memories, those lifetime friendships and way too many microwavable mac-and-cheeses to count. So why, if we don’t have to be, are we tied down during these extraordinary years of our lives? I’m not saying that it’s bad to be in a relationship, but it certainly isn't the end of the world to be single. Here are some reasons why being single in college is perfectly OK and maybe even better than being in a relationship.
1. You need to love yourself before anyone else can.
"I encourage you to fall in love, and fall hard! But, do yourself a favor and don't forget to fall in love with yourself first!" – Carrie Bradshaw
The following is an actual rule that took me a while to learn. If you look for validation and reassurance from other people, you will never love yourself fully. It's quite unlikely that just because a guy or girl compliments you that you'll fully believe it for the rest of your life.
Many of us just want to be loved. However, oftentimes we forget the most important thing to do, which is to love ourselves.
We can't expect someone to commit to us if we are not devoted to ourselves. We can't hope for someone to support us if we don’t have faith in ourselves. We can't wish for security and laughter and challenging jealous fights if we do not believe that we deserve it. If we can't be honest with our relationship then we are lying to ourselves.
We cannot expect someone else to love us if we do not love ourselves. We need to be committed to who we are individually. We need to support all of our hopes and dreams. We need to believe that we are funny if we want to make someone truly laugh. We have to learn how to take care of ourselves before we let someone else try. We need to know what we want out of an argument before we start bickering. We need to listen to ourselves. We need to take a deep breath and realize our worth and importance. We have to have confidence.
Only we can pull ourselves out of the black hole of insecurity. We have to recognize that the only person who we can depend on is ourselves. We have to like our personality. We have to recognize our weaknesses and embrace our flaws. We have to love ourselves through our mistakes, self-described imperfections and any regrets that we may have. We have to believe in who we are, always and forever. We just have to in order to keep going.
Only when we have learned to love ourselves can someone else do the same.
2. You don't need anyone to make you happy.
This point almost goes hand-in-hand with loving yourself, but you certainly don't need anyone else to make you happy other than yourself. If you're seeking happiness based on someone else, you will live such a long miserable life. You can't put your happiness into other people's hands because you will always end up getting hurt. Sure, people can make you happy, but we don't need to rely on others to bring us happiness because we can do that ourselves.
3. If you don't let go of the past, you will never appreciate the present.
For holidays such as Valentine's Day, oftentimes people begin to think of their exes and what could've been. Don't fall into that trap. Of course, everyone has great memories with their ex and romantic holidays like Valentine's Day are easy triggers for people to miss the past and wonder why they're alone now.
I know that I will always cherish those memories, but that was in the past. You have to stop clinging to what could've been and instead plan for what will happen tomorrow. All the time that you're spending being upset and thinking of the past is preventing you from living in the present. Who knows what will happen? It's scary, but it's something to embrace. Any of us can find something to dwell on from previous pain within our lives. Though grief is necessary in order to fully heal, we shouldn't act like these events didn't happen and erase these memories from our mind. Instead, we need to learn from our mistakes, grow as an individual and focus on the many more memories to come.
4. Being single does not have to mean being afraid of love.
From family to friends to relationships, my heart was beaten, bruised and broken into a million pieces before. Through it all, though, I don't feel traumatized and I absolutely know that I will love again. We can't change anything about the past, but we can certainly learn from it and become a better person in the future.
We can't be bitter just because we were hurt before. All things must fall before we can accomplish and rise for the better. Don't close yourself to love. Instead, welcome it, but remember what it felt like to be hurt so that you can fix the mistakes that you've made in the past.
5. Just because you're single, does NOT mean you're alone.
Oftentimes, I felt like I was alone when all my friends were in relationships. Little did I realize that I was surrounded by so many people that loved me and I was blind to it. It's the little things that people do for you that make you appreciate life, especially when you feel so alone.
Though no family is perfect, you're stuck with them and no matter what, you will never be alone. My dog CoCo has never left my side during any kind of heartbreak or sadness that I've experienced in my life. It's important to realize that we're not alone ever. Whether we have 50 people or five people in our lives, it's never just us. Just because we may be feeling lonely compared to others, chances are that deep down, though they're surrounded by so many people who love them, they are sad.
Never compare yourself to someone else because chances are they are hiding what's wrong deep down. We're human, we all hurt sometimes; it's just natural. That shouldn't defeat us, though. It should only make us stronger and appreciate the friends and family (and pets) that surround us every day.
“Being single is not the end of the world,” a friend said to me. She continued by saying, “There are other problems that are more depressing than being single—hunger and homelessness, for instance.”
That felt like a slap in the face to wake me up. It reminded me that even with a broken heart, I am still standing. I’m still breathing. There are still so many possibilities for me.
Being alone comes independence and confidence. There comes clarity and realization that we deserve more than we have been getting. By being single, I've learned my worth and what I really do deserve from someone. I won't settle for anyone because, at the end of the day, I have my wonderful loving family, my incredibly talented best friends, my adorable old man dog and me. For me, that's enough.