Millions of people live a single life, not by choice necessarily, but because they can’t find a mate that’s right for them. I know from my own past experience that being single can be difficult. For example, I used to feel depressed when I stayed home by myself on a Friday or Saturday night, and I felt alone when I didn’t have a partner to bring to the work Christmas party or to a friend’s wedding. I realized I needed to make some changes in my life in order to be happy. I explored my wants, needs, and desires and set some goals that allowed me to live a happy life as a single person. Here are some of the steps I took:
Love yourself. Before you can have a loving relationship with another person, you need to establish a loving relationship with yourself. Begin by following the steps outlined in my chapter on self-esteem. Make sure you eat good foods, get enough sleep, exercise, and have a positive attitude toward yourself. Every day, tell yourself, “I’m the best, and I deserve only the best.” This self-love will make you feel good about yourself and the world around you.
Have fun with the people you know. You may be single, but you’re not alone. Instead of staying home on Friday or Saturday night, make the effort to call and schedule time with friends and family. Every week make a date with a different friend. You can go to concerts, movies, restaurants, parties, and any other fun activity you would ordinarily do on a date. You may meet other people through your friends who further expand your circle of friends. Or you may even meet a potential partner on one of your outings.
Flirt with others. Flirting can be a lot of fun and it is something you can do when you’re single. Flirting can help increase your confidence in connecting with others, give you that great tingling sensation when a connection is made, overcoming your fear of rejection, help build rapport with others and at the same time make others feel good about themselves. You can flirt by smiling, winking or just by giving that other person a special look. Who knows the other person may become interested in you and have enough confidence to flirt back. Flirting may just be something that occurs in passing or it could be a start of a new friendship. Whatever the outcome just remember to have FUN!
Create a happy home environment. Our home environment reflects how we feel as a person and visa versa. Too often I have seen people who are single have an empty home that is dull, boring and uninteresting. Surrounding themselves with memories of old broken relationships. An environment created that only depresses the soul and adds to the feelings of loneliness. Creating a happy home doesn’t require a lot of money or time. Select a bright color scheme to help uplift the mood of your home. Dark colors such as black and gray can only decrease your internal energy level. You can further spruce it up just by rearranging your furniture, adding some pictures of people who make you feel happy, including magazines, paintings, flowers and plants.
Get a pet. A pet such as a dog, cat or bird can help keep you company when your home alone. Research in pet ownership has shown there is a dramatic reduction in feelings of loneliness in the owner. Pets are great because you can cuddle and talk with them. In return they can give you love back by communicating and showing you affection in their own way.
Join a club. The word “club” may conjure memories of those boring after-school activities from childhood, but my home state of California boasts thousands of different clubs focusing on a range of different interests, from sports and the arts to computers and academics. Pick a subject you enjoy and go for it! You’re sure to meet interesting people this way.
Get in touch with your spiritual side. Being spiritual means different things to different people. For many it’s going to church and connecting with God. For others it’s doing yoga or practicing meditation. Whatever your preferences, your spirit is a central part of who you are, so don’t neglect it. As long as the practice is a healthy one, it can make a positive difference in your life. Getting in touch with your spiritual side will also invite happier, more fulfilling relationships with other people.
Explore the world. Instead of traveling halfway around the globe, why not begin with your own community? Check your local newspapers, radio stations, or chamber of commerce to find workshops, events, and activities that can teach you about your world-and in turn about yourself. Examples include jazz festivals, cultural celebrations, art shows, and food events. If you do want to venture out of your familiar environment and explore other lands, enlist a friend to join you-or, if you can’t, join a tour or design your own travel itinerary. One summer I booked a trip that covered fourteen European countries in forty-nine days. I learned so much about the different cultures-and I also learned a lot about myself.
Set some goals. As I said in the last chapter, set attainable goals for yourself. Some of mine have included learning how to cook, crochet, and make pottery. Now that I’ve happily accomplished these goals, I’ve set others for myself.
Keep a journal. Don’t stuff your feelings about being alone. Every day or two, give yourself a half an hour to let your feelings out. Say whatever you want to say in your journal. Don’t even worry about sentence structure, spelling, or making sense. Just write down whatever comes to mind. Then, for the rest of your life, focus on other interests. Every now and then, go back and read your journal. You may be pleased to discover that you’ve gradually become more comfortable and happier with being single. The funny thing is, once you feel content with the single life, you often end up meeting someone. As many others and I have found, “Love comes when you least expect it.”
If you long for a partner, being single can seem like a dark hole, and these steps can help you find your way out. Explore your wants, needs, and desires to see what would help you most. Just remember that you’re not alone.