“Remember, being happy doesn’t mean you have it all. It simply means you’re thankful for all you have.” ~Unknown
For many years I was single. But I wasn’t just a regular single, I was a miserable one.
Rather than enjoying a time in my life when I didn’t have to care about anyone else but myself and using it to devote my full attention to my purpose and passions, I chose to ride the “woe is me” train.
I would complain about being single daily and covet other women’s “luck” in dating. I would blame every guy I dated for “just not being ready,” or somehow else at fault.
I didn’t realize I was the common denominator in all my failed relationship attempts.
I was the one who chose to spend time with these men and ignore the big red flags that would crystalize themselves early on.
Instead of taking time to patiently vet and reject men that were not good for me, I allowed my desperation to entertain any man that would show interest.
My inability to find happiness outside of a relationship was ultimately what kept me single.
The saying “you attract what you are” was true in my case. I was miserable single, so I kept attracting miserable relationships.
I continued down the same path until I decided that something needed to change.
I realized that I had outsourced the job of making me happy to the many men that I dated.
Their presence, their commitment, and their interest in me would determine how happy I was. Unfortunately, due to my questionable taste in romantic partners, that would often mean not so happy. So, I decided it was time to change that.
That is when things started to shift, and I called in the life and love that I wanted. Here is what I did to find happiness outside of a relationship:
Dealing with the Absence of a Relationship
One thing I have learned is that in the absence of a romantic relationship I had to find fulfilling activities that made me happy.
When you are single you have a lot of time. Time to think about everything you feel is missing.
I would spend my evenings watching romantic movies on Hallmark wishing my life were like the plotline of the movie.
And more often than not, all it did was make me more miserable. So, I decided to utilize that free time in the evening in a better way.
I came up with a beautiful nighttime routine that included coloring, listening to music, and reading a book on spirituality or personal growth.
I would fill the void with activities that filled me up.
Same for the morning times. Instead of lying in bed and scrolling through Instagram until all I saw were couples and babies, I started running.
Not only did I get into the best shape of my life because of it, but I also discovered a new passion for running and working out that quickly turned into a hobby I’m now passionate about.
By dealing with the absence of a relationship head-on I found activities that made me happy.
Dealing with the Sadness of Singleness
The second thing I did to find happiness outside of a relationship was learn to deal with the sadness that singleness often brings with it.
It’s no secret that being single can suck.
No matter how often single people are made to believe that being single is a blessing, it can be hard to see it when that blessing seems to last forever.
What I have learned is that rather than avoiding, suppressing, and denying the sadness, I had to learn to embrace it.
I needed to allow the ebbs and flows to pan out accordingly. By deeply feeling the sadness and despair, I also enabled myself to feel the joy and excitement that followed after.
Reminding yourself that no emotion lasts forever, and that you will eventually overcome it, is the light at the end of the tunnel that keeps you going.
Therefore, you must make it a habit to tune into your inner well-being daily. Here are three ways I do it:
1. Start your mornings with a meditation practice that centers you and puts you in tune with how you are really feeling.
2. Start journaling your thoughts to better understand your fears and worries. You can commit a few minutes in the morning or evening to it.
3. Commit to a daily gratitude exercise. Multiple times throughout the day, stop what you are doing and simply list three to five things you are grateful for. They can be as simple things as your home, furniture, or the body parts that serve you well.
There are many different habits that you can choose from. The only thing that matters is that you create a safe space and routine that allows you to feel your emotions without judging them.
This will help you deal with the sadness of singleness.
Dealing with the Uncertainty of Dating
The last thing I had to learn in order to find happiness outside of a relationship was how to navigate through the dating space without feeling burned out or discouraged.
Dating nowadays feels like you are entering the twilight zone. With many different terms and stages describing the act of dating, many people are not sure what they are doing anymore.
Are you dating, hanging out, hooking up, or maybe just “chilling”?
If you don’t know, chances are you are stressed by the uncertainty. And that feeling of anxiety sucks.
It’s a constant ride on a roller coaster of emotions controlled by the other person.
So, how can you learn to deal with the uncertainty that dating oftentimes brings with it?
The first step is to increase your self-esteem and remind yourself that your relationship status does not determine your worth.
When a romantic relationship does not progress the way you want, you may feel discouraged and disappointed. These feelings are valid and should be honored; however, you have to remember that they are only feelings. That means they will pass.
Instead, use affirmations to build yourself up daily and celebrate all your minor successes, the positive impact you have on the people around you, and how far you’ve come as a person. This will help you remember all the great qualities you bring to a relationship and will be a blessing to the person you are with in the future.
The second step is to focus on the fun.
In a world of billions of people, it may take some time to find the one person you would like to spend the rest of your life with, who happens to want the same.
Uncertainty is part of the dating process. Rather than shying away from it, try to focus on the fun of dating. Meet people without any expectations and instead decide to just have a good time and enjoy their company.
By doing that, you will naturally feel less anxious, because you are not trying to control your date’s experience, only your own.
Because of today’s societal pressure to be boo’d up by a certain age, it can often feel depressing when you are not in a committed relationship. Which then leads to unhappiness.
However, by taking matters into your own hand and deciding to create happiness for yourself, you allow yourself to experience life and live in the present moment.
About Justine Mfulama
Justine Mfulama is a dating and relationship coach that helps Millennial single women take their relationships from casual to committed while dating with confidence and joy. Over at justinemfulama.com she shares her personal experiences, combined with years of research about everything dating, relationship and faith.