Jeanine is a Writer, Actor, member SAG/AFTRA, AEA, Podcast host,…
February 15 is National Singles Awareness Day, but celebrating being single is rarely showcased in a culture focused on conforming to the “nuclear family” standard of happiness.
People are releasing the pressure of staying in relationships that aren’t working and embracing the fact that being alone doesn’t mean you are lonely. Pandemic living has amplified long-term problems many couples have put aside for years causing them to realize that life is too short to hold onto relationships that aren’t working.
Thank goodness, being happily single is becoming normalized in our culture. Now is the time to celebrate choosing to be single. National Singles Awareness Day falls on the day after Valentine’s Day, when all the leftover chocolate candy is on sale. It’s the perfect time for singles to release the negativity often attached to being single and celebrate “singledom” in all of its glory. Other than bingeing on half-price Valentine’s Day chocolates, here are five steps to living single, happy, and free.
Fall in love with yourself, over and over and over again.
It’s been said in thousands of songs, books, and poetry: if you can’t love yourself, how the heck can you love somebody else?
Falling in love with ourselves can look like developing deep reverence for our worth and being able to regenerate that love every day throughout our lifetime. Being gentle with ourselves, taking time and space to recognize what we need, and becoming familiar and comfortable with our strengths and weaknesses are all facets of getting to know ourselves and welcoming in the ability to love ourselves as is.
Knowing our value and treating ourselves kindly encourages time for rest, recovery, and renewal. Taking time to lovingly fill ourselves up can create a stronger connection to joy, the ability to love ourselves unconditionally, and a commitment to letting go of negative self-talk. We have to learn not to take ourselves for granted through practicing gratitude daily. How can we not fall in love with ourselves coming from a space of compassion and unconditional love?
Create and maintain diverse, platonic friend groups.
I recently finished watching Station Eleven on HBOMax. I loved this limited series because unlike other post-apocalyptic worlds that focus on fighting to take other people’s stuff, Station Eleven focuses on the power of friendship and creativity as a means of rebuilding society from a space of creativity and joy.
Through the years, I’m grateful to have cultivated a beautiful array of friends. Not being able to be in the same physical spaces since March 2020 has made Zoom dates with old friends vital to elevating my mind beyond my temporary limited circumstances. I’ve tried to attract a diverse community of friends of all ages, genders, races, social classes, and even from different parts of the world through all my travels. As I’ve sheltered in the same place this entire pandemic, I’ve become close to people I’ve met in virtual workshops and meditation retreats. I’ve held space for my friends in mutual community care. Yes, I’ve been uncoupled this entire pandemic — my life is still rich, spacious, and abundant. Let’s face it. Single folks aren’t always able to reach out to families of origin or married friends so it’s vital for us to practice an equivalent exchange of care and work to make our friend relationships stable and joyous.
Make seasonal travel a part of your self-care regimen.
Solo travel is liberating. The freedom to not have a plan and just go where intuition leads is the ultimate adventure. Solo travel can also be fulfilling when organized and scheduled, particularly while traveling during COVID-19. Either way, going solo gives a sense of expansiveness that traveling with other people doesn’t provide. Even though the cost of living, paying taxes, etc., are higher for single people, we can budget our money and save up to take several trips during the year. We have much more freedom than someone in a relationship or marriage, who must first confer with their partner or kids before making any plans.
Taking the time to sit and clear the mind is vital in this digital age. No matter who we are, we are all constantly forced to coexist with social media and advertisers that tell us we aren’t enough. Just as we are recovering from New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day shows up. Dating sites find single folks and start pressuring us to spend money to solve the problem of being single by paying their service to find us the perfect mate. It’s easy to find people to partner with; it’s much harder to maintain a relationship because you’re afraid of being alone.
Meditation is one of those little tools that can help us be okay with being alone. Meditation doesn’t have to be a big deal. It can be stopping to take three long calm breaths when you’re feeling stressed or right before or after you pray to clear your mind.
It’s easy to get caught up in feeling like an outsider this time of year. If those feelings come up around Valentine’s Day, give yourself some ValenTIME to clear your mind in meditation, appreciating that you can turn off your phone and tune in to you for a while, and practice loving yourself unconditionally.
Living single, happy, and free is a spiritual practice that requires daily mindful action. Being able to be authentically comfortable alone is a gift. The only person who will be with you from the cradle to the grave is you. Love and embrace the times in your life when you have the privilege of living single, happy, and free.
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Jeanine is a Writer, Actor, member SAG/AFTRA, AEA, Podcast host, Producer, CEO VisAbleBlackWoman Productions, Certified Health Coach and Conscious Dance facilitator. Jeanine's mission, centering Black women's stories to preserve our legacies.