Women ask me how to do singleness well, assuming that I know from experience. Truth be told, I did not use my singleness well. In fact, I was hardly ever single from 15 years old until the day I said “I do” at 23 because I relied heavily on affirmation and affection from men. It might sound cliche, but I am so thankful for God’s grace and how he loves us enough to transform us from the inside out. If it weren’t for him, my marriage and all of my relationships would look a lot different I’m sure. I’d probably still be a train wreck; repeating the same sin and mistakes and then hanging my head in shame for them. But I’m not and his power is real. Amen?!
So, when you – my single readers whom I adore and appreciate so much – asked me to write about singleness, the only thing I could share from a place of integrity are these nine things I’d do differently if I could go back in time. If I were who I am today, but single, here is how I’d aspire to live. I pray it encourages and challenges you in this season of your life!
Nine ways to use your singleness well:
- Dig deep to know yourself fully
- Value who you are and find ways to love and accept her
- Don’t wait for someday or someone to do the things you want to do
- Enjoy and celebrate being able to make decisions solely on your own
- Establish healthy routines and habits
- Teach others how to be happy now
- Set boundaries
Digging deep to know yourself fully means getting a mentor who can speak into you, seeking feedback, and using tools, such as the Enneagram to really know who you are, including all of your strengths and struggles. Knowing yourself really well and being aware is the first step, I believe, in living a fulfilling life. It’s also necessary if you desire to be with someone someday. After all, you can’t expect someone to “get” you if you don’t really get yourself.
Valuing who you are and learning to love and accept the person you see in the mirror means owning your junk and working on it. If you have an insecurity that continually creeps up, don’t buy the lie that one day you’ll meet your future spouse and they’ll make you feel good and you’ll be happy and no longer struggle with it. It’s not true. If anything, relationships magnify our insecurities so its time to face them head on now. Write down positive affirmations over yourself, don’t speak negatively about yourself (or anyone for that matter), and learn to like who you are. If you don’t like her, determine what needs to change and tackle it. Only you are in control of you.
Stop waiting for someday or someone. If you want to travel to Europe, book the dang flight now. If you want to compete in a triathlon, sign up. If you want to be a foster mom, apply. You can do hard and amazing things by yourself. You don’t have to wait for a significant other or spouse! Ask your friends and family to support you in whatever endeavor you wish to pursue. Remember, none of us are promised another day so waiting on things we may never get is a waste of time.
Enjoy – even celebrate – the fact that you only have to consider you when making decisions. You may never get this time in your life back when you decide what time you want to wake up on Saturday, what you want to eat for dinner, and which city you want to live in – all without having to consider another human being’s opinion and desires. In this regard, you get to be selfish and you should enjoy it and be grateful for this perk of singleness.
Establish good routines and habits. If you want running to be a part of your days, build it into your routine. If you have a habit of grabbing a bottle of a wine after a long day at work or binge-watching Netflix on Sundays and you want to change it, what’s stopping you? Write down a list of what you want every single Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to look like. Does your life look like that now? For those of you reading this in hopes of meeting someone to do life with someday, I have to ask: are you the type of person the type of person you’re looking for is looking for? Read it a couple of times and chew on it.
Teach others to be happy now by the way you live your life. Show your single and married friends alike that happiness can’t hinge on milestones and conditions that are out of our control. You can do this by living joyfully and with gratitude consistently rather than complaining and being idle.
Travel to find yourself, to meet new people, to have adventures and make memories. Travel alone, or with friends or family. Go on road trips and catch cheap flights. By being exposed to new places, people and cultures, you’ll develop a wider world view.
Serve because life is better when it’s not all about you. Serve with a nonprofit organization you believe in, serve your friends and community. A few of my favorite ideas: offer to babysit for your friends who have kids and might not be able to afford a date night right now, pick three friends to invest heavily in and serve them by showing up consistently, and make an extra batch of the next meal you cook and give it to your neighbor. Serving should be a way of life. One that shouldn’t stop if someday you get married!
Set boundaries at for yourself, in your work, and with other people. Boundaries are love, so don’t be afraid to implement them. Boundaries for yourself can look like blocking an ex’s number or eliminating toxic coping options from your home. Boundaries in your work means not allowing anyone to work you more than your paid hours or give you a heavier workload simply because you are single. Boundaries with other people can look like standing up to peer pressure, being clear about your time, and speaking up when you feel hurt.
Bonus – live alone. I went from living with my parents to living with college roommates to, for a very brief period, living alone in a condo until E and I got married. Those months were really hard in some ways and such a gift in others. If you have never tried living by yourself, I encourage you to give it a shot and see what you learn.
I really hope this was helpful & would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. What had you not considered before reading this? Is there anything you would add or takeaway?