The 3 Most Important Things to Work On If You’re Single. On Purpose.
We have been programmed to believe that we have to find our “one” to be happy. That our lives are not complete unless we have a partner. With this mindset, we walk through life feeling incomplete or less than because we don’t have our person.
Single doesn’t mean you’re weak. Single doesn’t mean you’re defective. Single doesn’t mean you’re incomplete. Single doesn’t mean you can’t build an amazing life. It’s okay to be single. On purpose.
It’s actually the best time to build a better you. Because when you’re in a relationship, it’s easy to put someone else before you. It’s easy to forget about your needs, what you want, what you deserve, and who you want to be.
If you’re single and you want to make it about you again. Or maybe for the first time. The time is now.
So what does that look like to make it about you? Here are three things I did after my divorce that repositioned me and allowed me to become a better version of myself.
- Connecting back to self.
When we’re in a relationship, it’s really easy to disconnect with ourselves. It’s easy to forget about our own needs when we are giving to someone else. For many, we think that’s what love is. Self-sacrifice. To put our own needs aside for the person we choose to love. Then one day we wake up and don’t know why we’re so damn fucking angry.
It’s a slow burn. It happens over time. First, little things like eating what your partner wants. Seeing what movie he wants. Making sure he’s satisfied in bed. Always putting him first because you want to be a good girlfriend. And he gets used to it. You’ve laid the tracks, set the done, created the relationship dynamic. Then when you actually want something different, you get push back and it’s not worth the fight. Because your partner doesn’t know how to fight. So you deal. So you cave. So you slowly disappear. Star to lose your voice and disconnect with self.
Making it about you means to connect back to you by asking yourself what you want and need. But more importantly, giving yourself that. It may be a muscle you haven’t used in a long time. Or for many, ever. Because before your relationships, you had to take care of others, like siblings or parents. Or children. You had to do things to survival. To make everything and everyone okay. And in the process, never learned how to fill your own cup. So now, your knee-jerk is to take care of others. That’s all you know. Well, it’s time to know more.
What do you need now that you don’t have to take care of anyone? To eat where ever the fuck you want? A vacation? That trip to Egypt? To pick up dance lessons again? Or a guitar? To not shave? Grow your hair long? Chop your hair because you’ve always wanted to? To draw boundaries with some friends? Make new ones? What do you need? Your answer may be “I don’t know”, which means you just have to keep asking yourself that question. Because if you can’t give yourself what you need, no one else will. It all starts with you.
After my divorce, I asked myself what I needed. I went to the bench a lot. I ate out at diners. I leased a roadster convertible and revved the shit out of it through the canyons blasting obnoxious music and wearing no shirt. And didn’t care. I took myself to the movies. Went on long walks. Pour myself into my passions. Started writing again. I needed to treat myself well. Better. I needed to do things for myself and not feel guilty about them. I also pushed my body harder than I ever have before. I needed to feel alive. I needed to like who I was.
Finally giving yourself what you need is how you will start to connect back to you.
2. Redefine everything.
Many of us live with old definitions. They were given to us by parents, friends, society, billboards, commercials, and old versions of ourselves. Whenever we are pulling from the old, we are living in the past. We are no longer creating and living in what is and could be. Instead, we are stuck in what was. So now’s the time to redefine what things mean to you in a way that’s honest to you. Today. Not yesterday.
Work. Love. Happy. Healthy. Success. How do you define these today? Is working meaningful for you? Or do you dread getting up each day? What about love? From everything you’ve learned and been through, what is important to you when it comes to love? Do you have new non-negotiables?Do you put weight on different things? Healthy? What is healthy to you today? What about success? Is it still measured by the numbers in your bank or does it mean something else?
My definitions of work, love, happy, healthy, and success are all different today then when I was married. Work is no longer about the paycheck. Work is about making a difference. Work has to feel meaningful or it’s not work. It’s dread. I believe in threading work into your life so it feels like a lifestyle. So the long hours don’t feel long. So you’re productive and building just by living. Work isn’t a separate thing that we turn on and off. Work is a way of life. I don’t believe in punching a clock anymore. I believe in punching the sky. That’s my new definition of work.
Love has changed for me in so many ways, and constantly changing as I change. But today, love means looking inward, accepting someone fully, holding instead of grabbing, encouraging, supporting, championing, but also having your own life. Love means to see the essence of who the person you choose to love really is, the spirit of that being. Love is an intimacy that’s deeper than skin. Love is eye contact. A slow burn. And boring and routine at times. Love means watering your own lawn. Love means safe spaces. Love means communication, consistency, and constant courting.
I used to tie happy and successful together in a tight knot made of tinsel. I didn’t allow myself to be happy until I was successful and success to me meant fancy cars and fuck you money. This kept me in a chasing state and miserable. Today, happy and successful are two different things to me. One is not contingent on the other. Happy is actually a practice, a daily one. It requires the action of finding joy. In what I have today. Not tomorrow. Little things. Big things. It doesn’t matter. Happy is being aware of my thoughts and when I dip, taking a deep breath, accepting and being kind to myself. Happy is a state that fluctuates. It is not a light switch or a destination. Success is the result of building something you believe in. Success is the result of hard work, effort, and lots of failures. Of course success will impact your happiness. As your happiness will impact your success. But they are not tied together. It is possible to have one without the other.
Healthy used to mean going to the gym for a couple hours and lifting weights. Today, healthy means so much more to me. Healthy means a good balanced diet. But being okay with a donut once in a while. Healthy means therapy to process shit. Healthy means quality time with friends. Healthy means cheat days. Healthy means cutting negative people out of my life. Surrounding myself with people who accept me and champion my story. Healthy means connecting, accepting, and loving my body. But to also practice discipline and push my body further than I think I can. Healthy means to sweat daily. Healthy means great sex that makes my blood flow and my heart race. Healthy means to stretch. Health means to distance myself from the thoughts that drain me and throw me into yesterday. Healthy means to stop future trippin’. Healthy means giving myself what I need. Allowing myself to feel. Healthy means being kind to myself. Healthy means drawing boundaries. Healthy means feeding my brain. Constantly. Healthy means practicing kindness, forgiveness, and gratitude. Healthy means meditation. Healthy means to get outside and feel the sun on my face. Sand on my toes. Healthy means a gas tank in between my legs. Healthy means naps. Healthy means self-care. Healthy is a lifestyle.
As you start to reconnect back to you and redefine what work, love, happiness, success, and health means, you will start to reposition yourself. You will shift inside. This will allow you to make different choices. Creating a different path. And a different life. As you evolve. Shed. Become.
3. Discover your safe tree
I never had a home. I mean I’ve always had a place to live but never a home. A nest. My definition of home was to actually own one but since I was always renting, I never put any effort into where I was living. It was just like a motel. A place to sleep. So I never bought the kind of furniture I would like. I never “decorated” my pad, never had plants and candles and rugs. I remember I had a dinner party for nine people once and only had eight forks. This isn’t when I was in my twenties living off of Cup-O-Noodles. It was just a couple years ago in my forties.
I’ve realized that I need a place to call my own, even if I don’t own it, where I can recharge, reboot, and totally relax. Our minds are going all day and our bodies are in a constant fight or flight. We need a “home” to check out thaw out, and recover. Maybe this is why I didn’t sleep for two years a while ago. And it’s not just about cool expensive furniture. It’s about the energy of the space. The morning sunlight flooding kitchen. The moonlight dancing through your bedroom window as you lay down to dream. It’s about soft towels. High thread count. Favorite mugs. Little things that make your place feel like home.
Our safe tree also includes our tribe. It doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert or extrovert, the people you engage with will encourage you and sharpen you. Or bring you down and stunt your growth. It makes all the difference. I’ve tried life alone. I’ve surrounded myself with people who were negative and draining. It doesn’t work. And if one of those people is the person you’re sharing a bed with, there needs to be a real honest conversation. Or many. And if nothing changes, you need to be with someone else. Your potential and everything you can offer the world isn’t even about you.
Well, that’s a lot to work on. I know. And it’s easier to read something than to actually implement it into action. But hopefully, it gives you some encouragement, sense of direction so you don’t feel like you’re swimming in the vast ocean.
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