Photo: Emily Long
After every breakup, my mother has told me the same thing, “you have to find your own happiness.”
In my wisdom, I would scoff and think to myself that I am happy right now. What I didn’t understand was that Mom wasn’t just referring to happiness in the moment. She meant that in order to really be happy I had to be a complete person. Sure, I was happy in my early twenties, but I wasn’t always the person I’d want to rely on when things got hard nor did I want to spend a Saturday night alone.
After many (MANY) months of singlehood, I’ve come to understand the most important relationship that I will ever have is with me. I made the choice to make the most of life by dating myself first. Learning to comfort myself, laughing with myself and spending time with myself have been invaluable to my personal growth. There are still days when being in my late twenties and single is lonely, and I still yearn for a person to share the most intimate parts of my life with. Yet at the end of every day, I am happy in the life I built for myself.
I’ve gone on vacation alone because I wanted to see a new city. I’ve had dinner at a bar to watch the Phillies in a playoff game. I take myself to the movies that I want to see. I pull weeds, go on walks and sit outside enjoying cups of coffee. I’ve learned how to be my own best friend.
In my early twenties, my emotions felt so raw and overwhelming, I didn’t have the stability and knowledge to comfort myself. Now I still turn to people for advice, but I trust in my instincts. I allow myself to feel whatever is inside of me, knowing that things will be okay again because I will make it so.
I would encourage every woman, regardless of age or relationship status, to go on a journey of self discovery and to spend time alone with whatever is inside of you. The ability to nurture oneself is an incredible gift to have, and it is something you can always rely on. For so long, I thought that great love would be something like the lyrics of “Wonderwall,” where that man would save me. Now that is the last thing that I would want.
I certainly still hope to find that man to share my life with, but as an equal partner who brings more joy into my life. Until I find that person, I have myself to spend every second of my life with, and that is an incredible gift.