It is a common misconception that being single is automatically accompanied with loneliness and discouragement.
Songs and movies often depict couples cuddling at the movies or frolicking on the beach.
The subliminal message portrayed seems to be that these are the images of true happiness. We are often led to believe that we must be in a committed relationship in order to feel whole or complete.
These are misguided notions. Romance does not lead to happiness anymore than singleness leads to depression. These are stereotypical representations that can easily be overcome.
All feelings (whether happiness, contentment, loneliness or depression) are manifestations of a person’s emotional health, regardless of being in a relationship or being single.
Many people are aware that they carry some emotional scars that need to be healed, but they often think that healing will come as a result of being with another person.
Rather than seeking to improve the condition of their emotional state, they seek out a love interest. In the end, romantic relationship proves to only conceal the problems and not really resolve them.
Learning how to be happy being single is a matter of learning to how to take responsibility for your emotional independence and psychological well-being. By identifying common deterrents, true happiness can be achieved even while single.
Three hindrances to finding happiness while single
1) Seeking a relationship to fulfill unmet needs
As humans, we all have emotional needs. Most people, to varying degrees, desire acceptance, appreciation, love, support and respect.
These basic human needs can be met in many different ways. It is important to understand that a romantic relationship is not the primary place to seek fulfillment of these needs.
Friendships, family members and the workplace environment are just a few examples of healthy alternatives for having basic emotional needs met.
Complete emotional satisfaction can be attained through the respect from coworkers, love and support from a sibling or relative, and the acceptance and appreciation of true friends.
When a person actively seeks to have their emotional needs met in various, day to day environments, they become less likely to feel the need to seek fulfillment from a relationship with another person.
As a result, that same person is completely content being single because they don’t have unmet needs as a motivation to seek out a romantic relationship.
2) Being controlled by emotional dependency
Emotional dependency is when a person allows another person to strongly influence their feelings and emotions.
When a person is emotionally unhealthy, it becomes comfortable for them to rely on others to be in control, even of their own personal feelings. The danger of emotional dependency is that it can lead to the individual ultimately ‘depending’ on that other person for happiness.
They no longer have control of their own emotions. A person who has become emotionally dependent finds it impossible to be happy while single because they have become accustomed to someone else being in control of their happiness.
Breaking this cycle, possibly with the help of professional counseling, will allow a person to feel independent and happy despite being single.
Once the emotional dependency has been overcome, the individual then becomes capable of understanding how to be happy being single.
3) Compensating for low self-esteem
Much like emotional dependency, low self-esteem is strongly influenced by a person’s dependence on others. Self-esteem is defined in the Merriam Webster’s dictionary as “confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.”
A person with low self-esteem does not hold themselves in high value or esteem, and therefore, often seek approval and acceptance from others in an attempt to make themselves feel better.
In an effort to compensate for low self-esteem, some people find it hard to remain single because they depend heavily on the feelings of confidence and approval that being in a relationship gives them.
True happiness can be achieved, even while single, when a person finds ways to improve their own self-perception rather than depend on the approval of someone else.
A few simple ways to improve self-esteem
• Refrain from comparing oneself to others
• Pay more attention to accomplishments than shortcomings
• Limit negative self-talk
• Take care of yourself: exercise, eat well, dress nice and practice good personal hygiene. Looking and feeling good raises one’s self-esteem.
Taking the time to improve self-esteem independently instead of allowing others to control self-perception is an excellent step in the direction of happiness while single (see more How to recover from a breakup quickly).
Actually, one of the best preparations that can be made for successful future relationships is to invest in elevating one’s self-esteem.
Natural confidence and self-respect are admirable qualities that enhance romantic relationships rather than detract from them. And with a strong self-esteem in place a person feels content and happy even when single.
Putting it all together
Unmet needs, emotional dependency, and low self esteem are some examples of unhealthy reasons that people seek to find satisfaction in a relationship with another person.
The first step in recovery is identifying the problem. Having a strong inner need to find happiness in someone else, does not really equate to true happiness at all.
In order to learn how to be happy being single, all previous issues need to be dealt with.
You need to proactively seek to have unmet needs fulfilled through non-romantic relationships.
Recognize the signs of emotional dependency. Understand the importance of being in control of one’s own emotions and seek professional help if needed to regain total emotional independence.
Work on elevating self-esteem. Confidence and self-respect are valuable qualities to possess.
In my training material The Master Training Kit: How to Get Over Your Ex In 14 Days, I say that pre-existing issues and problems will not be resolved with a romantic relationship. The best solution is to seek assistance to overcome these emotional obstacles while single.
Not only will this lead to seeking out healthier relationships, but it will also afford the person the ability to find contentment even while single.
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