5 Reasons to Be Happy You’re Single

August 1st, 2013 by Vincent Nguyen 20 Comments

Johnny Bravo Heart

It’s terrible to see how most people look to relationships and a significant other as the end-all, be-all of personal happiness. “I can’t be single and happy!” seems to be the mantra of millions of individuals, both male and female.

I used to be just like this. I was insecure, the polar opposite of confident, and I felt like the only way I could find my place in the world was if I was taken.

My first relationship was a disaster. I don’t regret it because it was a great learning experience of what to avoid in the future, but looking back I can’t help but ask myself what the hell I was thinking.

The worst part of it was how needy I was. When we weren’t talking my mind would be racing. The relationship crumbled within a matter of months but I refused to acknowledge it. I couldn’t even imagine how it felt to go back to being… single.

So of course, I held on as tight as I could. Even after she had lied to me for the 10th time that week.

I didn’t want to call it off even though the whole thing was toxic. I couldn’t, because how could any person be happy without a significant other?

Eventually we split up and I fell into what I refer to as my darkest hours. I’d lie in bed at night and feel this intense rush of pain go through my veins. My heartstrings felt cut. I’d think, how do people survive alone?

That was five years ago.

I get it. I understand how it feels to be dependent on another person for your own personal happiness. Trust me when I say that it’s a bullshit way to live.

How do you expect to be content in the long run if you’re constantly relying on someone else to fill a void? That’s a sign of a much bigger issue.

You have to be happy with yourself before you can get into a healthy relationship where you don’t rely 100% on the other person. No human being can accept such responsibility.

If you’re in this mindset, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment, hurt, and the inevitability of getting into a toxic relationship. The relationship won’t be sustainable and you’re going to crash. Hard.

Here are 5 mindset shifts I had to finally internalize and understand before I realized how to be self-content while outside of a relationship.

You have the opportunity to build an even more awesome lifestyle

Being in a relationship won’t make you into an amazing human being filled with interesting hobbies and knowledge.

That’s all you.

I used to think that having someone in my life I can call my girlfriend would somehow make me more interesting. The truth is, a lot of the work falls on your shoulders.

In my case, I began to explore subjects I found interesting and taught myself most of what there is to know. Fashion interested me so I started to take a look at clothing I wanted to wear. Then of course, I went out and bought them. New clothes made me feel good because I knew I looked good — and I had a new conversation topic to fall back on. Boom, more interesting.

I played sports I had fun with. Tennis, Bowling, Ultimate Frisbee, and Disc Golf became regulars in my life. I got better and bonded with people who shared the same interests as me.

Being interested in things makes you interesting. People are attracted to passion and curiosity so when you encompass both values, you’re golden.

Being single can be just as good and self-improving as a relationship

When you’re on your own you can be introspective and cognizant of the world around you. People say your significant other brings out the best in you. That’s complete crap. That’s true only if you’re in a healthy relationship (which most people dating aren’t.)

When you’re single you can still work on building your confidence, self-esteem, and everything in between. Personal growth doesn’t come to a sudden stop when your relationship status on Facebook is set to single.

If you let yourself think you can’t grow on your own then there’s your issue right there. Your mindset needs a serious makeover. It’s subjective and there’s no magic formula I can give you to drink and suddenly realize this. It’s something you’ll have to realize on your own.

Toxic relationships will drain you more

Rush into it and you’re going to be desperate. You’re going to fall for the first girl that gives you a smile and you’ll stay with her because you’re afraid of being single.

Like Ferris Bueller said about Cameron, “he’s going to marry the first girl he lays, and she’s gonna treat him like shit, because she will have given him what he has built up in his mind as the end-all, be-all of human existence. She won’t respect him, ’cause you can’t respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn’t work.”

Do you want that to be you? Do you want to be stuck in an unhealthy relationship that sucks your soul out just because you think being single is the worst thing in the world? Relationships aren’t the end-all, be all of human existence. Don’t be Cameron.

There is no sunk cost

My close friend is in this exact situation right now. I asked him how his relationship with his girlfriend was going and he was very unenthused. He was even bordering on depression.

I asked him if he was happy and he said he didn’t know what that meant. Then I asked him why he was still in the relationship. He said if he left, then all the work and effort he put in would go to waste.

It’s never a waste. Okay, you put effort into something that didn’t quite meet your expectations, but so what? You learn what to avoid in the future. You get stronger. You come out a freaking beast.

Do you think I regretted my first disaster of a relationship? I sure did at the time, but looking back I realized I had grown so much as a result. I know what I want, what I don’t want, and I discovered a lesson that I never would have any other way; holding onto something broken only delays the disappointment when it inevitably shatters.

Being content with yourself allows you to find a higher quality partner

I’m not sure where my standards were before, but after learning to be happy with myself, my expectations for my future girlfriend has been raised much further than just physical appearance. I’m happy with my life and living an adventure of my own. I want my partner to add onto that and I’m not willing to settle for less.

When I meet girls and go on dates I’m seeing if I’m interested in them, not the other way around.

I’m seeing if they’re of high quality, if they’re secure enough to not be too dependent. Plus, I’m a lot more relaxed and confident in myself when I’m meeting women because I already have all my shit together. I’m not secretly hoping that she’s “the one” every time.

Isn’t that great? I’m never beating myself up when I don’t click with someone and I’m actually more fueled to be consistently awesome.

All of this because of a few vital mindset shifts.

Vincent Nguyen SelfstairwayVincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway, a personal development blog that teaches daily self-reflection through practical articles without the clichés. His focus on self-improvement can serve as a supplement for improving your dating skills. Follow Vincent on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

  1. Justin on August 1, 2013

    I love that Ferris Bueller quote. I think we all know someone like Cameron, and when you say it like that it’s easier to see how crazy it is to settle down out of desperation.

    • Vincent on August 1, 2013

      Oh, I definitely know a lot of Camerons. I used to be just like Cameron too so I understand how people like that feel. Unfortunately, I didn’t have someone there to snap me out of those dark times because everyone else shared the same mindset.

      Hopefully, this article gets to someone who needs it. It can either trigger a strong defensive reaction or it can wake a person up.

  2. Jack on August 1, 2013

    Great article Vincent. So many people fall into this trap of “I can’t be single and happy.” The truth is, sometimes it can be tough because it IS difficult to find a compatible partner. However, there are so many cool things you can do whether you are single or not! i.e. sports, parties, karaoke nights, camping, concerts, festivals, etc. Life and happiness is about growing as a person :)

    • Vincent on August 1, 2013

      Thanks, Jack! Not only is it difficult to find someone compatible but it’s tough because people are convinced they can’t be happy on their own. That makes them “pull a Cameron” and fall in love with the first person that likes him or her back.

      Definitely agree on your last sentence too. :)

  3. Sara on August 1, 2013

    Vincent. At the risk of sounding corny here goes: Everything that you list in the 5 Mindset Shift is solid and progressive. I think what you advise works well for people to shift their lives and move to a space where they do not value a relationship over themselves. They need to rediscover themselves. Taking your time to find the right person is important. But are you saying that the single person who has the right mindset, confidence, and a great life can’t legitimately still be very unhappy being single and worried that s/he will not ever find the right person? Can she be confident and selective when dating, but still secretly hope that this is “the one?” I agree human beings can be single and happy, but it still sucks lemons to be alone…I’ve put myself out there so be gentle… :-))

    • Vincent on August 2, 2013

      Woo! A hard-hitting question. THIS is why I write! :) *cracks knuckles*

      I see where you’re getting at and you know, that’s a difficult thing to answer. The person who has his/her life together can still be discontent with his/her relationship status. However, being worried he or she may never find “the one” would usually be a very fleeting thought for this gleaming beacon of awesomeness. The ones who are fixated on the thought that they HAVE to be in a relationship right now are the people I was focused towards in this article.

      Secretly hoping that the person you’re on a date with turns out to be awesome should be in the back of all of our heads. How much control and space this thought takes is what separates somewhat who is healthy from those who aren’t.

      • sara on August 2, 2013

        Awesome answer Vincent! I can’t wait for your book to publish. Thank you!

  4. Papa G on August 2, 2013

    Great article, I think a lot of teens (imagine that, who else) are victim to these mindsets that they’re nothing or miserable by default without a relationship, and these feels are probably created over jealously of others. Being that I’ve never really dated before and I love who I am and what I do, this article makes me eager to go out and meet some people.

    A note though, from a business/microeconomics standpoint, the energy people are putting into a relationship IS a sunk cost, BUT it should not be a deciding factor in future decisions. This is a difficult idea for people to accept! Keep it up man.

    • Vincent on August 2, 2013

      Thanks, Papa G! Get out there and meet people, man. Nothing’s stopping you. Go to the mall and say hi to a random girl. :)

  5. sara on August 2, 2013

    Awesome answer Vincent! I can’t wait for your book to publish. Thank you!

  6. Val on August 3, 2013

    This is so true! It’s up to each individual person to know what makes them happy on their own. As soon as we start depending on others for this, we stop having any control over whether we are happy or not.

    • Vincent on August 4, 2013

      Exactly, Val! It’s great to let others in and have love, but you need a sense of independence as well.

  7. bakeca Potenza on August 6, 2013

    very true….nice post

  8. Larry Calhoun on August 8, 2013

    Kudos Vincent! You’re a talented writer. I’m looking forward to readind your E-book.

    • Vincent Nguyen on August 8, 2013

      I appreciate it, Larry. I took a small break from the eBook these past few days as I focus on another project right now. Getting back into it next week!

  9. Missmissparas on August 11, 2013

    Great post. Embarrassingly, I think I am the Cameron. Learning my lessons slowly. I will be very wise one day and then drop dead from all the experiences… Lol.

    • Vincent Nguyen on August 12, 2013

      Hey, at least you’re willing to admit it. You know what that means? You can start working on what you don’t like about yourself and improve on it. That’s more than what most can say. :)

  10. Belle on November 21, 2013

    I just wanted to comment here as I googled ‘how does one cope and what to do when they feel they are wasting their life’ and found you all on here under a title that drew me in even further ’5 great things about being single’. Like most of the comments on here I was ‘wasting’ my life….striving only for others and how difficult a task that is when you are not doing it for yourself…once was a married woman, then the universe came along and parted us. Without going into all the grief of the big change, I will focus on what has happened in parallel to all of it. Simply that I was able for the first time to do what I wanted to do. And I am discovering much about myself, including the bits of me I am discovering that I don’t like and changing bit by bit. And like you all when I am securely independent and ‘living’ and generating more work in what I’m loving doing, it would be marvellous to meet a significant other with the same qualities and interests and in life itself. So yes I do have a moments too of wishing to share my life. So despite the moments of darkness, it is an opportunity to really look within and all this takes time. Definitely stronger. And very much the beginning of a process and a journey once we start asking ‘whats it all about’. An awakening with many awakenings within. And learning to be gentle with ourselves is key because it all doesn’t happen with the flick of a switch, very much a process, which I am finding out. Loving all the comments and meeting people with this fresh outlook on life.

  11. Belle on November 21, 2013

    I meant to add too that I am loving your writing! An inspiration. Maybe will brave putting down my own thoughts in print one day…or better still on canvas :-) x