I'm Single and The Happiest I've Ever Been
I just moved into a new apartment. A little bungalow to be exact. I thought my next move was going to be into a somewhat large bungalow. Large enough for two people, at least. And maybe a dog. One with a backyard and a hammock. One filled with love and laughter, partnership and passion.
I have thought a lot of things in my life that have turned out not to be true. I thought I should have complete freedom, no curfew, and no parental hovering at 16. When I was 11, I thought wearing a giant puffy Phoenix Suns coat, sparkling in purple and orange thread was cool (I didn’t even watch sports).
I thought I should be married by now. I thought my parents were right about me—that I am too difficult. When my last partner left I thought I must be unlovable. I also thought I could heal really fast, move on, and find my soulmate. Like, in a few months.
I didn’t think I would move out of my studio and into a one bedroom without a partner. I didn’t think I would be happy being single toward the end of my 33rd year.
But here I am, and here’s the truth: I am the happiest I have ever been.
It wasn’t always like this, though. Five months after my last breakup I experienced my first day of waking up without anxiety or deep sadness. Life felt a little fresher for a few hours—and then I bumped into my ex in a yoga class.
That night I thought, “I’m ready to date. Screw that dude. I deserve an incredible partner.” So I logged onto a dating app and made a profile.
“Ohhhhh, what if I see my soulmate right away?” I thought.
This was one of those apps where you saw one person’s face until you swiped yes or no, and then another appeared. The first face I saw was a familiar one. It was the face I had seen that day in yoga. They were the eyes I had lovingly looked into for a year.
I swiped left (a.k.a. thanks but no thanks) and deleted my account.
I know what you might be thinking, but no, the Universe was not telling me that he was my soulmate. The Universe was giving me a kick in the ass.
Hey you there! You trying to fill your wounds with someone else's love. Yeah, I’m talking to you. Remember that awful, terrible heartbreak you felt when he left? Yeah, want to hurt like that again?
I got the message. So instead of finding a man who I thought would be a better match and remind me of how wonderful I am, I chose to find out how to feel lovable—with or without a partner.
Ultimately, I decided to face what I was avoiding by going on that dating site. It took only one moment of sitting quietly with myself to know that fear was controlling and sabotaging my life.
I was afraid I would end up alone. I was afraid no one would ever love me for who I really am. I was afraid that my soul partner, who I could feel in my bones was out there, was always outside my reach.
Being single is not the solution. I have been single many other times, and nothing really changed. I found myself in “same same, but different” relationships over and over again.
But add some determined digging to the equation, and being single can be the opportunity to transform your life. Of course it's possible to grow in partnership, but if you have the chance discover who you are before you're emotionally invested in making a relationship work.
When you're single, there are no fears of outgrowing someone and losing them. There are fewer places to hide. There's an open field to explore and grow into who you are.
For a while I took dating off the table completely. I needed to grieve. I needed to dig deep into my healing. I needed to learn how to open up to the strength of the woman within me that has been eager to come alive. Only from this place could I really know what I wanted in a partnership.
I had to uncover who I really was and love her with all my might before I could consider opening my life up to another relationship.
In the end I learned how to love myself, and I learned it good. I dug deep into the crevices of my soul and pulled out something bright and shiny. And it was all for me. I didn’t do it to make a new man love me or a former one come back around. I did it because I deserve it.
I don’t need a partner to make me believe I am lovable because I already know I am. It’s not an intellectual knowing from some self-help books I’ve read. This is a reset of my nervous system, an opening of my heart, a current moving through my veins.
A few days ago I took the ultimate test: I went to IKEA. Alone.
As I was maneuvering my cart, slipping and sliding it across the linoleum floor, I looked to my left to see a couple with locked arms. To my right I’d find another kissing and laughing. In front of me another couple contemplated a set of wine glasses. I imagined they would be staring into each other’s eyes over a Malbec that night.
There was no part of me that cringed. The warning sirens that I would be alone forever or that I was unworthy of the love they shared were inoperable.
I genuinely felt happy for each one of them. I smiled. I let their love into my heart.
In this giant store designed for lovers playing house, I didn’t question my worth one bit.
Being single is a really important time. It’s a time for contemplation and exploration. It’s a time we often want to push aside. We jump back into relationships without doing the hard work of discovering who we are. We make up stories about why the last relationship didn’t work so we don't have to face the pain of our false beliefs.
The truth is there waiting for you. It will be there in your next relationship. If you want to fill the void for now, go right on ahead. But the lack you’re trying to fill will always be there. No other person will ever be able to fill it—no matter how wonderful they are, no matter how different they might appear from your former partner.
Imagine the love you want for your life right now. It’s not that you can’t have it. You can. But what’s keeping you from that love? What are the false beliefs you want someone else to take away for you? That’s where you need to journey.
Walk that hard path. I know from experience that it’s worth it.
I trust that my partner will come into my life at the right time. Right now, this time with myself is precious. I’m not going to have it forever. There will be a time when I will have someone to be accountable to. Until then, I get to enjoy complete and utter freedom.
I’m living alone in this quaint little bungalow in Los Angles. But I am not alone in my life. I have my own company (the best company I know) and a beautiful support system I have created. My life is wonderfully full, and there is always room for more.