If you really are going to be a happy single, you have to stop treating being single as the annoying time that you pass between relationships, and embrace it. Rather than focusing on what you lack, focus on what you have: You.

One of the dangers of treating singledom as if it is a great misfortune, is that you are likely to set yourself up for a bad relationship. If you’re so desperate to lose your single status, it most definitely clouds your judgment and also allows negativity, insecurity and fear to be the drivers of your interactions and decisions. I can most definitely guarantee, that until YOU are happy with YOU, independent of anybody else, you will find it difficult to be happy with someone else. Whatever you do, never rely on someone else to be the reason for your happiness and the basis of your existence, because god help you if something changes or they’re having an off day, week, month or year. Don’t put the responsibility for your happiness in the hands of someone who doesn’t even exist yet. Make it your responsibility to be happy.

1. Do things on your own

Many people fear being single, especially because the idea of doing things on their own, having to spend time in their own company fills them with dread. Do basic things like going to a cafe or restaurant on your own, or try going to the movies. Trust me, no one gives a monkeys that you’re there on your own; as humans we’re very self-involved, not staring at you making judgments.

2. Spend quality time at home

Make your space your own. Surround yourself with things that you love and make sure that everytime you put your foot over the threshold, you’re going home to a place where you can chill. I used to love reading, watching DVDs and defining my home to my tastes when I was single and when people would stay, much as I loved their company, I loved being by myself again.

3. Live for now, not the pipe dreams of the future

Living the type of life you desire should not be something reserved for when you are in a relationship. You are a unique individual with your own goals and dreams that you should be working to regardless. Stop pondering what it’ll be like when it’s the future and you have the relationship, house and 2.4 children and enjoy your reality and make it your own.

4. If you have bad habits, sort them out

I don’t mean leaving the washing in the washing machine for so long it smells; I mean bad relationship habits. Get to know you and understand who you are and why you may have made certain relationship decisions and get a handle on where you want to be. Saying that you want happiness and a relationship is one thing, but you’d be surprised at how your relationship choices are blocking you from the very thing you claim to want.

5. Clean out your emotional closet

Everyone has a little baggage but if you’re carrying enough to fill up a baggage terminal, you will struggle to be happy alone or in a relationship. Get closure, forgive, learn and move on. Make sure that you’re not allowing a pattern to take hold because you haven’t dealt with any underlying issues.

6. Have a direction

Even if you don’t look it ever again or for a long time, do a list of your short, medium and long term goals as it gives you a surprising amount of clarity about what you are looking to achieve. I did this a couple of years ago and I realised that certain things were important to me, and I made a point of going after what I wanted. It gives you a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

7. Fine-tune your filters

I listened to a lot of sh*te when I was single and it took a long time before I realised that some friends, family, other peers and society in general, project their own fear of what being single means to them onto you. I found that I really enjoyed being single when I told certain people to zip it and developed the hide of a rhino for everyone else. It’s not easy but it becomes easier, the more secure you are about yourself and your lifestyle choices. You’ll believe anything that is said to you if you feel like sh*t and have low self-esteem. And if there are certain friends that can’t seem to be around you without belittling your life, don’t hang with them.

8. Nurture your other relationships

People that resent being single are the very people that sideline friends, family and work when a new prospect comes along. Ramp up your social life, reconnect with your friends, and create and define your social life, obviously leaving room for some quality time with you!

9. Keep a Feelings Diary

If you do date, keep a feelings diary. You don’t need to write an essay, but jot down notes on how you feel when you’re around the person and when you’re on your own. It is an eye opening experience and I’ve had readers emailing me telling me that they had seen themselves and their interactions in whole new light, and ended it with unsuitable partners. You know it’s not right when you recognise that you’re happier on your own, and ultimately, it’s about feeling good about yourself, whether you’re single or coupled up.

Remember, like everything, it takes work to have a good relationship with yourself but if you put the effort in, not only will you reap the rewards, but you will actually redefine your lifestyle choice as something positive

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