The other day I was in Target taking an unnecessary stroll down every aisle when I found myself walking past the Valentine’s Day section. While I was browsing for some candy hearts and a card to send to my mom, I overheard two girls complaining back and forth about Valentine’s Day. “Ugh, already?! It’s not even February yet!” I think we can all make our own assumption as to whether they were in a relationship or not 😉
From a very young age, we are taught about the importance of relationships. Relationships are romanticized in the movies we watched: The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White… the list goes on. We are told to go to college, get married, and start a family – as if there was no other way to live a successful life. We are taught early on that a major “milestone” in life is to find our life partner aka a husband/wife. That’s the goal: find a husband, or find a wife.
I had my first boyfriend when I was in 8th grade. From then on, I jumped from relationship to relationship. While I do believe that you grow from everything you experience, I also think that when you get into a relationship at such a young age, it’s easy to stop growing into yourself and start growing into the other person.
After 10 years of continuous relationships, I took a break from dating for one whole year (it seemed like a long period of time back then). Looking back, that was one of the best years of my life. I felt free and had absolutely no one to consider but myself. After years of making decisions based on another person, I was able to see who I was on my own and could start to figure out what I wanted.
And then, the inevitable happened: I got into a new relationship and sank right back into old ways. Whatever they didn’t like, I was willing to change. Whatever they wanted, I would do. The pressure to find “the one” felt so real, that I was willing to do whatever it took to hold on to this toxic relationship. I look back and feel so naive about how I was during that relationship. It was then that I decided to put dating on the back burner.
Soon after, I moved to California, and the timing couldn’t have been better. I was in a new place with a new job and new friends… dating was the furthest thing from my mind. For awhile I lived my life totally carefree – doing whatever I wanted, with whoever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
I’ve now been single for a little over three years and I’ve come to have a good idea of who I am at my core. I’ve come to a comfortable place with myself and I am so thankful for that. We’ve all heard the quote “you’ve got to love yourself before you can love anyone else”. I believe that to the fullest extent. We need to love ourselves and feel fulfilled outside of a relationship before we can ever feel loved and fulfilled in a relationship.
We live in a society where we are constantly pressured to let our relationship status define us. It is drilled into our heads that being in a relationship is synonymous to being successful and/or being happy (which couldn’t be further from the truth – how many unhappy couples do you know?).
We live in a society that if you’re an independent, successful career woman, but you’re single, you can be looked down upon or looked at like a failure by some people. Also, have you ever noticed how we tend to introduce ourselves/others with a relationship status tied to their name? And let’s be real – we certainly judge others for their status as well. (Side note: when will I stop being asked, “Why are you single?” as if it’s a negative thing? :::eye roll::: )
Here’s the point: A relationship status shouldn’t define who you are as a person. And the goal in life should not be to find a husband or a wife. The goal should be happiness. If finding a husband/wife is part of what will truly make you happy, then okay! But I don’t think anyone should feel bad if that isn’t the end goal or if that’s not a priority. And the truth is, if you’re not happy on your own, a relationship will not change that.
As we head into Valentine’s Day, try to shift your mindset if you’re single. Ultimately, the day doesn’t really mean anything, but it can be used as a day to celebrate love! Give your mom a call or send her some flowers. Have a date night with your best friends. Love is not confined to romantic relationships. If you shift your mindset to a more positive outlook, I promise you’ll feel happier overall.
I’m curious to know if you’ve ever felt like your relationship defined who you are. If so, how were you able to snap out of that mindset? Leave a comment below – and Happy Valentine’s Day ❤️