Single people can live rich, meaningful lives, especially when they receive insight from therapy. It is normal to seek intimacy and connection with others, and there are many benefits from deep connections. It is also vital to begin with oneself and find out how to feel fulfilled, no matter the presence or absence of romantic love.
Whether already finding happiness and fulfillment as a single person, or wanting to move toward a more joy-filled life in singlehood, there are lots of steps one can take.
There are many types of therapy. Each of them can help you unlock your best life.
Therapy helps people manage stress and learn more about themselves
In the 1950s, the societal image of therapy–based on movies and other media–was stigmatized. People raised in this generation often express how they did not seek therapy due to fear of being seen as “crazy” or “messed up.” Now, many people, academic institutions, and workplaces acknowledge that therapy is one of the healthiest practices anyone can do, regardless of their current mental state.
In sports, the best athletes have coaches and those coaches make them stronger, faster, and better. Therapists are like coaches but for everyone, and they offer professional support and often, decades of experience.
Newly single people might be processing recent changes and need someone to help them ascertain the next steps. Other people may feel great about their singlehood except for when big social events, like the holidays, occur and they wish they had helpful tips to manage stress.
Everyone in life, no matter their mental state, can benefit from a mental health coach.
Does Therapy Work For Everyone?
Therapy can benefit everyone depending on the quality of the therapy, the skill level of the therapist, and the effort people bring to their sessions. At NAMHS, our practitioners are LMFTs (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists), LCSWs (Licensed Clinical Social Workers), and LPCCs (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors). As general guidance, make sure that you find a therapist who is licensed.
If people resist therapy, it could be worth exploring that resistance with a therapist. Behind that behavior, is there a struggle with accepting help, trusting authority figures, or believing one deserves to feel better? If the latter reason resonates, that could mean that it is time to focus on self-love.
Therapy can be helpful when people experience transitions, such as a romantic breakup, death of a family member or friend, changes at work, or even seasonal changes. If therapy can change lives, why not give it a try?
Loving Yourself Matters, Whether Single or Not
Many people express the need to be loved by someone. There is nothing wrong with this desire, but it’s also important to love oneself. It can lead to unhealthy relationships when people lean on one person to remind them they are loveable and desirable. It is also a lot of pressure for one human to make someone feel that way all the time; in this case, prioritizing self-love might mean prioritizing platonic friendships that bring meaningful connection into one’s life.
When people do not love themselves, whether out of shame, unprocessed trauma, etcetera, they also risk hurting other people. Ever heard the saying “hurt people hurt people?” It means that when people self-loathe, they often take that anger out on other people. The good news is that anyone can work toward loving themselves, even if the idea sounds intimidating or far-fetched.
One way to embrace self-love is to be more compassionate when plans or situations do not work out for you. For someone experiencing social anxiety while at a conference for work, they could “choose compassion” by reminding themselves of how awkward it can be to mingle–rather than berate themselves for getting overwhelmed. Or, if you are having a low self-image day, rather than beginning a crash diet, you could acknowledge the truth: you’re having a low self-image day. After acknowledging this, then you could seek a self-soothing activity that grounds you in the present moment, before making your next decision.
If you’ve ever heard someone say, “Oh I’m so stupid, sorry about that,” then you have heard someone who may struggle with self-love. You can respond to these kinds of statements by assuring that person, “You’re not stupid. You’re human.” This works in reverse too. For example, if your first thought after a simple mistake is, “I’m so stupid, I can’t believe I left my charging cord at work,” try to follow that statement with, “Actually, I’m not stupid. I’m human. And when I’m tired, I forget things more easily.”
By being more gentle with ourselves, we are more ready to extend compassion to others too.
Being Single and Loving Yourself is Possible
Each year, many people make resolutions like, “this is the year I will fall in love with someone.” As mentioned above, there is nothing inherently wrong with a resolution like this; however, as far as a goal you have more influence in making happen, it ranks fairly low. It can be hard to meet the right person, depending on various factors such as timing, openness, emotional availability, attraction, and compatibility.
If struck by loneliness, consider leaning into that “sharp point” as Pema Chodron writes in her book, When Things Fall Apart. With a licensed therapist, you can explore why being single scares you and begin the radical act of loving yourself as you are.
We encourage residents in Redding, Eureka, Fairfield, Woodland, and Monterey to request an appointment to work with a NAMHS therapist in person or inquire about our online therapy care.