How To Not Suck At Relationships—Being Single

A group of people with red paint on their hands in the shape of a heart
Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

This is pretty much the most avoided topic in all of human history and it’s not hard to pinpoint why. Whenever relationships in general are mentioned with friends, partners, colleagues, or coworkers, the focus is always on how to get into them or work on them or polish them. The conversations we aren’t having center on knowing when to not be in relationships.

As a true millennial, I was perusing the Internet in a wild search of an article or a quote that would help me drive this point home. I was looking for a way to explain what I really felt I wanted to talk about. So, I will talk about and expand on three quotes that I feel best explain what I mean about being single: Loving oneself.

“To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.”

— Robert Morley

To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness. The first key. And the idea is so simple that we don’t need a brick to fall from the sky and whack us in the head before we get it. But for some reason, it still eludes us to this day. As we grow from children to adolescents and eventually to adults, we know firsthand the bliss and joy that we experience from forming bonds with people. We value it and, for the most part, cherish it as our own. We seek to have this bond with many, many other souls on this Earth and we are taught how to do so even by people who really have no business in teaching us such things. But we were never really taught to love ourselves. Even the Bible yells this principle out to us to “love our neighbors and people we care about in the same way that we should have ALREADY LEARNED to love ourselves.” Most times I feel God is just standing on some lone cloud in heaven with arms akimbo and looking down at us, his very creation, and wondering just what the hell we’re doing with ourselves.

“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.”

— Shannon L. Alder

This is the reality, as sad as that may be to admit. As a Nigerian, you grow up hearing stories of parents insisting that their wards focus on a certain area of study in college because they 'thought' that their child would do well in such areas. Before we set out into that area of our lives which is supposed to further solidify us in who we are and what we are meant to be, we consult others on what they think we should do or study or be. We never ask ourselves. Being caught up in what people want from you isn’t even loving people. It’s simply caring more of their opinion of you than your opinion of yourself. And it truly is a thing of regret to live a life tethered to the sheer limitations of the minds of other people rather than burst forth in all your grandeur and living up to the image of who you’ve always known yourself to be. Self love comes from looking within, and then without. Not the other way around.

“It is so important to take time for yourself and find clarity. The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.”

— Diane Von Furstenberg

My lady, Diane, couldn’t have said it any better. The first relationship we were ever meant to enter was one with ourselves. Getting to know ourselves and what makes us tick. Learning to not upset ourselves, learning to forgive our own actions before looking for forgiveness elsewhere, learning to be compassionate and tolerant of our actions whilst improving on ourselves daily to become better people. We expect and demand that others be good people to us when we aren’t good people to ourselves.

What does the world need with just another Bowen graduate? Or Harvard graduate? Or another tech guy? Or fashion mogul? Or even another Elon Musk. The world already has plenty. What the world needs is good people. What the world needs is people who can love themselves and translate that love into what they do and how they treat other people.

Get outta here, and I’ll see you in the next one.

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