I find often the perception in society is that if you’re single, you’re unhappy — and if you’re in a relationship, you’re automatically happy. Given how many people live fulfilling single lives and how many people settle into the wrong relationships, this is not always actually the case.
Here are eight reasons it’s totally OK to be single.
1. It shows you don’t lower your standards.
Many people think that if you’re single, it means you can’t find someone. But in reality, it’s smarter to wait for the right person to come along than it is to settle for all of the wrong ones. Give yourself a pat on the back for committing to this and recognizing what you deserve.
2. It gives you time to learn about yourself.
The most important relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself. If that one isn’t healthy, none of your others will be. Often “serial monogamists” have a difficult time finding a long-term healthy relationship because their identity has always been tied to another person.
It is difficult to find a happy, healthy relationship if you have not taken the time to really define what that means to you. How will you recognize it when it comes along?
3. It gives you time to learn about other people.
Sometimes the easiest way to spot the right person is by searching through a crowd of the wrong ones. When you have the time and the freedom to date other people, you can prepare a mental checklist of what you do and don’t want in a partner.
No dating experience is ever a waste of time. If it didn’t bring you what you wanted, it showed you what you don’t want.
4. You have less ex drama.
Negative relationships don’t always just… end. Sometimes you will stay in touch with someone you shouldn’t have even been with in the first place — or you carry emotional baggage into your next relationship from the bad experiences you had. This helps nobody. There is no use in settling into the wrong relationship, which could potentially sabotage what could have been the right one.
5. You can work on yourself.
I’ve already mentioned the importance of learning about yourself; you can also work on yourself. The harsh reality is that you could find the perfect person, but if they’re not interested in you, that will feel even worse.
Of course you should always improve yourself, single or not, but being single helps you focus on what will be best for you and allows you the freedom to fully commit to your goals. This way, when the person you want to be with comes along, you will be ready to receive them.
Hell, don’t just travel — move somewhere new if you want. Learning more about the world helps us learn more about ourselves. I understand (better than anyone) that family and other obligations can keep you from moving, and it’s not just about being in a relationship — but if you have the support from those around you, take a summer in Europe or move across the country.
These things will allow you to develop and discover — and you might just find your match during your journey.
7. You can discover your passions.
Want to try something new or out of the ordinary? When you’re single, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Sure, when you’re in a healthy relationship, you can do these things together, too — but if you find a partner who doesn’t enjoy the same hobbies, you may feel limited.
The benefit to this is twofold: You can go out and do what you want, and you have a higher likelihood of finding someone who shares your interests. It’s a win/win!
8. You’ll never feel trapped.
I talk to a lot of people who feel as though they are in negative relationships, and unable to leave for one reason or another. This, in my opinion, is far worse than being single. Fight through the lonely times, love you for you, and you’ll never accept a situation you wouldn’t want to be in.
Someone who is worthy of your love will never put you in a situation where you feel you must sacrifice your dignity, your integrity, or your self-respect to be with them.
A great relationship will never hinder you or your individual life — it will enhance it. But it takes time to find that great relationship, and you should never feel bad about waiting for it.
You don’t “find” love; love finds you when you go out into the world and begin chasing after your passions. So start chasing.
This post was originally featured on jamesMsama.com