Being single taught me how important self-love is

'I thought I knew what I wanted. Not until I was alone did I realize I had no clue what I was doing.'

I often come across as headstrong. I’m extroverted and opinionated, but in a good way, I’d like to think. I’m a woman who definitely does not need a man, but I still found myself waiting and hoping “he” would finally come. 

I saw it in movies like in “She’s the Man,” when Duke fell in love with Viola, a determined and quirky girl who loved soccer, for who she truly was. I assumed Channing Tatum was going to come and sweep me off my feet. 

And I saw it in real life. From my sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents and especially my parents, I saw people grow through love. With my young and naive perspective, I thought this made them better people. 

From that point on, I was convinced the perfect prince charming would save me from normality and provide me the validation I so badly craved. 

All these years, he still hasn’t come. 

But while sitting in my ivory tower all alone, I found someone else to love — me. 

From my singledom rose a new perspective and outlook that showed me the way I view myself is what matters most. 

There are some who think the be-all-end-all of life is to be in a relationship, that if they don’t find a potential spouse by the time they are 24 years old might as well become a lonely spinster

To think a person’s value is determined by whether or not they are in a relationship is mind-boggling to me now. 

Today I look back at this idea and cringe. But sadly, I thought this at one point, and I knew so many girls growing up who said their only goal in life was to find a rich husband. 

These outside influences did quite a number on me, especially during my formative years. I forced crushes and fell for guys who never gave me the time of day, more or less actually cared about my feelings.

I constantly adopted new personas to impress them because I needed a boyfriend to feel good about who I was — right? 

This didn’t work for me (shocking, right?), and each time I left more heartbroken than the last. I tried making excuses — maybe he just wasn’t ready for a girl like me.

I thought I knew what I wanted. Not until I was alone did I realize I had no clue what I was doing.

I was so focused on pleasing other people and trying to gain their affection because I didn’t love myself. I had insecurities I did not come to terms with. I just assumed a relationship would fix it all. 

Affirmations may be nice, but they don’t change the way you feel about yourself. A boy could tell me I am beautiful, intelligent and kind, but this does not mean I will believe him. At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters is my own.

A wise man once said, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” It may be cliche to say self-love comes first, but sometimes you need to accept who are, flaws and all, in order to allow someone in. 

At that point in my life, I wasn’t happy with who I was. I thought if someone told me otherwise, everything would be fine, but it only made it worse. 

If you are not OK with the person who stares back in the mirror, you might not be ready for a relationship. I needed to be alone to learn this. I needed to be the one to remind myself of my worth. No one else could do it but me. 

It’s truly a process to love yourself, and it’s something I still struggle with every day. 

Despite it all, I am learning. I am coming to the conclusion that although I am a mess, I deserve nothing more than to be loved — and that comes down to me. 


Reach the reporter at omunson@asu.edu and follow @munson_olivia on Twitter. 

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