Being single isn't sad or pathetic — in fact, it's the way you discover what really makes you happy as a person, without the help of anyone else.
The day-to-day perks of our "datecations" — basking in having the bed to ourselves, watching as much Netflix as we want, staying out late without needing to text anyone to "wait up" — are great. But beyond the fun perks, there's a much greater value to being single, one that singer and actress Keke Palmer summed up so in an interview with WWPR-FM's Breakfast Club earlier this month:
"It's very fun to be single, because you know what happens? You find yourself. You understand what it means to love yourself, instead of putting all this energy into give and tug in a relationship."
"Because that's what happens," Palmer said. "When you first fall in love, everything's all gravy. It's all good, it's all clean. And then you start depending on the other person for your happiness. And then it becomes a pull and tug between your egos. You want them to go your way, and they want you to go their way."
"And if you have that love within yourself, you won't be looking for it in somebody else. You'll be able to give and give and give, without feeling like you need to receive. Because you receive it from yourself."
Finding your own happiness... What Palmer highlights about singledom hits at the heart of relationships: You can give and share with another person, but at the end of the day, your sense of self needs to come from you.
That isn't always easy, as our partner's identity can start to overshadow our own. Their love of Quentin Tarantino films becomes our love of Pulp Fiction, and their need to be two hours early to the airport becomes (ugh) our need. It's an idea psychologists call "self-expansion" — the desire to connect with people by growing with them and taking on some of their traits. Moreover, loving someone means wanting to see them happy, which wraps our own happiness up with theirs.
But forgetting what actually makes you happy can be detrimental. In fact, researchers have found that finding your own clear identity and "happy" triggers in adolescence is a precursor to finding maturity and intimacy in later romantic relationships.
... in order to give happily and selflessly: That's what makes being single so incredible: You build a career, dote on your pack of friends and go back to school. As Palmer points out, once you already have that awesome sense of self, you won't require someone else's love to validate you — and you can give selflessly without needing anything back. And that's a lesson you can only really learn on your own.
h/t House of Hippies