Annoyingly, regardless of our own take on our status, the holidays continue to be a tough time to be single. Even if we’re enjoying it, enthralled in our own independence, and, let’s be real here, f*cking thriving, we still run into inconveniences, self-destructive thoughts, and pity. Ugh, the pity.
It can be hard to convince coupled-up friends that we’re doing just fine on our own. We try to respond to the empathetic looks with positivity, but unwarranted condolences can feel insulting and alienating. The very act of trying to explain to others that we’re fine in our singledom—happy, even—feels counterproductive, as if mentioning it at all is the very act of convincing ourselves. Such a fun, solo paradox to partake in.
Then, there are the other occasions—the moments of rejection. These are not seasonal; they can happen anytime. That (what we thought was) amazing Hinge date never texted back, your painful crush isn’t requited, or you’re just downright tired of being single, but the people you meet just aren’t giving you that spark you’re looking for in a partner. These can cumulate into feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, and incompleteness. But hey now, hold the phone!
Validation does NOT come from someone else. While it can in the short run, i.e. that hit of dopamine from an Instagram “like,” or that oxytocin flood from physical affection, long-term fulfillment comes from inside yourself. One person cannot be your everything, despite the gushy captions on social media from those in love, betrothed, etc. Let’s not forget that the inside of relationships can be FULL of insecurity, self-doubt, drama, and feelings of inadequacy as well.
Your worth is only about you, period. There’s a huge part of Buddhism here that resonates with us, and that is to have a loose idea of attachment. We can be attached to things, people, family, and lovers, but not codependently. We have everything we need inside of us, and everything else is just the sweet, sweet cherry on top. Here are some ways to remind yourself of your worth.
If journaling sends you eye-rolling to the high heavens, try to meet our gaze for a sec. There are many scientific studies touting the incredible effects that journaling has on the mind and happiness levels.
Thought of as “emotion-focused self-regulation,” journaling allows us a creative, open, judgment-free space to write down dreams and goals so that we can see more clearly how to actualize them, reminding us we have the power to design our lives and our outcomes. Gratitude journaling reminds us how much we have, how much we have achieved, and all of the love in our lives—from other people, and from ourselves.
Lengthy free-writing doesn’t come easy for, or speak to, everyone, and that’s OK! There are so many journal options available that provide us with thoughtful prompts, new perspectives, and ways to organize our thoughts and manifest. Some journals only ask that we give them five minutes at a time. We can even just grab those negative self-thoughts out of thin air and write them down as a question. For example, if we are feeling stupid and ugly and unloveable, try writing down: “Am I unloveable? Am I ugly? Am I stupid?” They might look ridiculous on paper, reminding us that we are very loved, absolutely nourished, beautiful, self-aware, and compassionate beings.
Poosh Favorites: Journals
Cook for yourself.
Of course, we feed ourselves. But taking the time to cook a thoughtful, involved meal for one is the ultimate act of self-love. Just as cooking for a loved one is deeply loving, taking that time for yourself feels incredible. After all, just because it’s only you doesn’t mean you only deserve takeout, fridge scraps, and scrambled eggs for dinner. Plus, the leftovers tomorrow will have you thinking, “Wow, thanks past me! Present and future me love you very much.”
Going back to those happiness hormones (did we mention delicious food also spikes your dopamine?), exercise most obviously produces hormones. Without holding ourselves to perfection or unrealistic, highly edited standards, movement each day juices those happiness hormones and connects us to our bodies.
Mix up your workout routine and connect to movement differently. Instead of going into a workout thinking of it as result-oriented, or something to get out of the way and get on with your day, consider it, dare we say, fun! Thoughtfully connect to each muscle. Slow down your movements. Think of it as a moment of play, and an opportunity to be incredibly mindful and just in that very moment with your body. Remember to breathe, flooding your brain and body with oxygen and energy.
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Call a loved one, and go out with couple friends.
Do not fear the title of “third wheel.” If a relationship is something you crave, avoiding those in them won’t numb the feeling. Allow yourself to revel in your independence, and feel comfortable with mutual friends in love. Plus, witnessing other relationships may give you a sense of a standard—illuminating what you want or don’t want when you do meet someone. Our friend Lacy Phillips calls these kinds of people expanders.
And, even if we don’t feel like jumping on the phone because we are feeling so bleh, a call with a friend can do something incredible for our mind and soul. Connecting, laughing, and even commiserating builds a sense of community, reminding us that “single” doesn’t at all mean “alone.”
Work on your self-pleasure.
While this may sound silly to some—”Um, I think I know how to turn my vibrator on, thanks”—self-pleasure is so much more than that quick burst some refer to as a genital sneeze. While orgasms definitely also juice happiness hormones in a major way, touching oneself lovingly, exploring the body, massaging, and trying out new toys can bring us to new orgasmic depths we may be too inhibited to even experience with a partner until we master it on our own.
Self-pleasure is an incredibly powerful tool for harnessing sexuality and power. And the idea of the orgasm being that “genital sneeze” is lacking. Our whole bodies can feel orgasmic pleasure, but it takes practice. Only you can feel comfortable giving yourself the time to explore, experiment, fail, try again, and find a new version of your most enjoyable self. Now that’s validation.
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