A couple of days ago a friend asked me how long I had been single for, and after thinking about it, I honestly had no idea. “A very long time” I replied with a laugh, and then moved on. Being single is something that I rarely think of because it’s not a badge that defines me or very important. However, after thinking back on it, I realised that it’s been just over four and a half years since I’ve been in a committed relationship. When I think back on the last four and a half years, they have without a doubt been the best years of my life – not because of my relationship status, just because they were.

This got me thinking… why do we believe that our self worth is centred around romantic partnerships, while friendships and self-care are pushed to the side?

Why does the fact that I spent one and a half years traveling the world with my best friend (whom I grew to love and respect more than ever as a result) mean very little to people, just because our relationship is “only” a friendship? Why does my favourite pastime (sitting alone on the beach) make strangers look at me all sad, when I am very much enjoying my own company?

If I have learned anything over the last few years, it’s that the time I’ve spent alone has forced me to stare myself in the heart and uncover many uncomfortable truths about who I am and who I’m not – allowing me to grow and heal, and my time spent with friends and strangers has given me space to share some of the deepest, most intimate parts of myself; and to receive that same authenticity back.

Over the years I have met the most wonderful and inspiring people, and I opened myself to them in incredibly vulnerable ways. As a result, I feel more empowered, more free, more alive, more sexy, more strong, and more in love with my whole self than I ever thought possible. I have said “I love you” more than ever – and meant it. I have given myself over and expected nothing in return.

Romantic partnerships are beautiful and wonderful, but we are doing ourselves a disservice to think that they are the most meaningful relationships in our lives. There are so many different kinds of love out there in this world, so why not open yourself to all of it?

So this is my advice: Instead of hopelessly searching for “the one,” learn to prioritise self acceptance, self-care, and genuine friendships. Practice loving unconditionally- starting with yourself. Take time to listen to what your body is telling you. Become the type of person you want to attract into your life. Feel the satisfaction of giving your heart because it feels good to share, not because you expect that energy back. Learn how to feel whole on your own.

After all, love is only as good as the lover.

The Author

tree hugger // star gazer // girl with the dance moves