How to Stop Judging Yourself for Being Single
Being in a relationship where you are loved and supported is pretty rad.
But as much as many of us would love to experience that, we need to abandon the idea that we need it. We have to stop settling for terrible relationships just to say that we’re in one. For some reason, many of us have made our relationship status into an expression of our worthiness, when being single or taken has nothing to do with who we are as people.
Well, it’s time for us to stop. We sat down with two life coaches to talk about how women attach their self worth to their relationship status, why we do it, and how to stop.
Erin Elizabeth Wehrenberg is a writer and life coach who often works with clients who have “given their power away” in relationships.
“When you’re socialized as a woman, you learn to tie your worth to men,” Erin said. She raises a good point about how we see ourselves in terms of not only a romantic relationship, but in terms of the male gaze in general.
“You were taught that you exist based on the men in your life — so fathers, brothers, and typically through a male partner,” she said.
Seeing ourselves through the men in our lives, and how they perceive us, often manifests itself in relationships that disempower us. Instead of waiting to meet someone who adds genuine value to our lives, we start searching for anyone who just wants us. We end up romanticizing fuckboys. We don’t leave when we should.
“Our culture is geared towards unhealthy pictures of a romantic partner,” Erin said, “Like you complete me, I can’t live without you, I was empty until I met you, and I believe in love that makes us feel wonderful and good.”
When we see a romantic partner as a need, our lives then feel empty without one and we task ourselves with filling a space that doesn’t even exist.
Brittany Josephina, an empowerment coach and wellness educator, noticed that the need for companionship in many of her clients was usually the hidden desire for something else.
“I have clients who come to me initially saying that they want to be in a relationship and asking for tips on how to make that happen,” she said. “However, as we pull back the layers, the truth is, they’re often looking for a deeper relationship with themselves.”
When we develop our relationship with self, we stop looking for someone else to play superhero for us. We can finally stop glorifying the phrase “he saved me” when all it does is encourage us to see our partner as some kind of magical antidepressant. The right person, and the right relationship, is going to complement you, not rescue you. So chill out, Rapunzel.
It can also be frustrating when you’re hearing everyone’s unsolicited opinion on your dating status. The older I get, the more my parents, friends, random strangers, feel comfortable asking me, “Why are you still single? Are you putting yourself out there?” Every time I hear something like that, I could actually scream. How are we supposed to deal with the pressure from others to settle down already?
“Even if you’re in a place where other people can say things about you and define things for you, you have enough agency over yourself to release those fear stories,” Erin said, “you can forgive other people for convincing you to be afraid and forgive yourself for believing it.”
It’s up to us not to buy into someone else’s relationship fears. And sometimes it’s hard, sometimes we won’t be able to help it, but in the meantime of a relationship, compassion with self is a major key.
“Figure out all of those beautiful, hilarious, quirky things about you that simply make you you,” Brittany advised, “This helps remind you why someone deserves to be in a relationship with you. It’s not just about being chosen, it’s about you doing the picking as well.”