Being single can be a slog. And after a while, it can be tough to fight off visions of yourself choking to death on a grape in your tiny apartment alone surrounded by cats. But there’s no need to freak out — that’s not going to happen. Let’s put the panic and cynicism away, starting with these useless thoughts that we’re all guilty of entertaining:
1. Everyone else is coupling up — I must be doing something wrong.
You’re not on The Bachelor — falling in love is not a competition that involves waiting to be picked. And if it’s not a competition, you don’t need to worry about what everyone else is doing, right? Just because your girlfriends have found boyfriends or gotten engaged doesn’t make them better than you. It just means their time came. Yours will come too and when it happens, it’ll be amaaaazing… Focus on that. In the meantime, do you.
2. If I were hotter/skinnier/smarter/more interesting, I’d have someone by now.
Insecurity is one of the most useless emotions. Think about it: What has it done for you lately? Not a goddamn thing, right? Except maybe bum you out and keep you down. And the worst part: because confidence is the single most attractive quality a person can have, focusing on your weaknesses actually makes you less attractive. No matter what you look like or what your shortcomings are, love yourself — the more you behave like a desirable woman, the more men will respond to you like one. So the next time you catch yourself having self-negating thoughts, tell yourself to STFU.
3. All the good men are taken.
No, they’re not. Sure, it feels that way when you’re going on crappy date after crappy date but remember: it only takes one. And like the princess in the fairytale, you’re going to end up kissing a hell of a lot of frogs before you find him. That’s not a bad thing — it’s just the way it works. The frogs are lessons; they teach you what you want/need and help you become ready when the right guy appears. So don’t get cynical. Rest assured that there’s a fantastic guy out there who’s trudging through his share of lame girls looking for YOU.
4. I should just settle.
As long as you don’t have outlandish expectations — like, he needs to look like a model and be kind and be rich — you’re probably not being too picky. You’re probably just looking for a guy that fits well with you and that’s okay. In fact, that’s exactly what you should be looking for. Just because it’s taking a while — which is no surprise because a real connection can take some time to find — doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. And the next time you catch yourself wondering if you want too much, remember: the biggest difference between people who have more and those who have less is that the ones who have more believe they deserve it. In other words, what you expect is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Accept less, become less, get less… Expect more, become more, get more. So, keep an open mind but do not settle for anyone that’s not worthy of you.
5. I’m running out of time if I want to have kids.
We totally get it. The biological clock is a total bitch. But even if you don’t find your boo by [insert your panic age here], that doesn’t mean you’re destined to be manless and childless. Chances are you’ll fall in love with plenty of time to spare — how many women do you know that never found anyone in spite of trying? probably not a lot — but even if you end up being a late bloomer in love, you’ll be just fine because, these days, there are tons of ways to start a family once you’re ready. Not only do plenty of women get pregnant naturally in their 40s and have healthy babies, but the ones that don’t often find success with frozen eggs, IVF, donor eggs, surrogacy or adoption. So, instead of living in a panic, acting like you’re going to turn into a pumpkin at midnight, relax… Being young and single is awesome — don’t squander it worrying about something that will likely never even be an issue in the end.
(This article was previously published under the headline “5 Self-Defeating Thoughts You Have When You’re Single – How to Silence Them” but we’re re-posting it as a reminder to our audience of fabulous single women to keep the faith this Valentine’s Day…)