8 Important Things I’ve Learned From Being Single AF

8 Important Things I’ve Learned From Being Single AF ©iStock/skynesher

After getting out of a long-term relationship, I was single af for four long years. Absolutely sure I was done with men forever, I threw myself into my career and singlehood hardcore and I lived life to the fullest. During that remarkable era, I moved to a new city and rebuilt my life from the ground up. Inevitably, I became stronger than I’ve ever been in my life, and I also learned a lot of important lessons.

  1. You can’t always trust the ones you want to. I’m a gentle soul who wants to see good in everyone, so it was a hard lesson to learn that everyone who appears trustworthy isn’t. I was burned more than once by people who took advantage of my optimistic and trusting nature, and it made me pretty cynical for awhile, struggling with trust issues that are still very real.
  2. I have to have my own best interest in mind (because others don’t). As a lone wolf, I learned that we really do live in a dog-eat-dog world and nobody is going to look after my own best interest better than me. This realization was the beginning of my fierce independence; it’s what drove me to become a strong woman who can do anything on her own.
  3. I actually can accomplish anything I put my mind to. The hardest part about leaving a long-term relationship and becoming single was that the relationship was toxic, so I didn’t have much self-esteem by the time I got out. It was time to sink or swim, and I was really afraid that I might sink. Fortunately, it turned out that I’m a much better swimmer than I had predicted.
  4. I don’t need to run my decisions by anyone. I went from living at home as a teenager to being in a long-term relationship, so I didn’t have much experience making decisions on my own. It seemed scary: what if I mess it all up? As little faith as I had in my own decision-making ability, I learned quickly that I have a lot of wisdom within me and I really don’t need to run my decisions by anyone; I can handle it completely on my own.
  5. If someone really wants to spend time with me, they will. It’s really crappy when a guy constantly claims he “doesn’t have time” but when he does have time, it’s only at 2 a.m. for a quickie. Come on — how dumb do you think I am? I learned purely through experience that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
  6. It’s OK to accept my own imperfection. When I ceased to hear that little voice in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough (my ex), I discovered that it really is OK to admit I’m imperfect and love myself anyway. That realization was pivotal in my recovery from the breakup and my personal growth ever since. Now, I won’t ever let anyone tell me that I have to be perfect to deserve love; that’s just ridiculous.
  7. Being a strong, independent woman is incredibly rewarding. Like anything else, it’s hard sometimes because being alone is no cakewalk. In my experience, however, independence is its own reward because it feels terrific to  know at the end of the day that I have an amazing life because I built it for myself and no one in the world can say, “You wouldn’t have that if it weren’t for me.”
  8. Even the strongest person needs to be loved. When I was in my forever alone phase, I relied on the love of my friends to get me through the rough times when I needed more than myself. Now that I’ve finally found real love, I see how valuable it is to have a complete support system of people who love me. As strong as I am by myself, the most important lesson I learned is that needing love doesn’t make me weak; it just makes me human.
Anna Martin Yonk is a freelance writer and blogger in sunny North Carolina. She loves hanging out with her goofy husband and two rescue dogs and can be found at the beach with a drink in hand whenever possible. You can find her on Instagram @mrsyonkdogmom or on her Facebook page.