Reality: Relationships aren’t everything, but you are

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Spend your time recognizing and defining your value as an individual, unfettered by the social pressures that make it feel like being in a relationship is the ultimate goal in life. (Lenore Edman/Flickr Creative Commons)

Oh yes, Valentine’s Day, or the single person’s most dreaded holiday that only continues to remind them of their perpetual loneliness. Forget if you’ve never been in a relationship before – then there’s definitely no hope for you. At least, that’s what society taught us to think, commercializing and cashing in on the holiday to celebrate those lucky enough to snag a valentine, and making cynics out of those who feel like the day is victimizing those lacking someone to share it with. But it doesn’t have to be like that. I know even reading through this Valentine Day’s edition of the paper may make you feel like you’re missing out or can’t relate, but even if you may be single, you’re definitely not alone. As much as I understand our surroundings conditioned us into feeling like our relationship status defines us, it’s up to us to start learning how to determine our own worth.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being in a relationship or seeking something akin to it, but amidst our relatives’ meddling questions of “Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet?” to movies featuring characters defined by their love interests to our age group’s growing pressure to make ourselves available to romantic pursuits, we’re bound to question if being single is a valid status. We view it as a temporary state, waiting for the day someone makes a move on us, as opposed to just living our lives and then some kind of connection just happening along the way.

There are many reasons as to why someone may be single, or may not have been in a relationship yet or haven’t had certain experiences yet. Especially trying is the situation created by college and university campuses, in which there is even a larger division between those experienced and those inexperienced, those single and those dating. In a generation that has its fair share of hooking up, casual relationships and steady dating, the wide spectrum of romance and sex will definitely confuse you and make you feel like being single isn’t even an option, because if there are so many options, then how come you’re haven’t been able to snag someone’s attention? However, as long as you are comfortable and secure in your decision, then you shouldn’t worry about what the people around you are doing.

The key is to learn to find comfort in your independence and your power of choosing to be single, rather than feeling insecure about your own worth. Fear of attachment and commitment are common for people who have never been in a relationship, as well as those that have been hurt in a relationship before. By focusing on yourself and what you want, as opposed to trying to mold yourself to the persona that other people expect of you, especially a partner, you may be more at peace with yourself. You should never force yourself into a relationship just because you feel like you should be in one, as you might end up losing your sense of self in a relationship if you start becoming codependent or relying on another person as part of your identity.

Spend your time recognizing and defining your value as an individual, unfettered by the social pressures that make it feel like being in a relationship is the ultimate goal in life. What other facets of your life define you? Determine them and seek comfort in the confidence they bring you. Seek companionship for fun or for another person’s presence, but be sure to have a grasp of who you are and what you want. Bask in the love of others in your life, whether it be from your family or friends, and give some in return. Maybe you’ll come across love or an experience when you’re not looking for it, or you might be fortunate by putting yourself out there. You are worth what you seek, and you’ll feel so much better doing what you want without worrying what others think you should be doing. This Valentine’s Day, love yourself and what you do, single or not. Just because you haven’t been in a relationship or aren’t in one currently doesn’t mean you don’t deserve your own love.


Hollie Lao is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at hollianne.lao@uconn.edu.

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