We’ve all heard about — and hopefully dismissed — the “Single, Sad, Lonely Black Woman” pseudo-crisis. But while this situation may not be as dire as the mainstream media would like us to believe, the truth is that there are some women who are single and unhappy. But this has less to do with the race of the women or the availability of companionship, and more to do with a misunderstanding of how important — and fabulous — this time alone can be.

Too many women are wasting their single lives, engaged in a desperate search for “the one,” when really, the one is staring them down in the mirror, waiting for them to remember that “one” is a whole number all by itself, and not a fraction. You may know some of those women. You might even be one of those women. And if so, I have some good news for you: You don’t have to be one anymore!

No matter your age or social status, it is never too late to take charge of your own happiness. Use these five simple and overlapping steps to get busy living — and loving — your single life:

Step 1. Date Yourself. A once-a-month date with you — and only you — is a must-do for loving your single life. Take yourself out to a restaurant and ask for a table for one. The hosts may try to seat you at the bar. Do not let them! You are not there to drink away your single misery or to hopefully meet some dashing stranger. You are there to enjoy yourself and your food. Get yourself a table and sit there — without a book, a magazine, a file from work, or your cell phone. Sit there and just be. Have your drink and your food and get lost in the sea of your own thoughts and absorbing the world around you.
This may be uncomfortable the first time you try it, but you should take that discomfort as a sign that you are on the right track. You are feeling what you are supposed to be feeling: “alone.” Not only will you feel alone, but everyone else around you will know you’re alone, too. But that thought, and that feeling, will only be scary for as long as you allow it to be. And most importantly, you will look around and discover that you did not, in fact, die from solitude.

With time, you will hopefully grow to enjoy the moments you get to focus solely on yourself and your thoughts. It is a wonderful way to get to know yourself, deal with your fears, and examine your feelings.
But, if you find you are bored with your own thoughts, Step 2 will definitely help.

Step 2. Get Uncomfortable. Get outside of your box of comfort and explore the world around you. Expand your horizons by trying something new: taste a new kind of food, study a new language, travel some place you’ve never been, learn about a new culture, pick up a new hobby, read books of an atypical genre.

The best way to get uncomfortable is to physically go some place new. Most all newspapers have an events section denoting what activities are going on in your area. Choose something you’ve never done before, grab some girlfriends, and go. Go out in your community and get involved. Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty working for the benefit of your community. There is nothing more fulfilling or purposeful than giving back. And the more of life you have experienced, the more you will have to talk about with others and reflect upon when you are dating yourself.

Step 3. Achieve Career Goals. A wise woman once said, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” To help you decide what you want to do with your life, ask yourself these questions: What is your passion? If you could make a living doing what you enjoy doing, how would you do it? If you are already working in your desired field, what is the utmost that you could achieve in that field? Visualize where you want to be in your career, and then execute the vision. Seek out mentors who have already achieved what you desire and who are willing to provide you with encouragement and advise you on what your next steps should be and what pitfalls to beware of. Nothing adds to loving your life like knowing that you can achieve a goal you set for yourself, and getting paid to do exactly what makes you happy.

Step 4. Get Healthy. Happiness starts from within. Take care of yourself by eating right, drinking plenty of water, and exercising daily to get the energy you need to get out and try new activities and reach new heights in your career. A healthy lifestyle will also manifest on the outside in the form of clearer skin and a more fit body. Looking good is a great start to feeling good about yourself. But it is certainly not all there is to feeling good. If there are situations that you have not been able to deal with emotionally, there is only good in working these problems out with a therapist. If necessary, many health insurance companies cover therapist expenses and some free clinics, non-profit organizations, and churches offer free or low-cost therapist or counseling services. Getting mentally, spiritually, and physically fit are absolute musts when it comes to loving your single life.

Step 5. Chart Your Growth. This is an exciting time of self-discovery for you! So, pick up a journal and start jotting down your experiences. How did your self-date go? How did it make you feel? Where are you at in your career planning? What new thing did you try? Keep track of what you are learning about yourself. What do you like? What would you like to change? Simply document what you are thinking or feeling. Introspection is a duty of the living; it should always be your goal to learn and grow. And in a few years, you can look back on where you were and see how far you’ve come.

Please note: These are not steps to be implemented until you get a man. The most important relationship that you will ever have with another human being is the one you have with yourself. That relationship should be catered to and nurtured on a regular basis. Your once-a-month date with yourself should always be a priority.

And of course, a happy side-effect of implementing these steps is that if you love and enjoy yourself, chances are that someone else will also love and enjoy your company, as well!

But by far, the most important part of loving your single life is really just getting to know — and love — single, solitary you.

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