By: DeJoné Miles
So, what do “they” really mean when they say “work on you” during your season of singlehood? Well, let me explain. Usually “they” say this after you either finally stop beating your head up against the wall and break up with that loser lover, or after you’ve been single for a while and you’re growing tired of the wait.
The speech typically goes something like this, “Use this is the time to focus on you, to heal you, to work on you…blah blah blah.” Yes, you have heard it all before, however, they are right! But! Let me tell you what they REALLY mean in a way that you can start applying today to get ya mind right.
The in between time of dating and courting is valuable time that should be used to re-brand yourself, so take advantage. Let us call this time of singlehood the “Preparation Season.”
I’ve personally been single for a while, yes, legally single, but more relevantly speaking, socially single, meaning I have not been in a long-term, committed relationship during this time. Though I am only in my mid-twenties, the last few years of me living single has consisted of false-dating, having friends-with-benefits and a couple situationships.
During this time I have desperately wanted to practice the “I’m single and working on me” motto, but obviously I failed at it. It has not been until very recently, like in the last few weeks, that I recognized I had not been effectively practicing what it meant to “work on myself” as a single person. So, here is my “get real with you” reality check that helped me get the picture.
Re-focus your energy and efforts.
I didn’t understand how working on me was supposed to turn off my genuine desire to be in a relationship and to be loved and cared for. Let’s be real and acknowledge how challenging it is to not desire a romantic life when you see love all around you whether it’s real, pretend, or straight fraudulent! I mean, from your closest friends having boyfriends to seeing everyone on your social media timelines being proposed to and getting married, it can be hard.
So, again they say to not worry about anyone else or as I like to say “keep your eyes on your own paper” and just “work on yourself”. While it sounds so good, simple and easy, I still could not grapple the practical side of it. I interpreted “work on yourself” to mean that I should focus on my career, nurture my professional development, ramp up my fitness regimen, etc. Wait- I mean, wasn’t I doing that anyway?
Wasn’t I always putting my best foot forward at work and developing my skills to advance in my career, taking courses to add to my education credentials, and keeping my body right and tight? All the things that suggested personal development in my mind I had BEEN doing, so I did not get it.
It didn’t feel very different to “work on myself” in my season of singlehood after dropping all my love interests. I kept trying to figure out what this “working on me” thing actually looked like in action if it meant doing the things I was doing anyway. So THAT, ladies and gentlemen, was my problem. I was focused on the wrong things by doing what I had been doing all along! Something had to give, then it clicked.
Develop your growth areas.
I am a very literal person so when all the bloggers and relationship experts and gurus listed the things to do during singlehood like start working-out or take up a new hobby, I was not quite getting it because didn’t they know that the progressive millennial woman of the 21st Century does all those things on the regular hunty! *snap snap, flips hair* Nonetheless, as trivial and “right in yo face” as it may seem to me now, I just learned what it truly means to work on yourself.
Working on yourself during your season of singlehood means working on the areas of your life that you have not previously worked on or that you don’t normally spend much time putting your focusing toward. It also means getting clear about the things you want out of life outside of a relationship and marriage.
Does that sound better and more practical? Well it does to me. Let me go deeper with this. So, if you always workout or have been budgeting your money like a champ then maybe for you those are not the “work on yourself” areas you need to focus on. Maybe for the person who already hits the gym regularly it is your emotional issues that keep leading you to making the same mistakes in relationships and that is your “work on yourself” area that you can finally look into and make that therapy session a must now that you are single.
Maybe for the person who loves to cook new recipes often, the “work on yourself” area is not trying out yet a new recipe or taking up cooking lessons at all, but it is building a better relationship with family members that you have let wane. Pull out a note pad and a pen and take inventory of your life and identify what area you can further develop.
Start there until every area of your life is healthy and where you want it to be. Once all of the categories in your wheel of life are balanced work to keep them that way and seek more opportunities that will stretch and grow you.
Get clear about your life goals outside of a romantic relationship.
So, we have determined that “work on yourself” means to look at each and every area of your life, (e.g. physical health, mental health, personal finance, emotional well-being/spiritually, education, career, etc.) and decide what area you lack in or the area you can strengthen. The second part of what it means to “work on yourself” is to get clear about what you want out of your life besides a relationship.
When you focus on any one area of your life 9 times of 10 you neglect another area which will eventually trigger a downward spiral. When you have goals for your life that do not include getting a man or being in a marriage or a relationship you take the pressure off of yourself. By putting your focus and energy into an area that you actually can control while also becoming the best person you can be, something special happens.
Quite naturally you begin to receive what you wanted in the first place and that is to attract real love in your life because now you are the person you want to be with and that energy of self-love, purpose, and fulfillment is radiating into the universe and the universe always responds. So, here’s to getting real with your MFn self (and I say that affectionately) and becoming a better you during your season of singlehood! Cheers mama!