5 Important Lessons I Learned From Being Single After A Long Time

"It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are."
- E.E. Cummings

Photo by Kat Rosario

I cannot even begin to tell you how crazy September was. It was a month of heartaches, tears, and countless tossing and turning in bed. But it was also a month of trying things for the first time, appreciating the now,  and making new friendships; a month of spontaneous night outs, drastic changes, lessons learned, and moments that make you go "I'm-so-glad-I-dodged-that-bullet". Most importantly, it was a month of growing up and discovering who I really am.

Though bittersweet, I will always remember my September.

Here are five things I learned this month, and hopefully, you'll also learn a thing or two from me :) 

1. Sometimes, it's okay not to be okay.

Don't keep it all to yourself. More importantly, don't lie to yourself about how you feel. As Sigmund Freud once said, "Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways."

It's okay to get upset about a failed relationship. It's okay to get hurt. It's okay to feel sad.  Don't get mad at yourself for being human. 

2. Being single isn't a big deal.

I used to be the type of girl who was always in a relationship; the dependent, damsel-in-distress who just needed a boyfriend. Well, surprise, surprise: being single isn't a bad thing after all. And because I had time to think, reflect, and do things on my own, I realized just how strong I was. The best part? I got to focus on my priorities and know myself 30x better.

Time alone is time to grow. Cherish it. Make the most out of it. If a man or woman comes along, then that's good. But if no one comes, you'll still be fine. :)

3. It's nice having someone be there for you. But there are some moments when you have to do things by yourself.

Sometimes, you have to watch that movie alone. Sometimes, you have to open the door for yourself. Sometimes, you have to learn how to ride solo. Sometimes, you have to be your own source of strength. Doing things for yourself is beautiful in itself.

4. Don't rush into things.

After breaking off my 2-year relationship a few months ago, I rushed into love right away. I dated men who were looking for something else, and I ended up getting even more hurt. Don't rush relationships. Live in the now. As the saying goes, "Don't look for love. Quietly give it away and let it find you back."

5. Don't get fooled by grand gestures; it's the little things that matter most.

Just recently, I dated a guy who did all these grand things for me. Of course, I got super kilig. I felt like I was starring in my own romantic movie!  But as time went by, I realized that all these grand gestures don't really matter if he isn't there for the small moments that mattered the most. He was only there for me when everything was convenient, but he wasn't there when I needed a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, or a friend to talk to.  Later on, I found out that he was dating someone else. I learned to wait for the right person the hard way.

Darling, remember: it's the little things that matter the most :)