Today we are expanding more on my surprisingly popular “How To Be Single” post.
SO! One really important part of life is accepting you for who you are. Identity in Christ is important but so is a basic understanding of you, your mind, your spirit, your body and your heart. It’s better to know what makes you tick then to live another day not knowing what your triggers are.
I’m a huge advocate for self awareness/ a heightened sense of self, etc. In some ways I’m a hippie. Knowing how God made you, and what he crafted in you is important in order to treat your body like a temple as well as love yourself and God more.
Self respect, peace, wholeness, and love are going to be amplified when you practice these things. I can guarantee it. Self love encourages outer love. And Babes, I want more real, Christlike love in the world. We need it.
1) Learn to appreciate being alone
This means truly alone. It is time to find the beauty in it. Build the confidence to go to a cafe alone, a musical, a museum, a festival, a concert, a sports game. Take walks alone. Go to movies alone. Eat meals alone. Go shopping alone. Learn to make friends around you. Be discerning, of course. If you already do these things, identify what you don’t like doing alone and do them. “But MM, how do I learn to love what I hate?” Practice, my darlings. Practice! Do it and teach your mind and soul how to enjoy these tasks or moments alone. A couple summers ago I took a 3 state road trip alone. I didn’t want to. I wanted badly to take it with someone. I didn’t just want it- I dreamed of taking it with someone, anyone! A boyfriend, a friend, a relative- anyone. I ended up taking it myself because the desire to go was worth the trip alone. I found the good things about going alone and did it. Honestly, I’d recommend the open road to a single, strong woman any day. It gave me such confidence, and independence. (I’ll write more on this one day too, I promise). Learn to love the solitude because you will one day have to be forced to be alone for a little while. Eventually you will crave the time to be alone like that. Appreciate the arts now while you can. Take trips, see things, watch a sunset somewhere alone, watch a sunrise. Give yourself experiences that only you will treasure.
2) Find your identity in Christ
It’s imperative to know what God expects of you. I don’t mean what the church expects, what your community expects, what your family expects or what you think religion or society expects. Those things didn’t knit you together in the womb. Identify your talents and your desires and most importantly, WHY you have them. (This could take some time and self discovery, and that’s good!) Dive deep into the things God wants of you. Read books on this topic. The Purpose Driven Life course is one I encourage. **Spoiler Alert: We are to know, love and serve God. ** Take the course though, because it’ll help you identify these things.
3) Don’t be afraid to look up your Zodiac sign and other ancient algorithms
This is something I thought was just plain silly for most of my life. I’ve always been interested in why we do the things we do. Growing up with an emotionally unstable mom made me quick on my feet to gauge the next outburst. I was also a quiet, introverted child and liked to people watch. In highschool I worked in a Chinese restaurant and they had those Chinese Zodiac calendars at each place setting. A few of the little old Chinese ladies liked to guess what animal sign I was born under. The description was too vague to be completely accurate. The Chinese zodiac was never for me. However, discovering and studying the more common zodiac, I found I was a Virgo. Astonishingly enough the Virgo habits and traits are quite accurate. I do not encourage reading your daily horoscope, I’ve never found that helpful. Also don’t get caught up in compatibility diagrams and predictions. They aren’t worth the stress or concern. (Trust me on this one lol) Merely studying the corresponding traits and habits can be very enlightening. I can tell you it’s given me many answers as to why I react to certain things, how I handle breakups, and heartbreak, betrayal, insults etc. Remember, you are in no way confined to these boxes. Because these are studies of human nature, and human nature, my loves, is exactly what God kept us on this earth to overcome.
Another thing to check out is your body’s Ayurveda. Google it or Pinterest it, it’s terribly simple to figure out. It’s a fascinating breakdown of the body types (dosha). It details what foods you should consume and what to avoid, what kind of illnesses you’re more susceptible to etc. Amazingly handy for us ladies. If you want more energy and a better attitude, this is the best hunt for you. Find your type.
4) Take a Myers-Briggs test
This is something you may have to do for a job one day, or may have already done in high school. I especially encourage this once you’ve established yourself a bit on your own, specifically when single and when your mental health is what feels at its peak. You can find these tests free online. Research other famous people with the same personality type and see what kind of club you’re in. Be proud of who you are.
5) Study your family history as far back as you can
Ask relatives, look through photo albums, who was in the military, who had this many kids, where did they end up, who immigrated, where did they immigrate from? What’s your home country? There is so much to learn. Finding out what nationalities you have in your ancestry is important to the preservation of history and a strong sense of identity in the family you are part of. Learning that I’m only a 3rd Generation American did something for me. I became more aware of oppression when I realized my great grandfather forbade my family to speak in the native tongue in public. I had more respect for hard work when I found out that my great grandparents came through Ellis Island around 1900 with a few dollars and built a thriving business from nothing. I felt more patriotic when I learned my grandfather was part of the D-Day invasion on Omaha beach and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Find your history.
6) Look up the meaning of your name
I’ve always believed there’s a reason you are called by what you are. I think our names are prophetic. Look up yours. You might be surprised by its history and meaning. Is it prophetic? If it’s not yet, it may be soon. Be proud of your name.
7) Read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Not only is this important pre-marriage, but it’s just important to know! As a single woman it can be easy to fall for a guy who hits the nail on the head the first time around with your love language. Don’t let that cloud your mind. Identify what makes you feel special and loved and why. READ the book! Don’t just take the test. (Seriously, it’s a super easy read)
If you’re really struggling with what and who you are this is for you. If you’ve come out of a long term relationship, or an abusive home or situation, or have always wondered who you were you need to do this. When I left an abusive home I struggled beyond comprehension to figure out who I was. My mother had a Personality Disorder that stifled any originality around her. So by the time I was 18 I wasn’t sure what made me ME at a fundamental level. So this is what I did:
I made a list of everything I love. Absolutely everything, babes. Children’s laughter, the sound of a thunderstorm, gifts, flowers plants; everything you can think of. Be specific.
Do the same thing with everything you hate. What makes you angry, what makes you cry, what makes you snap at someone. Everything. Be specific.
Make a list of all the things you love about yourself. Your hair? Your hands? Your laugh? Your smile? Your sense of humor? Your generosity? Get deep. Be specific.
Now make a list of the things you don’t really like about yourself. Nose too crooked? Teeth a little off? Freckles you’ve never really been fond of? Messy? Maybe you swear a little more than you should? Gossip? Don’t listen enough? Everything. Be specific. If you want a clearer understanding of some character flaws or improvements you can make as a person (Deep breaths, there is always room for improvement and no one is perfect.) ask a trusted friend, teacher, mentor, or relative. This can be a delicate thing to approach but it’s important to identify. After each item on your list that you can’t change (physical features, medical issues etc) write next to the item “…and I’m ok with that.” Next to the items you can change (gossip, attitude, listening, organization, empathy etc) write “…and I’m working on that.” Begin to love the things that are uniquely you.
At the end of each list. Read through them and OWN each and every item. Be ok with those items. Accept the ones you can. Work on the ones you can’t. Love yourself. Because that, on the paper, is you. Every ounce of you. Love you.
9) Accept that you are you.
Flawed, saved by grace, strong, independent, opinionated, loved, capable, confident, amazing, work in progress, YOU. You’re God’s masterpiece. I’ve always loved the verse in Zephaniah 3:17 where it says God rejoices over us with singing. That’s quite a celebration. The creator of the universe sings over YOU. You should always be growing, learning, and changing. In fact, don’t be afraid to do some of these steps each year to discover more about yourself. Especially the lists portion.
The Mild Millennial