No matter what your tita says about it, being single in your 30s isn’t a bad thing. In fact, being single at any point in your life shouldn’t make you feel like you missed the love train, or that you’ll be doomed to an eternity of loneliness. Singlehood is something to be enjoyed and appreciated simply because, as your BFF’s favorite videoke song goes, “learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”

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While being in a relationship is fun, being single is a joy on its own. Research has proven that as you grow older, you tend to enjoy being untethered even more as you realize that there are, in fact,  a lot of things that can give you happiness.

An article on Psychology Today, which features findings from the book Happy Singlehood: The Rising Acceptance and Celebration of Solo Living, revealed that single people are happiest when:

They spend good quality time with family and friends.

Yes, your family and your BFFs are your source of joy, even if some of them do greet you with awkward questions like Bakit wala ka pang boyfriend?” after not seeing them for a long time. While couples also find happiness in spending time with loved ones, the effect on single people is much greater.  

“Compared to married people, unmarried people (including the divorced or separated, widowed, and lifelong single people) socialize more often with their friends, relatives, and coworkers,” writes social psychologist Bella DePaulo Ph.D. “They are spending more time doing the kinds of things that make people happy.”

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They feel accomplished, whether in their careers or in their personal lives.

Single people find contentment in themselves and in doing things that they love, and since they’re more likely to feel free to spend their time as they please, they are able to give ample focus on passions.

They indulge in me-time.

As much as single people enjoy the company of others, they also value time alone. Quips of “tatanda kang mag-isa” don’t really affect them because they don’t mind flying soloin fact, they thrive in it as it actually allows them to learn about and value themselves more.

Dr. Bella continues: “Facing down the stereotypes, the stigma, the marginalizing, and the discrimination (that is, the singlism) is its own form of happiness for people who are single. The process can feel demeaning and difficult, but when single people emerge victorious over the obnoxious attempts to dissuade them from living the life that suits them best, that can be empowering.”

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They realize their own freedom.

Independence may seem scary for someone coming out of a broken relationship, but as time passes, it becomes a welcome change. Single people who have acknowledged their own freedom find that there’s still so much to discover about their own capabilities. Running their own lives, without having to rely on or consider a partner, gives them a chance to test their own strengths and build their street smarts.

What do you do if you’re single and unhappy?

If the lack of relationship is what bothers you, remember that you weren’t born romantically tethered to someone else. Cheesy and cliché as it may sound, you’ll need to look inside yourself and learn to value what you see. Learning to love the person that you are is a long and hard journey for many, so allow yourself time to process it. Once you find joy in solitude, you’ll realize living life with a sense of gratefulness and acceptance makes happiness easier to find.

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