This day and age finds billions of people trying to accomplish the intricate task of figuring out who they are inside. Despite how each may represent him or herself externally, there is most likely a battle going on that outsiders cannot see.
Someone may have bright pink hair, which draws a lot of attention, but may be quiet and reserved. Another person may murmur often but may be able to belt out notes you didn’t even realize existed. You’d never know any of this stuff unless you took the time to build a friendship with these people.
The same concept applies to you. You may walk, talk, dress, speak, eat, etc. in particular ways, but those habits don’t necessarily define you as a whole. You are a makeup of the personality, character, likes, and dislikes you possess. And you owe it to yourself to step back, dig further down, and genuinely get to know yourself. Otherwise, you may lose yourself. But how do you figure out the complex enigma that is you? One of the ways? Choosing to be single.
When we are young, we are drastically developing in so many various ways. Our brains haven’t fully grown, our interests continuously evolve, and we haven’t all gained enough experience to make heavy decisions, like being in serious relationships.
If there is that special someone, we are prone to wear what we call “love goggles.” We tend to see everything through lenses of affection for another person instead of through truth.
Sometimes, those goggles affect our judgment and our actions. Thus, we are unable to clearly decipher what’s best. And well, I’ve had some of those goggles before. Remember that ex-boyfriend I mentioned in the previous article? I would like to give you more insight into that situation.
We met at church and started dating when we were fifteen, not even halfway through with high school. I was on fire for God and loved myself. He had a good head on his shoulders and shared my faith. We chose the same college. I admit I was thrilled when he picked the same place I’d considered attending for a while, but I never gained a more objective outlook on our decision. This truth ended up leading to our downfall.
The co-dependence I touched on in the last article was a leading factor in my identity crisis after we broke up. Not only did I have very few skills—worse off, I didn’t know who Becca was. My ex and I had only discovered what it was like to grow together, neglecting individual growth.
I slowly molded into another version of him. What I did, said, thought, ate, chose, everything mirrored him. When he suggested focusing on ourselves, I got scared.
To cause further damage, it occurred to us that we didn’t actually see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. We started arguing. Maybe he had grown resentful. Perhaps he just wasn’t the man he was meant to be yet. Either way, I began feeling verbally and emotionally abused.
When my opinions were called stupid, I questioned my intelligence. When I cried, he told me it was silly or unnecessary. When I found humor in certain jokes or made some of my own, they were labeled dumb.
A girl who had started out confident was now second-guessing her whole existence. I had let myself go to chase after someone who didn’t want to run with me anymore. In doing that, I lost the ability to stand up for myself because I didn’t know who or what I was even defending.
When the breakup came, my life felt like it was ending because it had revolved around him and who I was with him for so long. All I knew to do was find God in the mess (which is always the first thing you should do in any circumstance).
As weeks and then months went by, I submerged myself in Him and His Word. My time was spent praying, going to class, and doing things that made my heart ache less, like listening to worship. God began revealing things I’d been missing, some of what I’d forgotten: my value, “me” time, voice, joy, confidence, dignity, morals, and peace.
Some ways I’ve rediscovered myself are finding my heart’s desires and what I enjoy. I love Jesus, so my faith is important. I love my friends and family, so quality time is essential. If there is a new mystery novel on the shelf, I’ll read it because I love books. I love tacos, but I’m trying to eat better.
These things are true because I am a person who seeks morals, connection, creativity, and health. Thus, that is who I am: upright, social, imaginative, and health-conscious.
When my eyes opened to how important identity is, singleness became refreshing. It gave me time to understand why I think and process like I do, why I cry over “silly” things, and why I laugh at corny jokes. I’m analytic for a reason. I’m compassionate for a purpose. I enjoy puns and “lame” humor because of my love for words. And every part of me is working together for my good and His glory.
The unrecognizable person I had become has melted away, and I’ve promised never to let myself get buried again. More importantly, I’ve learned to only store my identity in the one who cannot change: God.
When you solely place your identity in someone else, you lose it when he or she decides to walk away. When you place your identity in God, He sings it back to you when you’ve forgotten who you are.
Respectively, if you trust God with your identity, He can bless you with someone who protects it, even if that is your parents or friends. There is also nothing wrong with having a healthy romantic relationship that fuels every part of who you are. But first, it’s easier to have a secure identity that cannot be compromised.
Being with or around the right person means he or she will complement your life, not make you feel less-than or insignificant.
I’m hoping my transparency will relate to you and/or show you the value singleness can bring to your identity. Here is my advice to help you keep it in check:
Imagine standing on a balance board. You have your responsibility for yourself and God’s truth about you on one side, and on the other side, you have everyone else’s say.
At any moment, you can remove a foot from one side of the board, but the other side will always be there. You’ll be reminded of that opposite side the moment you become unbalanced and fall.
It’s up to you to ground yourself in what God and the Word say about you while deciding which people are a definite asset to your well-being, like those who help hold you accountable. It is in this balance of both sides of the board that your identity will thrive the best and that you will be the most stable.
1. Write about your moods, activities, and interactions in a daily journal. This record will help you determine patterns within your feelings, choices, and relationships. It will help you see how they all cross over. Are you keeping God and yourself a healthy priority? Are you starting to morph into your peers? Is your board balanced?
2. Keep track of where your heart and mind wander when you’re alone. This gives you a chance to see how your interests change. Correlate this with your daily journal to see what’s affecting these changes, and make sure it’s because you’re growing and not turning into someone other than who you’re meant to be.
3. Put together some daily confessions you can claim over yourself in the morning. Remind yourself that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Proverbs 139:14). Speak life into your day and week. Tell yourself you are no less worthy if you are single. You are a gift, and God chooses you as His beloved.
4. Seek out things that solidify your values, morals, faith, and peace. You don’t want to spend your time in the middle of toxic conversation or events. Your spiritual, mental, and emotional stabilities all contribute to your identity, and you should surround yourself with what uplifts those aspects of who you are.
I pray that you will continue to cultivate your true identity and place it in the hands of the One who knows you better than you know yourself. The Lord is always looking out for you and wants to protect you (Psalms, chapter 18). All you have to do is trust Him.
We’ve discussed independence and identity, but numerous external things allow you to lead a beneficial single life, too. One aspect is passions! Stay tuned for the third part of the series, Single Isn’t Scary: Passions. To read the series from the beginning, check out Single Isn’t Scary: Positives of Rolling Solo.
Featured Image by Jurien Huggins