As a woman, you’ve always been taught that being single is one of the worst things that can happen to you. It is something dreadful and something you should avoid at any cost. Of course, not everyone will tell you this directly, but they will definitely imply it.

So, consequently, while growing up, you’ve been trained to determine your value based on your relationship status. As an independent woman, you theoretically know that your value shouldn’t be determined by any man, but at the same time, you feel like you are less worthy for not having a boyfriend by your side. You feel like you are not good enough and that everyone is looking down on you, just because you’ve been single for a while.

And I am here to tell you it’s about time to put an end to these thoughts. And I am also here to tell you it’s time to embrace your single life, because trust me, it is one of the best times you’ll ever have.

The first thing you need to get straight is that being alone and being lonely are two completely different concepts. If you don’t have a boyfriend, that doesn’t mean you need to be lonely and that you should avoid other people. You still have your friends and family and you shouldn’t avoid events or gatherings just because you don’t have a date to accompany you.

And most importantly, you still have yourself.

This is the time of your life when you can do everything your way. Although a romantic relationship brings many positive things to your life, it requires some sacrifices as well. If you want a relationship to work out, you cannot be selfish. But when you are single, everything revolves around you—you become your own center of the universe. You don’t have the burden of taking care of your partner’s needs, nor do you have to meet him halfway. There is no one you should compromise with; you can do whatever makes you and only you happy and that gives you a special sense of liberty. So, this is the period in your life in which you should meet new people, try out new hobbies and do everything you always wanted to do.

When you are single, you have all the time in the world for yourself. Although this might frighten you, it is actually pretty great. It means that you can dedicate your time and energy to yourself only. This is the time to focus on you, the time you should use to get to know the real you, without modifying yourself to be more likable to anyone else. What are your life ambitions and goals? What is it that you really want from life and who is the person you want to become? This is the time to answer only to yourself for all of these questions. Your single life is the time to look for these answers and, more importantly, to look out for yourself. Trust me, discovering yourself is one of the most exciting experiences you’ll ever face.

Your single life will give you a chance to realize how strong and brave you really are. Although not having a partner you could rely on can be quite challenging and overwhelming, it also gives you the possibility to test your strength and independence. In the beginning, you may feel sorry for yourself for going through life alone, but before you know it, this will teach you a lot and it will make you more confident and stronger than ever.

But, most importantly, your single life is the time to start loving and appreciating yourself. It is a period of your life in which you should finally understand your true value. This is the time to realize you are not perfect and you never will be, but a time to accept and learn to love your imperfections. This is the period in which you should fight your insecurities and in which you need to learn the importance of self-love and self-respect. When you start appreciating yourself, you will never again give a place in your life to someone who doesn’t treat you right and doesn’t respect you. Once you become satisfied with yourself as a person, you’ll become more desirable to the opposite sex as well, although this should not be your primary goal.

The most important thing about embracing your single life is realizing that you are a complete individual with and without a man by your side. Of course, a romantic partner can bring you a lot of happiness and love, but you don’t need him to complete you. You should never be with someone just because you are afraid of being alone or because you think the people around you will judge you for not having a partner; it is crucial for you to have a fulfilled life whether you have a romantic relationship or not.