11 signs you’re choosing singlehood as a path to self-discovery

In my twenties, my Buddhist monk friend Andy told me that he was going into a two-year retreat at his monastery. He’d live twenty-four hours a day non-stop with a group of people.

The plan was that they’d annoy each other into tons of self-knowledge, healing and spiritual growth.

I just laughed and said, “Why don’t you just get married and have kids?”

Because that’s what romantic relationships give us, right?

But what if you’re single? Does this mean that as well as having to take the bins out yourself, you’re (gasp!) going to miss out on all that self-discovery?

Of course not. (Phew!)

Relationships can promote our growth or stagnate and stall it. Singlehood can be a lonely waiting room or a rich, fertile ground for self-growth on all levels.

As the old song goes, “It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it.”

So, let’s do singlehood right! Let’s max out its potential to rocket-boost our growth, sort out our sh*t and expand our lives in so many ways.

You’re choosing singlehood as a path to self-discovery if…

1) You know you’re not missing out on love

Let’s get this one out there right way. It’s the elephant in the singlehood room. For all the great self-growth you’re experiencing while single, you’re still missing out on true love, right?


To explain why, I’m handing this one over to a spiritual master…

Eckhart Tolle says: “True love is transcendental. (…) The recognition of the other as yourself in essence – not the form – is true love. As long as the conditioned mind operates and you are completely identified with it, there’s no true love.”

So, true love is actually an understanding that we are all one, essentially. It’s a higher state that reaches beyond the demands, projections and insecurities of the ego mind. We can practise this all the time, with everyone and everything, everywhere.

The self-growth you experience while single takes you closer to this kind of love.

And then, if a great partner comes along, you’ll be more ready for them.

And if they don’t, that’ll be fine too.

Because you’re fine with life, the Universe, and you.

2) You’re learning new things about yourself

Relationships can keep us in an outdated version of ourselves, especially when they’ve become stagnant.

Singlehood can turbo-power your self-discovery by putting you in new situations, with new people, places and things, which helps you learn so much about yourself.

Perhaps you’re taking the time and space to do some dedicated self-enquiry. That could be through mindfulness, meditation, journalling, breathwork or shamanic journeying.

Maybe you’re having powerful encounters with other people that make you question old thoughts, beliefs and attitudes.

Or both! You’re letting your inner and outer life teach you, and…

3) You’re learning new things about other people

Family, friends and colleagues often open up to you more when you’re single.

Perhaps you weren’t as emotional or physically available to them while in your previous relationship.

Now it’s time to revel in your nearest and dearest, whether that’s taking your niece to the funfair or having a heart to heart with your mom during a weekend break.

Singlehood is such an opportunity for connecting with and opening up to loved ones, and for them to do the same for you. Then watch your relationships deepen and strengthen. (And keep them that way if and when a new love comes along!)

4) You’re making new friends

If you’re making new friends, you’re using singlehood as a path to self-discovery, for sure.

When we invite new people into our lives, they bring new perspectives, experiences and adventures with them.

And because they’re new in our life, and they’re friends and not potential romantic partners, you can skip all the emotional drama and just have fun!

You might be camping on the beach with a bunch of people from your yoga class. Or maybe you finally had coffee with that nice person you met while out walking the dog.

The new is getting your neurons firing and wiring, and boosting your confidence and self-esteem along the way!

And don’t forget the old too…

5) You’re connecting with old friends

pic1435 1 11 signs you’re choosing singlehood as a path to self-discovery

And no, I don’t mean, “Hmm, I wonder what that hot cheerleader from school is doing now, and whether she’s single?”

I mean those lovely friends you lost touch with when you moved areas, or had kids, or changed industry, or just plain got busy with life.

Of course, some friendships naturally end or evolve, but some just need a little oxygen to spark them up again.

So much self-discovery comes from reconnecting with people who knew you at different ages and stages of life.

You get that old set-point back, plus your new perspective – so there’s lots of opportunity to reflect, and as we know – self-reflection leads straight to self-discovery… and new growth too!

6) You’re listening to new music

Making new friends. Reconnecting with old ones. Driving more by yourself. Enjoying your Celebrate Singlehood naked dance round the living room. All this is leads to one thing…

You’re finding new music – and you’re loving it!

Like other ruts you get stuck in at the end of relationships, you can find yourself listening to the same music.

Singlehood is a chance to bust out of your usual grooves, discover some new artists and tunes, and get out to more live music too. You discovery who you are now, and what you love now.

This all makes you feel alive, alive, alive… as you feel more deeply into what lights you up and gets your groove on.

And it goes for movies, art, books, theatre, museums, sports – whatever your ‘thing’ is too, of course!

Which leads me to…

7) You’re finding new hobbies

There’s loads of potential for self-discovery in this. That’s especially true if you’re diving into something that’s out of your comfort zone or that you think you’ll be terrible at!

Giving new things a go is great for your brain, and expanding your range of experiences boosts your resilience, confidence and self-esteem.

Plus, remember how much fun it can be trying something with a bunch of people you don’t know? One of the best laughs I ever had was on a six-week first aid evening course!

So get crocheting, hang-gliding, salsa dancing, potting, painting, singing, tennising (okay, that one’s not a word, but you get the picture!).

8) You’re inviting in new experiences

As well as hobbies, you’re using singlehood as a path to self-discovery is you’re saying yes, yes, yes to new experiences.

Whether that’s ordering something different when you go out to eat, getting a pet, changing your car, shopping for a new style, going on holiday somewhere off the beaten track…

These things may be big or small – ringing in the changes is always refreshing.

And when you allow yourself to say yes to what instinctively feels right to you, you’re more alive to the present moment… and you’re discovering what you want, like and feel too.

9) You’re looking after yourself well

You’re discovering ways to take care of yourself, from the inside out, and enjoying it!

That could be a new morning yoga routine, a couple of early nights to help you through the busy week, setting boundaries around tech use, more salads…

10) You’re tackling your blind spots

Self-discovery in singlehood is not all sky-diving, Salsa dancing and learning Mandarin (sorry!).

It’s about putting in the hard yards too. If you’re using singlehood as a path to self-discovery, you’re doing dedicated inner work.

Maybe you’re getting a spiritual practice in place to support your growth. Or going to therapy to help you shift old patterns and release past trauma. As you heal, the true, more authentic you will shine through more and more.

This will change the way you show up in a future relationship, should you choose to have one. You’ll already be on the front foot in terms of emotional self-containment (see Heidi Priebe’s great video on this – I love her work!).

More importantly, you’ll benefit right now – and every day. Happier, healthier, more present, more engaged with life, less anxious, less stressed. This transformation also means that…

11) You’re asking the hard questions

You’re facing up to the end of the previous relationship and inquiring into what happened there.

Maybe it just came to a natural end and you lovingly wished one another well and went your separate ways.

That’s beautiful.

But if you’re like most of humanity, there was most likely upset, hurt, anger and pain. Your emotional issues probably got triggered, both in the relationship and in the ending of it.

Self-discovering singles take the time to ask the hard questions about why it ended, how they felt, and whether they still need to process any lingering grief, sadness or anger.

Final thoughts

Self-discovery and rich, deep connection with ourselves, others and this beautiful planet we live on is what fulfills us in life. When we know this and live it, we’re (ironically!) very attractive as romantic partners!

Whether you take the plunge into a new relationship in six weeks, six months or six years (or never), I wish you joy, thriving and self-growth in your awesome period of self-discovery! Enjoy life as a wise, open-hearted, fulfilled and self-loving single!

Picture of Kelly Mckain

Kelly Mckain

I’m Kelly McKain, the author of over sixty fiction titles – my latest is The Feeling Good Club , a mindfulness series for kids. I love writing, yoga, horses, dancing and spending time in nature – as well as hanging out with my amazing kids and partner. I’m also a qualified Breathwork Facilitator and the founder of Soulsparks , a platform for intuitive guidance, energy healing and exploring non-duality. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram .

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