By: Rhandi Wallace ~Guest Writer~
I have a friend who recently started dating. He had been pursuing this girl for a while, and when she finally agreed to be his girlfriend, he was extremely excited. I wanted to share the joy with him, but something about the way he presented the information really struck a chord with me. He said to me: “Hey Rhandi, I’m not single anymore!” While this wouldn’t normally be looked at as problematic, part of me was insulted. I’m single. I have been for a while, and it doesn’t look like anything will be cooking up any time soon. So for someone to announce to me that he is no longer single as though he has just escaped a never-ending bond that plagued his existence, I couldn’t help but be a little turned off by the news. We live in a world that glorifies romance. If you are in a romantic relationship with someone, that’s great. You have the potential of becoming someone’s #BaeGoals. But, contrary to popular opinion, I find being single one of the most liberating aspects of my life. With my singleness comes my independence, and through that independence, I have found so much beauty in self-discovery.
Because of the negative stigma that surrounds being single, many people fail to see its beauty. The single life is a time for you to work on who you are and who you aspire to be. Being in college, especially at an institution like Xavier, the goal is to make you a well-rounded person. While we are an institution that promotes the idea of being people who are for and with others, seeking out that unity in the form of a romantic relationship has the potential to be a slippery slope. Unity is important, but the growth you experience, will help carry you throughout the rest of your life and can only be attained on an individual level. While there are other people who can and will aid in that process, individual growth is something that one has to take personal responsibility over. One runs the risk of limiting personal growth when they see their development that depending on a romantic relationship.
That’s not to say that we should demonize romance. Saint Augustine believed that friends should help us achieve greater self-knowledge. The relationships that we have around us should challenge us and cause us to think in ways that will ultimately lead us to being the best version of ourselves. Being in college is special because we have so many people around us that come from such diverse backgrounds and mindsets. There will never be another time in our lives where we have the opportunity to meet and make friends with this vast of a number of people in just one day. Those friendships that we develop throughout college with those around us are valuable, and because of that, using those relationships to your advantage to help you become a better you should be the goal. Focusing on the aspect of romance can get in the way of building those friendships that promote self-growth.
Now, this is not a call for those who are in committed relationships to break up with their partners and fly solo. But, this is a call to assess those relationships and make sure that they are helping you to move forward and not remain stagnant. The best relationships are those that are mutually edifying, encouraging and uplifting. Your time in college is like no other time in your life. The opportunities for growth are tremendous, and because of that, it’s OK to be a little selfish to take this time to work on your personal development. The opportunity to find romance doesn’t end when you graduate; you’ll have the rest of your life for that. While you are single you shouldn’t focus on #BaeGoals but rather start developing some #SelfGoals.