Dear 100 Hour Board,
So I've noticed I'm happier, more cheerful, and think more positively about both myself and life when dating is going well compared to when I am single. That's something that I want to change- I want to be content, upbeat, and like myself regardless of my relationship status. Any tips for being happy with being single, and rocking the single life?
I'd look into the reasons why you're happier and have a more positive outlook on yourself and on life when your dating life is going well. While I've never been in a relationship, so can't really compare that to single life, I've noticed that I'm happier and more self-confident when I have positive interactions with others. It makes me feel good when I make the people around me laugh a lot, when others seek my company, are happy to see me, etc. I think this is because whenever people react positively to me, it subconsciously reinforces self-perceptions of my positive attributes. To some extent, I think it's reasonable to apply this type of reinforcement based off of human interaction to others. When people seem to think well of us, we are inclined to think well of ourselves.
So some of my advice to you is to determine the specific attributes that are reinforced when you're in a relationship, and then make an effort to reinforce those attributes yourself. For example, if being in a relationship makes you feel attractive, then make a point to tell yourself every day that you're attractive.
Besides developing these positive thought patterns, I'd suggest finding an activity that gives you happiness and personal fulfillment. I don't know what that may be for you, but some examples from my own life include cooking (especially making up new recipes), music, poetry, my job, and writing for the Board.
Finally, organize things to do with your friends. This could be game nights, going to performances, hiking, whatever. This way, you can be sure to always have something fun to look forward to.
Having many close and loving relationships with good people helps me to stay content, upbeat, and like myself. Humans are social critters. We need each other to stay mentally healthy. Working on developing close relationships with family members or friends or mentors or mentees or whoever may help you to be happier when you aren't dating someone exclusively.
Other than that, I try to only do things that a) help me work towards goals or for causes that I actually care about or b) are genuinely enjoyable. This helps me to prevent existential crises in life, such as working at jobs that I hate, pretending that I'm someone that I'm not, or pretending that things are okay when they are not. Obviously, there are cons to this approach (like offending people, for example), but the more I live this way, the more graceful I become at it.
Just my personal life philosophy. Everyone is different. Also, I realize that the second paragraph sounds self-centered, so I find myself wanting to temper it. Many of my own personal goals have to do with who I am as a human being, which makes it easier to deal with temporal disappointments. And I think most people have causes that they care about that lead them to help other people. So I think having goals that are characteristic-oriented rather than achievement-oriented can help, as well as checking to make sure that I focus on others sometimes. Both of those things seem pretty important in figuring out life balance. But when I do feel apathy towards something, I try to take it more seriously instead of pushing through it just because I feel like I should.
-Sheebs, who (despite presumptuously answering this question in the way that she did) still struggles with being too worldly and selfish, and has very few of the possible answers to this question, and possibly not any of the best ones