You Are Lovable Whether You Are in a Relationship or Not


“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

I began this New Year as a single woman, something I had not experienced for the past five.

Last June my boyfriend of nearly three years dropped this bomb on my world:

“Carmen, I know you want to spend the rest of your life with me, but I can’t give that to you, because I’m gay.”

The future I’d created for us in my mind disappeared all at once.

I was sure I was getting an engagement ring last year and we’d be having our wedding sometime around now. As the revelation sank in, a dark cloud formed over my heart as I realized I was back to square one.

All the things that were so easy and comfortable in this relationship had gone down the drain. I never imagined I’d have to go through another awkward first date or kiss. I was starting over.

As per usual, it took only a week for me to move back home to North Carolina and meet someone new. I thought, “This is the reason he broke up with you. Here is the one you are supposed to be with.”

I fell hard and fast, and even though this boy treated me like a mere option, he was my priority. I gave and gave until he dumped me in a text message on Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, I was also falling for my best friend, who couldn’t have been less interested in a romantic relationship with me.

I give all this background information to show you that my heart was pulled in many directions. I gave pieces of myself to different men, and there was hardly anything left of me for me.

Over the past few months, each time I was rejected, I thought, “You’re unlovable.” However, this could not be further from the truth.

For the first time in five years, right now, I am completely content being single.

As much as I pride myself on being assertive and independent, self-introspection has proven otherwise. However, this soul-searching has also been the catalyst to my new feelings of self-worth, and I’d like to share with everyone some insight I’ve gained through this process.

1. No one validates who you are but you.

Affirm yourself daily with positive thoughts. Remember that your happiness comes from you and you alone, and know that you don't anyone else's approval to feel good about yourself.

There comes a point when you realize that some of the things people may not like about you are not necessarily bad, or things you should change. If someone thinks you’re too loud-mouthed and opinionated, for example, this doesn't mean you should stay quiet and passive. Find someone who appreciates you for who you really are.

2. You are beautiful.

Spend some time alone and reflect on all the things that make you desirable. Anyone would be lucky to have you in their life.

No one ever notices most of the negative things you see when you look in the mirror. It’s not that you’re not important or they’re not paying attention, but perhaps those things really don’t matter. The guy in line behind you at the store is not staring at the zit on your forehead, I promise.

3. You are worthy of love.

Whether you’re single or in a committed relationship, you will never experience true love until you allow yourself to be loved. This means not second-guessing why your significant other bought you a bouquet of flowers off the cuff, or why your friends are kind to you every day. It’s because you deserve it.

You are not unlovable. Take a minute to let that sink in to the core of your being. If you’re having thoughts like I was, it could be detrimental to yourself and your relationships with everyone else.

4. The universe is on your side.

Commune with your soul and spend some time in the natural world. Nothing can be more healing and fulfilling than seeing the beauty around you.

When it’s right, it’s right, and you will know it. Everything will make sense. So trust, let go, and let yourself enjoy the moment, without stressing about your relationship status.

I’m no life-coach, blogger, or self-proclaimed guru. I’m a twenty-three-year-old girl learning what it means to be me. And I hope that maybe what I’ve shared can inspire and encourage you.

Sending you love and light.

Photo by  Justin Orneillas

About Carmen Allred

Carmen Allred is a 23-year-old single female who is ready to go wherever the wind blows.

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  • It seems like nowadays being single is an unspeakable crime. “Do you have a girlfriend?” Whenever I answer this question I am met with gasps of shock. “Why?!”

    Although I know there’s nothing wrong with being single, it does take conscious reminders to myself that it’s a mix between my own choice and me not yet meeting the right person.

    Thank you for reminding me that the universe is on my side, Carmen. I forget that for at least five seconds on occasion and it’s something I keep in the back of my head.

  • Completely Surprised

    All this is well and good when you are 23.. And btw.. I can’t believe instead of moping about being single, you don’t get how lucky you are that you’ve been in a couple for the last 5 years running!
    let me know when you are 37 and still single whether or not you think the universe is on your side..

  • Manny

    Dearest Carmen,

    Thank you so much for this post. It popped into my inbox just now- at a time when I needed it most. I have just experienced the rejection of my boyfriend of 3 years leaving me and I am in the midst of the heartbreak. Thank you for reminding me that the universe is on my side, you have enabled me to get through today with a smile. 🙂

  • I needed this more than you know today. Thank you.

  • Megan

    Thank you for sharing your story with me. I have been through something similar and I appreciate knowing how you deal with it and what has been your experience. I think we must band together and share that affirmation with the younger men/women so that they have role models, too. I’m taking it one day at a time, but I am glad to know your story.

  • Laura

    Thank you for your contribution Carmen. I’m a 37 year old female who regularly forgets the importance of self-love. . . although I must say I am getting better everyday! Even though I have been in my current relationship for 12 years I find great merit in your insight. When I was your age I too had my world shattered. I remember finding great contentment after about 1 year of focusing on me and swearing off all intimate relationships. Good easily comes after clearing out the bad!

  • sarah

    I think the universe is still on your side.

  • natalie

    Thanks, Carmen. I’m on this journey right here with you. 23. Single for the first time. Realizing singledom should have happened years ago for me. A lot of time spent in unhealthy relationships only to now realize that I didn’t know what love was. A lot of time spent searching for validation from men to tell me that I am pretty and worth being pursued. I’ve become very picky now… and I think that’s acceptable. I know myself a little bit better. Sure, there are lonely moments- but there were lonely moments when I was in relationships too (and perhaps more of them then!). Wherever we are right now is OK. Whether it’s in a healthy relationship with someone else, or with ourselves! It’s a process and everything will fall into place as it should.


  • Thank you. I needed this.

  • Hi Completely Surprised,
    Start Believing the universe is on your side and you’ll see things begin to shift more positively. Read up on the laws of attraction.
    Carry yourself tall and curve your mouth upward and goodness will start to flow your way. And be open to seeing it as the small things show themselves.

  • Lori

    Incredibly insightful for a 23 year old! I’m in my early 50s and don’t have that sort of clarity. The stigma of being in your 50’s and single is even worse; believe me!

  • GoGoBear

    It would appear that you needed this message more than most, actually…the very fact that you think being in a relationship makes a person “lucky” and alternatively not being in one makes a person “unlucky” is a dead give away.

    “Still single” indeed – perhaps if it weren’t a condition you were looking to fix that might help…

  • Raluca

    Wow, this post was so useful and thank you for it. I discovered that I never allowed myself to be loved! Just the way you describe it, always second-guess and I am always suspicious. This has hurt me and a man I loved a lot. Basically, all my relationships were troubled. I am now, at 28, starting to learn to love myself. Better later than never!

  • So appreciative for the positive feedback, and glad to hear back from a few of you as well! I was very nervous to have this published. Thank you for the kind words.

  • Taking the Scenic Route

    Really timely advice for me. It can be painful to be single when everyone else around you seems “so happy” in a relationship. It’s helpful to remind myself that my self worth is not based on my relationship status.

    I’m gradually realizing that everything happens at the right time, that not everyone is destined to meet Mr. or Mrs. Right straight out of college.

    I think the hardest part of being single is not the loneliness, but the
    feeling of being left behind while others charge ahead and plot their
    own course in life. It’s always helpful to remind myself that some of us take longer than others (we end up taking “the scenic route”) and that’s okay too.

  • lv2terp

    BEAUTIFUL post! Thank you for sharing what you have learned…very wise advice! 🙂 I love “commune with your soul…” , lovely! 🙂

  • As I get ready for my first date in a while, this was such a great thing to read. I wish I was half as wise as you are at 23! It took me until I was 28 to realize a lot of the things you’re describing here and this is such a great reminder to us all, single or not. Thanks for writing this 🙂

  • Sally

    I loved the comment that if you are loud and opinionated, don’t change that about yourself, find people who appreciate/love that about you!

  • jazz

    its scary, it hurts, the tears don’t stop flowing, but deep deep down i know i will be ok…… i think

  • Nanners

    Like eeeveryone else, I am so glad to read this. I’m 25, and have often felt my heart is up for the highest bidder – or not even, just to whoever HAPPENS to be around. Truth is, there have been more than a few relationships or, um, situations I have fallen into due to not truly recognizing my self worth and desperately hoping for someone to “fix” me – leading me to stay in unhealthy, unproductive, and overall not-best-for-either-of-us relationships. After the most recent debacle (hoo nelly), though I am still smarting, I am focusing on rebuilding MYSELF and marching resolutely towards the goal of understanding my inherent worth, wealth, and that I am whole and complete ON MY OWN. It’s a journey! And it’s certainly not made any easier by our culture that insists that you are only as good as your “better half.” But I know I can do it. I know I can get there. And then, whenever the time is right, I will find someone who complements me and who I love out of a place of wholeness, not need.
    🙂 Many blessings to you and all of us on this journey!

  • I just came across this now – this was a wonderful read. I’m 28, single, and this is an issue I face as the majority of my friends are now married or engaged. Some are even having children! Thank you Carmen, and I wish you love and peace.

  • Drumface

    Great article! Just what I needed 🙂

  • ocean

    Thank you Carmen. God bless you!

  • Hey dearie,

    My first boyfriend left me at 21, after outing himself as well. I went through periods of doubt about my own attractiveness as a woman, amongst other things. I am 37 now and broke up with my 2nd boyfriend just last year. Sometimes I do feel lonely, but what doesn’t break you- really makes you stronger. Love yourself, and the right man will appear. I still believe it! 🙂

  • I needed this a lot! And for those bleating about her being 23, trust me I’m 21 and it still feels like a life time of disappointments. Age has nothing to do with anything. Thanks for sharing this piece, after being consistently messed around by buys, with the most ridiculous reasons ever, I know I need to practice self love!

  • Steve

    My wife dumped me and ran away after 35 years of a very good marriage. I’m trying to start over but have not had much luck in the dating scene. Am I too old or too ugly? Not sure which but it is frustrating to be alone so much. It’s been almost 8 months since she left and she has a boyfriend now. Me, alone and sad. Don’t know if happiness will ever pass this way again. At 59 I feel like life has passed me by and it is too late for me.

  • Sati

    Carmen when I started reading your story I felt like you were lost and looking for validation quickly buts as I read on i realised how wise and truthful you are. You are learning a valuable lesson at 23 yrs old that some of us learnt at 35!!
    Thank you for sharing and may you continue your journey with lots of love and happiness towards yourself and others.

  • 22 and single for the first time since I was 15. I’ve made a promise to myself to be single–for me–for one year. I still have 6 months to go, but I’ve already learned a lot. The first relationship was nearly 6 years long. I turned him into the police for unspeakable things. I felt ruined and ashamed. Fearing that I–a humorous, goal setting, loving, and giving person–was unlovable, I jumped into another relationship soon after I ended the last (I felt that his offer was the best I could do, and if I passed it up, I’d be doomed to be lonely). This second one ended the moment I walked in on him with another girl. But this time when I left, I felt strong. “Finally!” I thought to myself I get to be free. I realized that I’ve always felt like I had to be polite and return the “I like you vibe” to guys, and I end up in relationships or situations that I do not want to be in. But now that I allow people to be responsible for their own feelings and emotions, I can focus on me and not worry about how they feel if I turn them down.

    Yes I still have bad days. I cry, and I begin to feel unlovable. Reading blogs like this really help. More than anything, I’ve had to learn to stop holding on to something that was bad for me merely because I was used to it. My life is more blessed now that I am single compared to when I was in a relationship.

    It takes strength to be single, so take pride in it!

    Peace, Love, and Happiness to All

  • Tamara

    I firmly believe that as women, we need to shift our perspective and realize that being in a relationship does not complete US. I have been in four long term relationships (from 4 years to 15 years), took a six year break to realize the value of friends and family and grow up a bit. I then met a man, dated him for a year, decided it wasn’t a good fit and find myself single again. I just celebrated my 51st birthday and feel better in my skin now than ever in my life. I know what is important for me in a partner and if I find someone with most of those qualities, I will be happy to enter into another relationship. However, if not, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather spend the rest of my days with than me and my dear friends and family. Never rely on a person to complete you – people will let you down. Your spirit never will.

  • Don’t worry, the universe still on your side.

  • I just came across this again for the 2nd time in about 2 weeks. It’s even MORE relevant today than it was when I first read it. Thank you.

  • Beautiful article! If only I had this insight at age 23;-) Very smart and definitely something I needed to read right now.

  • Thank you for this post. It’s quite liberating telling myself that I’m ‘not unloveable’. It’s made me realise for so long that I have been believing the opposite – and really reminds you how important it is to know that you are worthy of such love!

  • thank you ^^ nice article it’s really help me alot through my hard day

  • Skrilly

    Despite how true this is, it doesn’t do shit to help an 18-year old boy.
    Especially one who nearly fell in love with his girlfriend. You people think this shit is easy? You think I can just get over it? Well I can’t!

  • Skrilly

    Well actually I nearly fell in love with my friend’s girlfriend. (Stupid keyboard.

  • Dan

    I really wish I could follow this advice and believe that I am, in fact, lovable despite 29 years of constant rejection. I just have a hard time accepting that the reason for my loneliness isn’t completely due to me being seen as not being relationship worthy. A couple of my friends recently all but told me I’m single because of my personality (which, based on the conversation is mainly a problem because I’m a very passionate person when it comes to my beliefs and opinions. Not that don’t respect others’ opinions, because I do probably more than most, but I defend my own because I believe in them and care).

  • Former

    Try 46

  • sootheater .

    Plus if you look at her picture it’s pretty obvious that she gets called “beautiful” about a hundred times per day.

    Even my own mother says I’m ugly as shit and should keep all expectations low….

    I’d give both my kidneys to go out with Carmen.

  • sootheater .

    So happy for you. I’m 30 and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t laugh in my face. A relationship is something that I can’t even imagine.

    It’s so easy to feel wise when you have limitless good luck.

  • horrido

    I gave up trying to fix a ‘condition’ ten years ago, and still noting. Some people are not lovable. I’ve only recently started thinking that, so don’t go there. I’ve tried everything. I’m 54 and have never been in love. I’ve loved other people, but have never been loved back, not in a romantic sense. So go ahead and go on believing all this nonsense about how the universe loves me if it makes you feel better. Go ahead and make up some assumption about me, and how it’s my fault. It will make you feel better. I’m not a stupid person. If there was a way to change this, don’t you think I would have?

  • horrido

    54 here. It gets a little easier as you get older, but not much. Hang in there.

  • Rob

    Carmen, You have but a vague notion of enlightenment. The Buddha–even a tiny one–promotes self-transcendence, not self-actualization as you do here. Wisdom is not advice, and particularly not the winsome platitudes you offer. Believe me, some people are not loved, ever, the universe notwithstanding. Some were born with a black angel at their crib, disavowing love chronically like a cross repels a vampire. I am one of these. Don’t make it absurd by insisting the universe is on my side. It isn’t.

  • Kimberly K Johnson-Frith

    Thank You