Being in a relationship is great, but it's equally as great to be there for yourself and know that even if you are alone, that's ok. Being alone doesn't mean that you're lonely.

I'm writing this as someone who has been in a relationship for nearly 5 years now. However, that doesn't mean my relationship defines me. One of the most important things in life is knowing that your relationship is supposed to add something to your life, but it's not supposed to be your whole life. Sure, you can say that your significant other means the world to you, that's absolutely fine. It's not so fine when that turns into you not being able to function on a day to day basis without them, or if you're single and all you can think about is being in a relationship.

In society today, I feel as though we are constantly surrounded by the idea that if you're not in a relationship, you haven't 'made it' in life. This can be so detrimental to people's views of themselves because instead of focusing on their own self development and how to make themselves happy, they prioritise making themselves seem appealing and attractive; spending more time on their Tinder bios than self love. All around us, there's new dating apps being developed, constant focus on celebrity relationships and a new engagement being announced on Facebook every other day. This leads to pressure to be like them, to be in a relationship, to not be alone. People can't handle the idea of being alone. The idea of it has so many negative connotations attached to it; it's as though it's something to fear, something to be avoided forever.

Being in a relationship means that I do spend a lot of time with my boyfriend and I do share everything with him but I'm also very aware of myself as an individual, of what I achieve (and fail at) by myself and that I do not need to rely on Josh to be happy. Of course, he makes me happy, I'd be a bit worried if after 5 years, he didn't make me happy but I can also be happy when he's not here (#longdistancerelationship) and I can still achieve things by myself. One of my favourite stories to tell when I talk about how I am independent, even if I am in a relationship is the putting together of my new desk chair...

Basically, I had been pondering upon buying a new chair for my desk for months; the ones that are provided in student halls are not comfortable. Josh and I were in IKEA one day and I found one I liked and bought it but the first thing people said was "oh, Josh will have to put that together for you". I went along with it at first thinking "yeah, I'll probably mess it up somehow" and that's when it hit me. Why should I automatically put myself down and let Josh do it? Why do I believe I can't do it? Just because I'm in a relationship, that makes me unable to do any type of work because hey, building things is a 'man's job' (we are in 2018, if you forgot)? I don't think so, darlings. I stubbornly told Josh I would be building the chair myself and he was not to touch it (I think he was happy about this as it saved him doing it). Shortly after, I had finished making it and well, it might just be a chair but it was proof that I am independent even if I am in a relationship.

It's a really awful thing to see people, especially my closest friends, feel worthless and low because they are not in relationships. They associate their worth with being in a relationship and that just isn't how it should be. I'm so for the idea of being able to be your own person and being aware of what you are doing by yourself and just being proud of the fact that you are you. One of my favourite things to sum this up was when Louise Pentland bought herself an engagement ring and basically married herself, even though she's in a relationship, because why should we wait around for people to buy us things that we can buy ourselves? This is such an important message to spread.

All I'm trying to say is that you don't need to be in a relationship to be happy and enjoy life and if you are in a relationship, you are still you and you can still achieve things by yourself - it's so vital to remember yourself as an individual and just take time for you sometimes.