Valentine’s Day has passed, and somewhere between seeing all the couples’ posts and Walmart bombarding you with teddy bears, chocolate hearts, and roses, there are some of us who are even more aware of our loneliness than before as we can’t help but see the world through the lens of relationships. You can’t wait to give your heart to another guy, you can’t wait to meet a girl who proves herself to be different from the others, and that may be our downfall — we can’t wait. We start thinking that maybe we should stop taking such a long time to pop the question, or that maybe you can overlook his denial of God because we want to love and we want it now.

The pressure to settle is very prevalent in our society, even if it isn’t explicitly communicated. From childhood, we are taught that aspects of our worth come from our ability to find a mate. Marriage is emphasized as marking our journey into mature adulthood and is said to be our most important adult relationship. Language like “you complete me,” “other half” and “soulmate” reinforce the idea that one is not whole without a partner. It is no surprise that people feel rushed to settle down before they are ready or before they find the right match.

If you have ever found yourself wrestling with the question of whether it’s better to stay alone or to settle, here is why you should consider holding out for a relationship that truly makes you happy:

There is no rush.

Loving is not a race. You should never feel like you’re playing musical chairs, and being the last to move to a seat means you lose. Don’t settle for whatever comes your way just because of your current feelings of loneliness or social pressure. Chasing love will cause you to choose the wrong vessels and attempt to suck it out of every soul you become emotionally attached to.

Compromising does not mean settling.

The fear of being alone can skew your priorities and your judgment. If they can’t meet your standards, don’t lower your standards just so they can. Love is a force that cannot be forced. When we take the “musical chairs” approach and take any seat available just so we aren’t the one left standing, we may overlook warning signs that our potential partner is bad news.

Being single isn’t the end of the world.

Love is a seed that has to be watered with effort and consistency, and settling for what comes first or easiest is likely to lead to unhealthy relationships and emotional chaos. You may not be able to control when love comes your way, but you can control you and how much love you pour into yourself.  Be it a temporary state or a life choice, being single is a time to develop a sense of self-identity and self-worth that is not attached to the approval or love of a partner.  Let your focus be on yourself and never let those who can’t appreciate you distract you from being happy and great.  When you do find yourself in a relationship, these skills that were developed while single will serve you well.  Be sure that your life isn’t cluttered and that your heart is ready enough to welcome love.