Luisa Tam
SCMP Columnist
The Naked Truth
by Luisa Tam
The Naked Truth
by Luisa Tam

How to self-partner, why Emma Watson and other celebrities have joined the movement, and the benefits of being your own better half

  • Self-partnering allows one to put greater focus on personal goals and growth, a new mindset of unattached existence that is growing in popularity
  • If fears of loneliness arise, you can reframe the time you spend on yourself as ‘being with me’ rather than ‘being alone’, a life coach says

More people are foregoing committed relationships or refusing to be romantically attached. Instead of spending time on multiple dating apps and risking a bad date, people are capitalising on their value as fun, attractive and successful individuals.

Singlehood is no longer viewed as something to be ashamed of, and the “single positivity movement” is growing in the West as people are opting for self-growth.

This new mindset of unattached existence, positively branded as “self-partnership”, has grown in popularity among the young generation who view singlehood as an empowering choice rather than a social disadvantage.

British actress Emma Watson, among many other Hollywood celebrities, has joined the much-celebrated cause to reframe the formerly negative status of “single”.

Shedding the traditional label of singlehood has allowed people to reclaim themselves in their own right and learn to love their own company, even if they don’t have a partner. Being in this modern state of singledom allows one to put greater focus on personal goals and growth.

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In many respects, self-partnership is seen as a positive development, but only if you have done the proper “groundwork” to get there.

“A self-partnership is when you are partnering with yourself and therefore treat yourself as the one you are with,” says Sonia Samtani, a clinical hypnotherapist, life coach, and relationship and wellness coach.

“This can be a healthy sign indicating we fundamentally don’t ‘need’ other people to complete us. We are all a ‘work in progress’, and the only thing that would truly complete us is to accept the parts of ourselves that we have rejected.”

Clinical hypnotherapist, life coach, and relationship and wellness coach Sonia Samtani. Photo: Thi Ho

That being said, Samtani points out that we can still desire and enjoy being with others, and grow from our interactions.

If you are occasionally overcome with the fear of being alone, Samtani offers the following advice.

“The healthiest thing to do is accept the truth of how you are feeling and understand why it’s there. For most people, this fear stems from a sense of not belonging, feeling unaccepted or fearing for your own survival.

“Once you identify them, you can process them through catharsis and then operate more from your rational mind to identify what is working for you right now.

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“Applying Newton’s laws of motion: there are equal and opposite forces happening at the same time. You are as alone as you are accompanied; you just haven’t seen the other side.

“To gain perspective, write down a list of areas where you do feel supported and included – for example, at work or with family. This will show you where you are not alone.

“Focus on what you can do and what would make you feel connected to people. It could be a long chat with your BFF [best friend] or quality time with a close parent.”

Samtani suggests treating yourself like you would a romantic partner by asking what you would like and what would make you feel loved. Illustration: Brian Wang

Samtani says you can feel truly empowered in a self-partnership.

“To be empowered in a self-partnership, set an intention to be interdependent instead of being independent or dependent. Interdependence is when you can focus on yourself and remain connected to other people without being dependent on them.

“You can be in a self-partnership throughout your life, whether or not you are in a romantic relationship.

She offers more specific tips. “You can reframe the time you spend on yourself as ‘being with me’ rather than ‘being alone’. Spend regular time on understanding your evolving needs and get to know yourself; write down your thoughts and feelings once a day; create consistent time in your life for you; check in on yourself to see what makes you happy; and partner with yourself to cater to those needs.”

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She suggests treating yourself like you would a romantic partner by asking what you would like and what would make you feel loved, and then make space for that.

“Being empowered comes from feeling in charge, and we feel in charge when we are discerning. Check in on where it is most valuable for you to focus your attention, whether it’s on your needs, another person’s perspective, or a particular situation.

“This can all be a part of partnering with yourself to grow and having an interdependent relationship with your environment.”

Pros and cons of self-partnership


• It is the foundation for healthy self-esteem

• Become independent and self-sufficient

• Allows you to focus on spiritual growth and understand yourself at a deeper level


• Focusing solely on your own needs can give you narcissistic tendencies, which affect relationships with friends and colleagues

• If you see self-partnering as an excuse to stop relating to others, you are stunting your personal growth

• Cutting off others can bring about feelings of disconnection, loneliness and even depression

Luisa Tam is a Post correspondent who also hosts video tutorials on Cantonese language that are now part of Cathay Pacific’s in-flight entertainment programme