February 11, 2016

For my fellow Singles on Valentine’s Day.

ballerina girl

“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

For anyone who is single and actively in the dating game, it can be a brutal and soul-shattering experience—especially if we desire to seek true connection and eventually land on a fulfilling, long-term commitment.

If you are on a dating site of any kind, I hereby bequeath you the medal of bravery.

Online dating has been one of the most interesting experiences I endured, on and off, for about two years. Oh, the stories I could tell you—but I’m sure you’ve your fair share too!

For some of us singletons, Valentine’s Day can pierce a sting close to our hearts and put our dusty, forgotten pain on the simmer. Memories of past relationships, unrequited love, failed marriages, hook-ups, break-ups, and dysfunctional or toxic associations can cast their dark shadows into our world once again, enticing us to revisit ourselves (or the situation) in harsh light.

We could find ourselves riddled with some rather dis-empowering questions like:

Where did I go wrong? Could I have done something differently? Why didn’t he or she stay? Why did I leave?

And then, somewhere along the way, you stumble on the penultimate and rather unfair question: how has this not happened for me already?

If you find yourself on this flawed trajectory, allow me to put it to bed (no pun intended)—and while I attempt to, can I please hold your dear face in my hands and tell you some things?

Life is in motion. We are constantly evolving. With every experience, we are exposing a sliver of us as we bleed into the core of who we are. Everyone we meet in our path helps us do this: friends, family, co-workers and lovers—especially our lovers, who know and have witnessed us in ways no one else will.

Our lovers nudge and help elevate our journey so we can blossom into the truest, most authentic expression of who we are meant to be, even if the interaction incurred heartbreak, loss, departure and pain.

Whatever ragged ol’ curtain your mind is opening for you, here’s a simple truth for you to consider: you were a different person then, compared to who you are now. You were being taught something to lead you here, right to this moment.

I remember chatting with my dad many years ago over an international call, huddled in a conference room at work—I was grappling with what I thought was an “irrecoverable” blow to my heart after a break up. Among other things he’d said, he gifted me these words:

“Everything that has happened is for the good and every single thing that will happen will also be for the good. It might seem implausible right now but in time, you’ll hopefully get to see why and you will be thankful.”

I recall filing his words into the, “you are averse to my heart’s plight” but mostly the, “you’re my dad—whose side are you on anyway?” category.

He was right and while this was a lifetime ago, yes, I am so thankful because the “why” became clear to me down the road and as I had more experiences, I could see why that relationship would have eventually sabotaged my growth—emotionally, spiritually and intellectually.

My dad’s words have since moved into the, “you are wise and have seen life” cabinet, which I have reached for, time and time again when I’ve felt dejected, broken or found myself lingering in the abyss of sorrow, wondering if I was about to be swallowed whole. At times, I have wished I was recycled clean of the pain-filled human experience and somehow spit back out to start anew, as if it was my first time here.

Since then, I have also come to learn that life is always in the right. And the clincher for me has been: if we pause long enough, we will see that life is always working in our favor and for our best interest.

Try with all the might in your elegant mind to seek the right meaning of what you went through—dole out infinite doses of gentleness on yourself as you go into your history. See yourself, your mis-steps and even the person who you were involved with, without judgement. Replay all of it and burn. Burn one final time.

When you are done, add a heaping serving of forgiveness for you and the other person.

Give your emotions air, thank every thing this experience gave—and took from you, known and unknown. Release every chewed-up morsel in peace and with grace. Let it float away from you like a feather catching wind into the clouds and out of your life.

Healing is never a one-shot guaranteed victory. Real healing takes time.

It’s a few strides forward and several backwards. We can find ourselves at a standstill or reeling from a daunting feeling that the earth our feet rests upon is about to morph to quicksand without notice.

I implore you to accept yourself in all your messy gloriousness—you are more than enough. You are immeasurable and boundless. Your worth is not tied to a relationship status and never will be.

Here’s a thought to consider:

The space between being alone and in a relationship is the time where you will find you. It is this exact vacuum that gets us ready for who is about to show up.

In this sacred gap, you will question and figure out what works for you. You’ll recognize your patterns. You’ll smile at your imperfections. You’ll unapologetically embrace everything that only you can offer someone, added with a belief that someone has already begun their life’s quest, compass in heart and is heading in the direction of someone, exactly like you.

In the meantime:

Go on that trip, take that art class, volunteer your time, laugh at the ridiculousness of this chase, take yourself on dates, fall beautifully in love with yourself and do all the things you’ve always wanted to.

Refuse to compromise or post-pone your happiness till your love and that relationship turns up.

And when it does, let him or her find you radiantly ensconced and basking carefree at the intersection of contentment, love, and unconditional acceptance—rising and prepared for their arrival.

I have nestled in Rilke’s words ever since I first read them, and have found myself returning to their comfort in moments of joy and heartbreak.

My wish for you this Valentine’s Day is that you cast away any stories that are holding you back, and that you believe in a love, “that is being stored up for you like an inheritance” or something better.

Till then, may you have the courage and faith to wait well.


Author: Neelam Tewar

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Images: Daniel WangMateus Lunardi Dutra/Flickr 


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