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I was laying on my back this morning doing abdominal crunches while my eight-year-old daughter sat on me to “make it harder.”
She barked out motivational commands each time I crunched. “You got this, mom!” “You’re getting skinnier every crunch!” “You’re so strong!”
Then she screams, “You’re gonna get a man doing this!”
Cue the record player scratching. “Okay, I’m done, honey. Can you get off of me please?” I said.
I got up, grabbed a drink of water, and stared at her. I started laughing. “Really, Kai? Is ‘I’m gonna get a man’ supposed to motivate me?”
“Mom…I’m just saying, if you want a man, you’re gonna look so good you’ll get one.”
So, let me rewind here. I’ve been divorced seven years. I’ve been in a handful of what I’d call, “I’m not really sure what we’re doing here” relationships in those seven years.
That’s mainly on me because I’ve put my kids first and everything else second. To be honest, “getting a man” is pretty far down on my list of priorities. I file it under, “Nice to have, but can live without.”
So I will admit, when people talk about how depressed, sad, frustrated, and anxious they feel about being single, I have a difficult time with it. Not because I don’t understand the desire to have a partner, be loved, and want to share their lives with someone.
No, it’s not that.
It’s that they believe there is inherently something wrong with them because they aren’t with another person.
And I feel we need to talk about this.
Where is it written that every human being on the planet was meant to come here to partner up, be in a relationship, and grow old with someone?
It’s not. It’s not written anywhere. It’s not guaranteed for any of us. And there is nothing wrong with you because you’re single.
Most single people I talk to, whether they be close friends, acquaintances, clients, or total strangers, have all been in relationships before. Some of them have been married. Others in long-term, committed relationships. These are not people who have never experienced being in love or having a partner.
Yet, they all feel there is something wrong with them because they aren’t in a relationship right now.
It’s as if they’re broken and they’re looking for an answer on how to fix themselves. And fixing to them means finding someone to be with.
Why do we spend our time and energy wanting something to be what it isn’t, instead of enjoying where we’re at? Why do we look at people who aren’t married or in relationships as people we should pity or feel sorry for?
I understand that it gets old having to do things alone all the time when you just want someone to share things with, especially when you see people around you immersed in their “coupled up” lives.
But there is another way to look at our “single status” from a slightly different perspective.
If you’re struggling with not being in a relationship right now, I invite you to consider some more empowering ways to look at your relationship status:
1. You aren’t really alone just because you’re single.
What about all your friends, family, and coworkers who love you? Does their love not count? Not having a partner doesn’t mean you have nobody at all. We sometimes forget to appreciate the people in our lives who love us more than anything just because that love isn’t the “romantic” kind.
2. Is is true that nobody wants you?
If we’re honest, there are probably a few men/women who are angling for our attention and would kill to date us, but we don’t even notice them. Or maybe we do notice them, disregard them, then claim that nobody wants us. (I’m guilty of this!)
Truth be told, there is almost always somebody (including an ex) who thinks we’re amazing. We just might be focused on the one person who doesn’t see us in that way or is currently with someone else. And why keep obsessing over someone who isn’t available or want what we have to offer?
3. Being single is an opportunity to take stock of where you’re at.
Being alone and not coupled up is a great time to assess where you’re at and what you want. What have you learned about yourself from past relationships?
This isn’t a time to beat yourself up over why things didn’t work out with someone else and spiraling down the rabbit hole of what’s wrong with you. Relationships don’t work out for lots of reasons. Yes, you should be looking at patterns that may keep cropping up in your relationships and seek support in working on those. But more importantly, you can look at this “space between relationships” as the universe’s way of telling you, “Hey, I’m giving you some time to reflect and figure out what it is you truly want.”
Once you know that, when that next person comes along, you have greater perspective from the get-go whether this person is worth investing time into. (No more looking back and saying, “I kind of knew in the beginning he/she didn’t want the same things as me.”)
4. Being single is not a “problem” we need to fix. It’s an opportunity to create.
How we look at our situation (and this goes for any situation in our lives) is on us. Dr. Jenny Taitz, clinical psychologist and author of How to Be Single and Happy, says that in order to truly become happily single, she suggests practicing mindfulness. “So much of happiness has to do with living in the present moment,” she says. “If you’re spending your single time ruminating about how you’re going to meet someone or what’s wrong with you, you miss that opportunity, so you really want to be single with a smart head space.”
Use the time to figure out what you want to create in your life. Being single gives us nothing if not time and space to focus our energy on us. Believe me, when you find yourself in a relationship again, you’ll look back and long for that time to just focus on you and no one else.
Remember that being single is far better than being with the wrong person. Surrender and trust in the timing. And until then, remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you.