“The funny thing is when you start feeling happy alone, everyone else wants to be with you.” ~ Unknown
I was walking along the beach today in the gusting wind, sand whipping me from all angles, and the spray from the ocean dampening my face.
Dark clouds were looming above as the rain from out at sea was heading toward me. It was cold and gloomy, the type of weather that makes you snuggle on the couch and watch Netflix.
But there I was on a day more typical of winter than almost summer, and I caught myself smiling. Genuinely and joyously smiling.
What had captivated this inner joy? My surroundings, gratitude, the rogue wave that just leapt up my legs, and me. I have been working on filling my own cup for the past two years, and in that moment, cold, wet, and windy, I realised my cup was full. I have done it—yes, with the support of my community—but I, alone, have filled that bloody cup. The cup that had sat there almost empty for the longest time.
We live in a society where single people are seen by some as damaged, lonely, weird, or even desperate. That it’s somehow better staying in relationships at all costs, for fear of the unknown or judgement. That being single must surely mean we are available and ready to mingle—because it’s seen as abnormal to stay single or alone.
Well, I say f*ck that!
Why must we define everything? Why must we judge those who choose a different way to live? Why is it automatically assumed that a woman in her wondrous middle age must be desperately looking for a mate? That somehow we can’t manage without a man in our life? That I need a man to complete me?
And again, I say f*ck that. The right man, I will want, but I don’t need anyone to complete me.
Don’t get me wrong; at some point, if it’s meant to be, the universe will do what she does best. These past two years have been the first time I have been out of a relationship since I was 15. I needed to be alone. I needed to heal. And I needed to grow and find myself. I didn’t always feel this way, and I was terrified to be alone. It initially really hit my self-worth hard, until I understood that was my ego. I panicked and questioned who I was without a partner.
That was then, but now I understand exactly who I am, and when the right man comes along, he will find an independent, strong, passionate, and interesting woman who can stand on her own two feet and does not need him to fill her cup.
The amount of people who have suggested “I get back on the horse” (because apparently I’m not getting any younger) has been a cross between amusing and frustrating. Or, “If you don’t start dating again, you will leave it too long.” Too long for what? Oh, yes, that’s right, the middle age thing again. Or my personal favourite, “You don’t want to be alone forever.” Perhaps not, but that does not mean I have to rush out and find a man, especially when I know I have healing work to do.
Truthfully, these sorts of comments might reflect far more on the commenter and their own insecurities. Maybe they need to be in a relationship—and sometimes, that’s at any cost.
I know people who are single, separated, widowed, in happy relationships, unhappy relationships, pretending to be happy, being unfaithful, and in relationships for the wrong reasons. But I know everyone needs to walk their own path.
Happiness doesn’t come from a relationship. If you aren’t happy with yourself, no relationship is going to change that.
The thing is we look at relationships the wrong way. And that’s because we have wounds to heal and beliefs to change. We were raised thinking a partner is our other half. We don’t feel whole alone. And when we have not healed our wounds and we go into relationships, we are looking for them to heal us.
We are looking for them to validate us, to make us feel good about ourselves, to love us so much that we won’t realise we don’t love ourselves. And when that doesn’t happen, we lose ourselves further, and some start looking for validation elsewhere. Anything to feel good, to feel happy.
I have lived that and been in that space, but I’m not there anymore. But I will be frank, without being honest with yourself and being prepared to face your own darkness and heal, you will be forever seeking happiness elsewhere.
So today at the beach, in the less-than-pleasant weather, I felt a glow come from inside of me. And it wasn’t because I was in love (although that is a beautiful feeling). It wasn’t because I was “crushing” on someone. It wasn’t because I won the lottery. It wasn’t because of a man, money, material items, or any external thing. Because whilst these things are lovely, external happiness is fleeting.
True, long-lasting happiness can only come from inside of us.
I give myself love. I give myself validation. I give myself compassion. I believe in me.
So when you see someone who is single, don’t judge them. Don’t assume they are lonely. Don’t pity them because you think they cannot find someone. Don’t let your own insecurities or beliefs judge someone else’s happiness.
It’s healthy to be alone and not be defined by another person.
There’s courage, vulnerability, and power in it that very few people can handle.