Reframing Singleness

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I’ve recently had a big shift in the way I view my singleness and this season of life, partially thanks to the clarity I’ve gained around how I envision my immediate future, and partially thanks to months worth of mindset shifts that have transformed the way I view myself, my dating life, and my status as a single person. I had been wanting to sit down and write out all these things in one cohesive space, but kept getting overwhelmed and eventually decided sharing my heart would be easier by way of a stream of consciousness format over at Hi Friend (episode 23). But after recording, I also felt it would be helpful to recap some of the points here for easier reference ;)

So here is my heart pour of revelations and new beliefs that have made the biggest difference in my life around releasing attachments, fully letting go of the “how” someone will come my way, and embracing this season in a big and beautiful way.

Taking it back

To recap a bit of my past with relationships: For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in boys and romance (literally since preschool). Relationships and romantic love have always captured and fascinated me, and in a large way were what led to my initial career desire of being an MFT.

I feel grateful to have had a varied experience of relationship statuses throughout my life – 4 different long-term relationships (around 2 years each) spaced throughout 16 years from high school to early 30s, stretches of singleness spanning multiple years at times, and then short-term dating stints as well. Each stage bringing with it moments of immense joy and value, and then times of heartache and difficulty as well.

As I’ve found myself in an extended season of singleness (it’s been almost 3 years since my last serious relationship ended), I’ve landed in a place of okay-ness, peace, and joy unlike any other, and I’ve finally been able to put words to the mindset shifts and revelations that have brought me to this place. Those things being the following:

Recognizing the shadow side of our desires

A simple focus point for me is the classic “the grass isn’t always greener” analogy. I loved the way Jedidiah Jenkins verbalized this point here, with the basic takeaway being this: the things we idealize aren’t necessarily the ideal. Each stage or achievement has its plusses and minuses, it’s just what we choose to focus on. So I spend my time recognizing and being grateful for the things made possible in my life due to my single relationship status. The freedom and independence my unattached state allows me feels so blissful at times I almost worry I’ll be able to agree to “wedded bliss” someday haha. Are there things about marriage and child-rearing that will be great? Absolutely. But there will also be hard things about those stages too, so I might as well be grateful for what I have while I have it, and even remind myself of the future “shadow sides” I don’t currently have to deal with (diaper changes, diminished sleep, sharing a bed, having to feed more humans than just myself, etc.) from time to time so I don’t place those “not-yet-attained” stages on an unrealistic and unnecessary pedestal.

Focused energy

Good, important things require our energy and attention. And while I believe we are expansive beings with the ability to do lots of things, the reality is that we can only divide up our energy in so many ways. Can you build a business or tackle a new project while also being in a committed and growing relationship? Of course. But in this expansive and explorative stage I’ve led myself to, I’ve recognized that it’s taking up a lot of (good) energy to go inward, to deconstruct and then re-construct the beliefs I have about myself, get clear on what I’m supposed to be doing, and to allow my excitement and passion to funnel into the projects I see laid before me, to the point where I don’t see a whole lot left to go towards someone I’d hope to invest in emotionally as I would in a dating relationship. So this hasn’t been as intentional of a shift as some of my other learnings, but rather a fun recognition of the fact that I’m so excited about the things I’m building and the person I’m growing into that it’s naturally removed my desire for a relationship almost completely (at least for the time being).

The takeaway being that if you feel stuck in a place of longing for a relationship, begin to look for other areas of your life you can fall in love with, and give those your attention instead.

Be your own lover

Lol at that subtitle but seriously - I’ve learned how to recognize myself as the dream partner I believe I’m waiting for someday. Instead of longing for someone to “take care of me,” especially on days that might be rougher than others, I’ve shifted that longing to asking myself what I’d want a partner to do for me in that moment (offer to make me food, tell me to take a break, rub my back and so on) and then I take care of myself the same way a loving partner would. I also recognize the ways in which I already sweetly care for myself and am so grateful for the ability to self-soothe and know how much this will serve me in a relationship someday, since relying on someone else to meet my needs will always prove to be unreliable at best, and emotionally disastrous at worst.

Feelings over objects

This is a big one, and something I’ve learned more recently in life. Through Jess Lively’s podcast, teachings from Abraham Hicks, and conversations with my bestie Jess, a fascinating revelation I’ve had is that when we’re desiring something (a house, a salary, a job, a relationship), what we REALLY are wanting are the feelings or outcomes that object will bring us, much more than the actual object itself. So, when you realize that, you’re able to pinpoint other areas in your life that are already bringing about those feelings, or seek out ways to create them, thus achieving the desired result and causing you to not even need the “object,” or to feel so full of those feelings that you become an energetic match for it and it comes into your life that much easier, rather than from of a place of lack and “thirsty” desire (which is not a great energetic place to be in).

So to give a few examples, here are some of the feelings I find myself desiring from a more serious relationship and then ways in which I’m able to find them elsewhere:

  • Consistency - The appeal of having a consistent person in my life to count on for things like guaranteed weekend plans and a ride home from the airport is big for me. Having a designated person (for me that was Kalee most of the time) to go to for airport rides, and then having traditions with friends I can expect (like weekly community group meetings or Sunday family dinners) helps with bringing about that consistency in my life and having things to look forward to.

  • Affection - Being in a relationship feels like a great way to get my 5 instances of human touch per day or whatever it is that we’re all supposed to be receiving, but alas, this is not the only way. I schedule massages or rub my own arm (sounds pathetic but honestly helps and is very comforting) or straight up ask my friends for big, long hugs when I’m with them.

  • Affirmation and feeling loved - This is a deep one. But since this is what I believe is at the core of all of our desires for connection and relationship with others - the knowing that we are ok just as we are, and being fully known and fully loved with a safe and whole love - I think it’s the most important. So for me, this has looked like learning how to sit and soak in the fullness of God’s deep and perfect love for me (or whatever you believe is the Source of love and life) until I feel it permeating through every part of me. I share a specific visual meditation I do around this on the podcast, but learning how to return to and believe the deep love I have available to me at any given moment has been such a beautiful and important practice for me.

  • Physical (sexual) connection - It was fascinating, and so helpful, for me to learn that sexual energy mirrors creative energy very closely (which makes sense as both have the purpose of being a life-giving force that ultimately seek to create and birth new life from them) because it showed me that if I’m feeling frustrated from not having an outlet for that in my life, there are other ways I can have that feeling met through accessing my creative juices, and find ways to make and produce more art and creative expressions of myself. It also seemed to click that as my creative efforts and output are starting to increasingly ramp up, I have noticed my desire for a relationship negatively correlates. Having projects I’m excited about and dedicated to has absolutely been mirroring the feelings of being in love and I’m enjoying getting to nurture something in the process.

Change your thoughts = change your beliefs

Since every feeling we have is a direct result of our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us, it’s been so life-changing for me to learn the process of re-creating the thoughts I’m thinking in my head in order to create a different belief and outcome for myself. In the relationship department, I’ve realized that so many of my difficulties around singleness have sprung from beliefs around when I thought I should be married by, what other people must think about me or are desiring for my life, and the quality/worth of my life as a single person as opposed to a married one. Some of these are self-created I’m sure, but so many are gradually and subtly woven into our brains from our experiences with family, friends, faiths, and the culture at large. So once I was able to pinpoint what exactly the beliefs were that were causing me the most distress (in my case those were things around timing, i.e.: “You should be married by the time you’re in your mid 20’s,” “If you haven’t found someone by this point, good luck finding any good guys left,” “It’s too hard to meet people around here,” “I have no idea where to look for or find a partner,” and on I could go). The best way to counter these negative and limiting beliefs is by creating the antithesis to each one in the form of an affirmation, and to write out what you want to be true about your thoughts and your life instead, and repeat them over and over to yourself until they become your new truths. Leave them in places you can see them, say them in the mirror, repeat them throughout the day to yourself, whatever you need to do. Here are some ones around this area that have been helpful for me personally:

  • Everything in my life is always unfolding in my favor and in Divine perfect timing

  • I am exactly where I need to be right now

  • What is meant for me will not pass me by

  • My success is inevitable and I’m always on the right path (I use this more for career beliefs but I think it works here too :)

  • My perfect partner will be presented to me in perfect timing for both of us

  • And then a silly (but helpful) one I use to help release an attachment around a certain person who is not meant for me (at this moment) is: “You’re either going to marry him or you’re not.” I talk more about this on the podcast, but it makes me laugh every time, and re-centers me to be completely ok with whatever the outcome is, knowing life is always unfolding for my greater good.

As I’ve continued to accumulate these new thoughts and beliefs and an even deeper connection to Source Love, I have found the desire for a relationship and the worry about when that will come about to dissipate so beautifully and leave me in a place of absolute clarity and trust. I feel so unshakeable in my belief that my love story, with myself and with a partner someday, are so uniquely beautiful and perfect that I can’t wait to see how my life will continue to unfold. And I believe that so strongly for you as well.

xoxo,
Sara B.

Listen to the full podcast episode here: