Photography by Chandler Grace !
I took a poll recently on my Instagram stories asking the questions “what are you struggling with right now?” and “what do you want to read about?” and the overwhelming response came down to one word: singleness.
When I realized this, my immediate gut reaction was, “Nope, not writing about that.” In a culture where we are able to identify as and with pretty much anything, I am ultra-careful not to identify with my “singleness.” I’m overly sensitive to checking what comes out of my mouth because I don’t want to appear to perpetually be auditioning for the role of “single girl who just wants a dang boyfriend.” Ridiculous I know, but the thought of voicing any amount of loneliness, longing, or desire for companionship makes me feel weak. I’m not sure how or why I have adopted this notion, but I’m doing my best to disengage from it. Because the truth is, I’m at a really good place in my life with the whole single/dating/relationship saga, and voicing my desires doesn’t take away from that.
The other reason I was leery to write on this topic is simply this: I don’t have much wisdom to share…at all. I haven’t discovered some algorithm that cures one’s inability to cope with their current state of aloneness. I’m not the type to give you a pep talk about how you’re a “single, independent woman who don’t need no man.” I understand the rationale of wanting to find someone to spend the rest of your life with, I just have absolutely no expertise in the pursuit of that endeavor. All of that to say: I get the “want” behind evading singleness, I’m just not going to prescribe you a “how.”
Reason being: there isn’t one answer. There isn’t one right way to be in a relationship or not in one. If you’re looking for advice on how to get one step closer to finding “the one,” I’m not your guru. However, when I was struggling in my singleness (the confidence comes in waves, I wouldn’t trust it), instead of focusing on what I didn’t have in my life, I chose to focus on three questions that shifted my perspective.
If you are struggling with your singleness, first take a moment and lean into that, then ask yourself these hard questions:
Why do I want to be with someone?
What do I think being with someone will change in my life?
What am I inviting someone into?
What these questions can reveal is terrifying at first blush. Do we want to be with someone because we are codependent? Are we searching for companionship so that we can find someone to “fix” something in our life? Is the life I’m inviting someone else into one that I even enjoy myself? The list goes on and on.
What these three questions will eventually boil down to for you is this: what do you want out of life? The answer doesn’t lie in another individual. You cannot be someone’s greatest adventure, and they shouldn’t be yours. You cannot be someone’s savior, and they cannot be yours.
If the goal you are barreling towards is perfect companionship, you are in for a life of deep disappointment. If the goal you have on a pedestal is becoming the perfect companion, then you are setting yourself up for some fun lifelong self-deprecation. If you think you can be someone’s savior, then we need to have a whole other discussion about how science has now proven that we AREN’T in fact the center of the universe. If you are looking for a savior, I’ve got a book for ya that will end up being much more satisfying than trying to find a god within humanity.
I’ve grappled with these questions myself. Some of what they unearthed wasn’t pretty. Some of what they uncovered helped give me fresh ambition. Because the truth is, not all of your answers will be cause for concern. In fact, some of them will point you towards what you’re made to do. Ultimately, I’ve learned so much about my true desires by allowing myself to honestly ask what I’m looking for in life and why. The revelation comes when you realize the answer isn’t a person, it’s a purpose.
Some of us are lucky enough to find companionship along the way to our purpose, but I would encourage you to shift your focus and identity from “I’m single” to “*Insert purpose mission statement here*.” A relationship should enhance your mission towards whatever you’re chasing, but you need to know what that thing is first...
So, my challenge to you is this: when you’ve come to a conclusion on my three questions above, go out there and get what you’re looking for out of life all by yourself. If someone comes along to empower you in that journey, then you’ll know they’re the right one.