Monday, 7 October 2013

What I Love About and Learned From Being Single

 I've decided to take part in The Single Woman's 30 Day Blogging Challenge. Though I won't be covering each day, some topics are relevant to the theme of this blog. See details here

Today's topic is to describe a day or moment when being single was really awesome.

The moment that I truly love being single, is in those quiet moments after you've made it through a difficult heartbreak, and you realize you're okay again. There is a lightness in your heart, a weight has been lifted from your shoulders and you are breathing easy again. You're at peace again.

Other than that, it's more general. Sometimes I come home and just enjoy the peace of being able to do my own thing, cook what I want, read, listen to music, whatever, without having to make room for someone else's schedule. There are some moments when you just need that freedom to do what you want, when you want. I think what I enjoy most about being single is the peace of living at my own pace, making my own choices. I can focus fully on my needs and do what's right or best for me at that moment. I enjoy the freedom of being able to do what I want, or NOT do something that I don't want to, without significantly impacting another person close to me.

I like being single because I don't have to seek someone else's approval when I want to do something. I don't have to check in with someone if I don't feel like it that day. I can go somewhere alone without having to explain myself. I don't have to worry about arguments or fights over silly things. I can have all the alone time I want and need.

In addition, my single years have taught me some important things:

1. Who I am. Your teenage and young adulthood years are some of the most important formative years of your life. If you tangle your identity with someone else's at a tender age, you lose the opportunity to learn who you are, distinct and separate from everyone else. Getting to know yourself is a critical step in life; it allows you to develop your core values, what you stand for and what you won't put up with, and this ultimately guides all your decisions in life. Sure, we change as time goes by. Maybe you hated broccoli as a kid and now can't go a day without eating it. I was once convinced I could never write a poem; now I have written dozens, some I am very proud of. Self-awareness allows you to track the changes in your life; it helps in knowing when you're progressing or not, whether you're growing or shrinking and gives you the opportunity to do something about it.

2. What I am capable of. There are times when you need to stand alone to truly appreciate your strength as an individual. I'm sure you have been surprised at some point at some of the things you managed to get through on your own but didn't think you could. If you learn from too early on to lean on someone, you run the risk of becoming dependent on them, or crashing and burning when there's no one in their position to lean on. Trust yourself; you are much more capable than you believe yourself to be.

3. Where my worth should come from. And where is that? Me. Only from me. It's definitely something I am still learning, but not having someone else to constantly tell me how beautiful I am, how lucky they are to have me etc. (or whatever boyfriends are supposed to say) forces me to look within for my worth. I learn to tell myself I'm beautiful without cringing (a work-in-progress), I learn to remind myself how capable I am, and what I have been through on my own, I learn to value and acknowledge my strengths and talents so that in the midst of people coming into and out of my life, I am the constant. I am my worth.

4. The importance of faith and spirituality. This ties in heavily to the previous point concerning worth. I'll embarrassingly admit that when I was a teenager, I really wanted a boyfriend because I thought if someone loved me, it would validate me somehow. But guess what? You've already been validated. You are validated by your very existence, not by whether people see you, love you or not. Even if you're still single, never been kissed, never been looked in the eye by someone you adore, you have still been validated because you have been created, crafted by God, He who does nothing without intent or purpose.

Beyond that, being single for so long has allowed me to learn that it is not in romantic relationships that we should be putting our faith and whole hearts into, but instead pouring ourselves fully into a relationship with God and loving Him the way He should be loved. By no means am I perfect at this (or even close; I am very much a work-in-progress in this area), but I am much more aware now of the way our culture emphasizes romantic love as the most important thing in life, to be sought after regardless of consequence. The reason we keep getting hurt so badly time after time is because we keep putting our hearts in the wrong places. By all means, love people, but love God more. Be aware of the reasons you get into relationships. They won't fill your voids. Only God can do that.

5. What I want, in a relationship and in life. In getting to know yourself, your likes, dislikes, quirks, habits, etc. you are better equipped to know what qualities you want in a life partner. It's also helpful to learn from others around you who have been in relationships. Listening to your friends' issues concerning their own relationships can lead to insight into your own needs or values. For example, what issues were you most bothered by? What was your friend upset about that you thought wasn't a big deal? etc. Even platonic friendships can help in this area; what do  you value most in your friendships? What behaviours hurt or anger you?

Being single is a wonderful time to make some goals for your future. It's helpful to know what you want, and have something to work toward so that you keep that zeal and motivation for life. Having a clear idea of where you want to be helps keep you going day after day. Of course, those goals might change or need to be modified if you meet someone along the way, but it's better to know what you're compromising on, and take an active part in your life's course, rather than be swept away in someone else's idea of what life should be like.

If you use them wisely, your single days can be some of the best times of your life. Don't let anyone put you down or make you feel like you're not good enough just because you're not coupled. Remember that you are worth so much more than whether someone wants you or not. We all have a purpose to fulfill, and sometimes being single is integral to that. If you took all the energy you use into despairing about your singleness, analyzing it, trying to "fix" it, and instead put it into something worthwhile and meaningful, you could accomplish great and wonderful things.

Embrace yourself, your life and the plan God has for you.

You are enough.


What about you? When has being single been a great experience for you? Share in the comments below!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

When Being Single Sucks and Why It Doesn't Have to Break You: The Single Woman's 30 Day Blogging Challenge Day 2

I've decided to take part in The Single Woman's 30 Day Blogging Challenge. Though I won't be covering each day, some topics are relevant to the theme of my blog. See details here

Today's topic is describing a time when being single really sucked.

Over the past few years, I've become increasingly comfortable with my single status. Before that, however, for a long time, especially during my teenage years and early young adulthood, I yearned constantly for a companion in my life. I was lonely, and I fed into the lie that having a boyfriend would ease my feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. I thought it would cure me of my low self esteem and validate me and my existence in this life.

As I got older, and there was still no boyfriend, I began to learn just how false (and absurd!) those thoughts were. I don't remember the exact moment that it hit me, but I suddenly realized that there was so much more to life than having a significant other. Since then, I've learned, in small increments, to truly cherish my time as a single woman.

But life, being as fluid and ever-changing as it is, brought moments when I strongly desired companionship. It was with a different intent and mindset from my teenage years, but the feeling of longing was very much there.

I have found single life to be most challenging when you have fallen for someone for whom the feeling is not mutual. The moment after the butterflies have settled, your phone has still not yet buzzed, and the air is heavy with the realization that you have been rejected.

Rejection: to me, the hardest part of being single.

It doesn't have to be outright; just the notion that the one you want, doesn't want you.

It had been some time after my first major heartbreak when I laid eyes on him. It started as a silly crush, just proof that I still had the capacity to feel something for someone. As our paths crossed and diverged and crossed again over time, I fell into and out of my feelings for him; they followed me around and at some point I found myself really falling hard for him.

It frightened me.

But as ever hopeful as I am, I let myself dream about him returning my feelings. However, as fate would have it, it soon became increasingly clear that not only was this not going to happen, but he had fallen completely head over heels for someone else.

Someone else.

A wave of shame washed over me. He didn't want me. He wanted her. Why not me? Was there something wrong with me? What was I lacking? Was I not good enough?

Suddenly it wasn't just about my singleness anymore; it became a battle against myself. All my insecurities were suddenly brought to light and I couldn't shake the thought that the reason he chose her over me was because I simply was not good enough for him. This was further compounded by the fact that from the beginning, I always felt like he was out of my league.

I struggled with these thoughts for a long time. I struggled, and beat myself up for not being the cheery, outgoing, witty, over-achieving, over-involved type. I struggled, until one day a beautiful reminder came my way:

God is in control.

God is in control. And what did that mean? It means He has a plan for my life far greater than I can understand or see right now. It means that He knows what to give and what to withhold, and sometimes the latter is a blessing in disguise. It means that He, in His loving and merciful nature, would never allow me to have something that would cause needless pain and strife in my life.

It means that even when I think someone is absolutely perfect for me, He knows more than I do, what will hurt or harm me more than help me.

But beyond that, it meant that there was something better out there for me, and that something was already mine, simply awaiting God's perfect timing to reveal himself.

In time I also learned that whether someone wanted me or not was not a reflection of my worth. You are still of infinite value whether someone chooses to be with you or not.

There are still times when I struggle with myself, but I always come back to this; I allow myself to surrender to His will, and feel the peace of knowing that everything is unfolding as it should.

So maybe it wasn't really a rejection.

It was just a redirection to the path that I am truly meant to be on.


When has being single been difficult for you? How did you overcome it? Share in the comments below!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Letting Go and Moving On: Why Is It Necessary?

Photo by me
Letting go and moving on. Arguably the most difficult thing we must do as humans. It is also, however, vital and necessary to living our best lives. How? In life, nothing is constant; it is a series of phases, of seasons one after the other that we move through, each with a purpose, each meant to teach us something. We move from high school to university to the work place. We move from singleness, to a relationship and back again. We move from darkness to light, from ignorance to enlightenment, and so forth. Some transitions are natural and inevitable; some we have to choose for ourselves.

Much of our suffering comes from trying to hold on to something that no longer serves a purpose in our lives. We think something is meant to be with us forever, so we grasp tightly to it, ignoring the warning signs and making excuses for the pain it causes us. We think that holding on is easier than letting go, that you're not strong enough to live without the object of your desire. But if you don't ever give yourself a chance to find out, how will you know?

It is indeed terrifying to think of leaving behind something or someone who has been an important part of your life. It is tempting to keep replaying all the good times and use that as proof that you shouldn't let go of it, but even the worst of relationships have good times.

In my case, what I struggled with letting go of was the person I fell in love with for the first time. In my lifetime, he was and still is the only person I would say I loved (in the romantic sense). The intensity of my feelings, coupled with my irrational belief that we were meant to be and the fact that life kept throwing us together, caused me to truly believe I couldn't let him go. At my lowest point, I didn't want to. But time proved to me again and again that I was only hurting myself more by holding on. Life was beginning to nudge me to make the decision to let go and move on. In my heart of hearts, I knew it was the right thing to do.

So I took the plunge. 

I began the process of letting go and moving on. And if you had told me a year and a half ago that today I would be the happiest I ever was without him, I would not have believed you. But here I am, on my own, blessed by knowing real, true joy, all because I made the decision to let go.

Every season of our life is meant not only to teach us something, but to prepare us for the next phase. Every single experience we encounter, no matter how good or bad, is necessary for us to become who we are meant to be. They give us the tools that are necessary for us to fulfill our unique purpose.

We can't move ahead and keep growing if we hold on to things that are no longer serving us. We can't fulfill our destiny if we are stuck in the past. 

Listen to the still, quiet voice that is telling you it is time to move on.  Trust that you are strong enough, brave enough, and simply enough on your own, to live a beautiful, happy and fulfilling life. Trust that this ending is the beginning of a new and wonderful phase of your life, one that you could not have experienced if you chose to hang on to the past. Trust that there is something better for you in the future that can come only as a result of letting go.

Nothing is this life is permanent; this is just the nature of life. The sooner we embrace this, the quicker we end our needless suffering. Because while we can dwell on the fact that happy times may not last, we can just as well rejoice in knowing that the dark times will end, the heaviness will lift, and your sun will rise again.

Be blessed.


In future posts, I will be exploring the phenomena of letting go and moving on in more detail. I hope you'll stick around!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

20 Things I Learned From a Broken Heart: Part II

This is the second installment of a two-part post. Read the first part here.

Photo by me
  • I've learned to be wary of people who think they know themselves completely and are not open to feedback from others. I've learned to be wary of those who feel they don't need the help and support of others. No matter how independent we are, as social creatures, we simply cannot survive happily or healthily without the support of others. None of us will ever have all the answers, not about love, life or even ourselves. Thus, it's important to be open to other perspectives. Beyond that, it's important to let yourself be vulnerable and let your walls down around the people who care about you. It's the only way to form truly deep connections.
  • I've learned that some people come into your life as a blessing, but some come as a test. Every single person who has ever crossed your path was put there with a purpose. No matter how brief the interaction, or how painful, they were there for a reason. After a heartbreak is a good time to reflect on the lessons you learned from the experience, or otherwise try to see what good came out of it. In the midst of pain and anger, it can be all too easy to dismiss this fact, as I did previously. However, if you quiet your mind, and your raging emotions for a moment, and open yourself to the possibilities, the answers will come to you.
  • I've learned that life is choice. You actively choose whether to let someone back into your life, whether you realize it at the time or not. If you find that history is repeating itself and you're back in the same place with the same person, you can usually pinpoint the exact moment you let them back in. It helps to be aware of your catalysts; sometimes it means making the difficult decision to say no to someone.
  • I've learned that even when you're at your lowest point, and hope and faith have all but disappeared, it's still possible to rise up and be okay again, be more than okay again. It's possible to be happy again. You will make your way out of the dark and there will be a lightness in your heart again, even if you can't believe it right now. 
  • I've learned that you probably never stop loving him or missing him, at least not for some time, but every once in a while, especially in your weaker moments, it's worth reminding yourself why you made the decision to let go, and reaffirm your belief that you did the right thing for you.
  •  I've learned that if he isn't willing to fight for you, then he isn't worthy of your love. There is no simpler way to say it. If he wants to be in your future, he will make the effort in the present.
  •  I've learned that my feelings and emotions are as valid as anyone else's and I have the right to speak up when something bothers me. I will not be stepped on. If you are constantly walking on eggshells around someone, or always weighing your words for fear of their anger or disapproval, this may be a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Depending on circumstances, the best thing to do may be to let them go.
  • I've learned that you need to love yourself and respect yourself enough to know when to walk away. What you put up with, is what will continue. If you don't speak up about the way you are being treated, it won't stop. And if talking does nothing, then it's time to walk. Remember your worth. You're worth SO much more than second class treatment.
  • I've learned that I'm strong on my own, and I don't need a man to come save me. The biggest lie we are told as females is that we are helpless, and need to wait for our knight in shining armor to come save us. Whether you are in a relationship or not, newly single or perpetually so, you are strong and capable. You are competent and worthy and you have the ability to create a beautiful life of your own. Claim it.
  •  I've learned that life is SO MUCH MORE than romantic relationships, and it's such a waste to sit around tearfully waiting for someone to sweep you off your feet. GO LIVE. There's a whole WORLD out there. DO something with your life. Do something for yourself. You're more than worth it.

    Sometimes it is the most difficult decisions that lead us to our best selves. In the midst of your pain and heartache, it can be easy to be drawn back to something or someone who is not right for you, just to fill the void in you. But in being still and listening to your inner voice, you will know which path to take. And yes, it will likely be the more difficult one, but the destination will be more than worth it. With time and patience for both the journey and yourself, you will begin to see why it was necessary. Take the leap of faith, and you will be at peace again.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

20 Things I Learned From a Broken Heart: Part I

Photo by me
 One night, during a particularly trying time in my life, I was seething about how unfair life had been. I was still reeling from the loss of someone I had given my whole heart to. After years of investing my time, thoughts and emotions on him, I ended up empty handed and hurt in the worst way I had ever known. Frustratedly, I questioned what his purpose was in my life. What was the point? What did I even gain from it all?

What did I gain? As I sat there, that question began answering itself.  I realized that although the outcome was a painful one, there were valuable lessons to be learned from it.

I learned:

  • The utmost importance of communication in any kind of relationship. Many relationships break down because of a lack of effective communication. Communication is a two way street, and consists of both talking and listening. If there is a problem, speak up. Not talking about an issue doesn't make it go away; it just builds resentment until someone explodes, at which point it's difficult to take back the damage. Likewise, if someone raises an issue concerning the relationship, listen without judgement, and let go of the need to defend yourself. If you are afraid of speaking up for fear of what the other person may say or do, this may be a sign that the relationship is not a healthy one, and it may be time to consider stepping away from the person.
  • The importance of open-mindedness and honesty. This is an extension of the point above. Relationships thrive on trust and honesty. It helps to be honest with the other person, especially concerning the way their behaviour may be affecting you. Open-mindedness in this context refers to the ability to accept what the other person says as their truth, and being able to accept feedback from them, for example, if they were hurt by something you did, don't discount their feelings by saying they shouldn't feel that way. Be humble, take responsibility for your actions, and move on.
  • A relationship is a two-way street and there needs to be giving and taking by both parties. If you find yourself doing all or most of the work, then it's time to reconsider your role in this person's life.
  • My worth, and how I ought to be treated. Sometimes it takes being treated unfairly to truly realize your worth. Sometimes you need to experience what you don't want in a relationship, before you know what you do want, and what you cannot compromise on.
  • It's important to think twice about who you give of yourself to. It should be someone who would appreciate and cherish every bit of you, even your less-than-perfect parts.
  • Sometimes it takes a long while to really get to know someone, and most times it's worth the wait, before you decide whether or not you want a future with them. 
  •  You can't control what people think or understand by what you've said. And that's no reflection of who you are. You have nothing to prove to anyone, as long as your conscience is clear and your intentions are pure. If someone doesn't believe what you say when you are telling the truth, it's a reflection of who they are and the way they see the world, which is something we cannot change. And it's your decision whether you keep those people around or not. If someone is constantly "misunderstanding" you, misinterpreting you, twisting your words and manipulating you, you are better off letting them go.
  • If someone truly cared about you, and wants to be a part of your life, they would make the effort to keep friendship alive. Real friends know the value of the word 'sorry'. I've learned that talk is cheap; if you want to know how someone really feels about you, pay attention to their actions. When words and actions contradict, believe the actions. They speak truer and more loudly and clearly than any words. 
  • If someone loves you, they would show it. I've learned to appreciate when people do show gestures of love, and I've learned to wait for the one who is not afraid to show me that he loves me. If you are confused by his behaviours, then he doesn't love you.
  • Love knows no reason, no logic, but that doesn't mean it's meant to be. It's easy to romanticize your feelings for someone. For a long time I battled with my feelings, convinced that the way I felt showed that we were "meant to be" despite the (many) odds. I hid behind my delusions until it became so painful that I had no choice but to face reality. It is a difficult and painful task, but you owe it to yourself to be honest with yourself about your situation. It will hurt immensely at first, but in the long run awaits real joy and happiness, and your true destiny.

Read Part II here!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Say Hello to Hope

Photo by me
As humans, we can't escape the occasional, or sometimes perpetual showers of hardship and hurt in this life. Just as happiness is a natural part of life, so is sadness, and in those moments, or phases of our lives, it helps to read an encouraging word or uplifting message to pull us out of the fog. It may or may not solve our problem, but it lends a bit of hope that this season of sadness will not last forever, and we will soon see sunshine again.

Hope. That word is the reason I've decided to start this blog. After my own experience of living in darkness, it was the re-discovery of hope and faith that started me on my healing journey and propelled me to better days. My goal in sharing my words is to spread hope to those who need an extra push along the way, a reminder that they are not alone and in the midst of darkness, the belief that things will get better. 

Additionally, I look forward to connecting with readers with whom my words resonate, and building an open-minded, respectful and caring community.

My posts will be based upon my ideas, beliefs and perspectives which I have cultivated throughout my life thus far. Hence, I don't claim to have all the answers, or even an answer. Instead, I intend to simply bring my own unique voice and perspective to the realm of blogging with the intention of allowing you the reader to perhaps see a different point of view and new way of thinking about things.

I believe in living deeply, truly and authentically, and my posts will reflect that.

I hope you will join me on this journey, as it will be as much of an experience for me as a writer, as for you, the reader.

I look forward to connecting with you all!

And remember, there is always hope.

Peace and blessings.