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Happiness and the Single Person: Changing Myth Into Reality
Does the expression "single and happy" sound like an oxymoron to you? Are you weary of others (especially other singles) reinforcing the belief that singles can't be happy? Do you find yourself always planning for the future or putting things off until you are married and settled? Do you often have a sense that the intense feelings of happiness and joy can't really be experienced unless you "have someone to share it with?" Do you just feel there is not enough time and other necessary resources available to the single person to pursue experiences that can bring true happiness?
If the above resonates in your gut, don't despair. The following tips will offer ways to help you experience your present reality differently through changing behavior that is based on those negative (false) beliefs. Essentially, these tips will offer advice on how to live a joyful, fulfilling and balanced single life, which will also assist you in achieving a healthy, long-term, intimate relationship.
* Seek self-fulfillment as an individual.
Place emphasis on being truly alive and experiencing the things that bring you true pleasure. Don't let the feelings of peace and wonder slip from your life as you wait to share (beautiful sunsets) and other gifts of life with a future partner.
* Don't place your focus on "getting there."
Instead, learn to experience the journey of life. If you can only see the goal of a relationship - marriage, home, children, etc., you will not enjoy the experiences along life's way. A good analogy for this is that of a person who bikes and sets (ie), a 40-mile goal for the day. They plan and prepare and off they go. The trip consists of thoughts about getting there, watching for problems in the road ahead, measuring the distance and looking forward to the sense of relief and accomplishment when the goal is met.
* What about the sensory experiences missed along the way? This biker will not see the way the sun is reflecting on the river. They won't hear the sounds of the birds and other wildlife in the parallel world around them. The smells of fresh vegetation, moist soil and spring-drenched air will not reach their awareness. It's doubtful their mind will trip and play with thoughts of other (perhaps childhood) days like this. In other words, they won't be IN the experience, just racing through it, and missing the magic available all around them.
* Don't put off important life decisions while waiting for that special someone.
If your desire is to own your own home, work towards achieving this now. Yes, it may be smaller than if you had a partner to share it with. Your list of must-haves with this first home may be different (as yours alone) than they would be if you were looking for a family.When that time comes, you can make the decision to remain there for a time, or sell/rent out your first place. In the meantime, you will have an investment that you can make into something that meets your needs now for comfortable and secure living. It will add stability and be a wonderful help at tax time. If you are thinking about making a career change or going back to school for a degree, there is no better time than now. Yes, this may involve re-working priorities, moving, giving up some income, etc. If this is something you have decided you want for your life, delaying it until you are settled in a relationship may make it impossible to achieve. Make that move now. Don't let this time in your life be placed on hold as you wait for things to happen in your life, instead of working to make them become reality.
* Pamper yourself
Do nice things for yourself now that you have been putting off until? Go ahead and take that trip to the exotic place you have always wanted to visit. You can return there someday with your special someone.
Make it a habit to set the table for your dinner (for one). Use nice china and candles. Treat yourself as deserving of the things couples routinely provide to themselves as a unit. Ask yourself, am I less deserving because I'm single?
Put care and love into how you decorate your home. It does not have to cost a lot of money or become another chore to accomplish this. Make it a comfortable nest and retreat from the world. You and your future mate can decide together what to keep, change or add to.
* Make a plan, not excuses
Make time for the things that matter. Don't let your job or other responsibilities take over your life. Set those priorities. Set limits on work and other functional tasks. We often cite work as our best excuse for not attending to our other needs and wants. This may mean making less money or not moving up as fast in the organization. Without balance, there will be deficits in the emotional, spiritual, and social and leisure areas of your life.
* Write down your must haves.
Take time out each day for unwinding and relaxation. Keep a weekly inventory of how you are doing and make adjustments as necessary. Learn how to productively "waste time". Turn off the blackberry and TV. Spend time alone with your thoughts. Reflect on your feelings and your life.
This is the season for new beginnings. Let this spring be your time for learning how to be truly happy and at peace within yourself. Immerse your senses in the many joys that the world around you has to offer. Don't shut out the beauty and happiness that is available to everyone, regardless of their relationship status.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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