Are you about to burst? Don't.
I remember being a single girl and receiving an invitation to a wedding, knowing mostly couples would attend. As much as I would look on the positive side and think 'I might meet Mr. Right there' (because that was always in the back of my mind), the reality was that my married friends would all have each other, and I would once again feel like the lonely fifth wheel.
It always seemed to be little old single me amongst all the happy, smiling couples who seemed to have everything I was looking for. No matter how much I tried to feel okay by myself, that deep longing to be part of a couple never went away. Nor did the feeling that there was something wrong with me that made me wonder if I would ever figure out what it was I was supposed to do to be on that other side, the elusive couples side that always seemed to escape me.
No matter how much we may believe that we are living in a different world today, the reality is that it's almost impossible to forget that we are living in a couple's world. From the numerous times you're asked if you're dating anyone or why you're not married yet (or something else along those lines), to the special rates offered to couples everywhere from gyms to resorts to big box stores, the implied message is always the same – if you're not part of a couple, there's something wrong with you!
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At least that was how I always felt. For those of you who are able to ignore those messages and live your single lives to the fullest without feeling that way somewhere deep down inside, I admire you for being able to authentically be in that space amid such external pressure. But for the rest of us, I've got a few things to share with you that I wish I had understood back when I was feeling so discontented being single when everyone else seemed to be with someone.
So what's a single gal to do in this couples world? Plenty!
1. Focus on yourself. That's right — you. That beautiful person who looks back at you when you look in the mirror. Take an inventory of everything you have in your life right now. Look at the things you want to do, the places you want to visit, the experiences you want to have and start making those things happen now. Don't wait to start living until you've found someone to share your life with. Live your life like you've never lived it before.
2. Remember it's only temporary. There are so many seasons in life and this is only one of them. Don't get so caught up in looking forward to the next seasons that you forget to enjoy the season that you're currently living in. There will be positive and negative aspects to each period of your life. Instead of looking at the future as being better than the present, focus on what is great about the here and now.
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3. Give yourself a reality check. Spend some time with a married couple or a friend who's in a long term relationship to see the realities first hand for yourself. Being a part of a couple is wonderful but maintaining a healthy relationship doesn't happen without challenges. A reality check while being around them can give you a fresh perspective on some of the benefits of being single that you may not have realized during your quest to become a couple. This perspective can help to inspire you to enjoy your singlehood to the fullest.
4. Ignore the cultural messages. Remember, most of couplehood is just programming and marketing and the culture doesn't reflect what is going on in your life. Hard to do, I know, but if you remind yourself of just how many single people there are out there and how much money is made off of advertising that targets getting married, having a family and living happily ever after, it will help you see just how much of these cultural messages are actually part of big business and not about your love life (or lack of one).
5. Remember to breathe. Stop being so hard on yourself. Just because you've been where you've been and gone through your experiences doesn't mean you're set up to repeat the same patterns over and over again. You can make changes; you can do things differently and you can stop repeating old patterns. You can (and will) attract someone different into your life as you begin to realize those baby steps towards changing those old patterns.
Remember, this is your time, your space, your season, your life. Don't let someone else's idea of what it means to be happy take away from the joy of being you — radiant, beautiful, confident, currently single YOU!
Jane Garapick knows firsthand what it's like to have a broken heart, a broken dream and a broken you. She writes about adventures on the rocky road to finding Mr. Right at www.gettingtotruelove.com. To get started on your own personal journey to true love, download Jane's complimentary guide "Find Your True Love: 10 Simple Steps to Getting the Love You Want...and Deserve".
This article was originally published at Getting to True Love . Reprinted with permission from the author.