We've all been there. I remember it well. There I was, 41, almost ten years single since the divorce from my college boyfriend. The movie, City of Angels with Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage had just finished, and I was sobbing, totally ruminating about "Why can't i find someone who would be willing to give up eternity for just one day with me? Will I ever find someone who gets me, who can love me for exactly who I am, who shares my deepest values, who is my best friend and lover, and who I can grow old with and walk hand-in-hand with, and who will still be opening the door for me when we're 90?"
I had no idea that I would end up meeting my sweet wonderful husband the following week. (And we just celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary, very happily I might add.) Like I was then, you might be feeling a bit hopeless about whether or not you'll ever find someone to celebrate a 25th, or even a 50th, wedding anniversary with. Or, maybe you're secretly envious or jealous of all of your friends who seem to be in happy relationships. You might be wondering how long to hook up "in the meantime." Or calculating whether to stay out of any relationship whatsoever until you meet "the one."
I've been thinking about those past years, the ones where I was single, the ones where I wasn't, and reflecting on why we can end up feeling single for way too long, and, I've decided upon my answer. Resistance. We feel single because we resist putting ourselves out there. We resist letting others in. We resist love, the way it was meant to be shared. We resist the wholeness that we already are, together.
What do I mean? Well first off, we resist being who we really are. We resist being present with ourselves. Present, meaning in attendance, at one with, in knowing of, aligned with. And we do it for so many reasons; We don't know how. We're busy looking outside of ourselves. We're afraid of what we might see. We're afraid we might see nothing at all. We covet what we aren't, instead of feeling gratitude for what we are. We've been told we're bad or not enough of one thing or another. We could go on and on with examples. Ultimately, we don't know who we really are because we neglect looking and taking the time to get to know. But then, if we don't know who we are and we aren't being ourselves, then how do we expect to attract someone who loves us for who we are? Instead, we attract the kind of person who loves the person we project to others, the person we pretend to be, and then we're surprised when that relationship doesn't work out.
Then, we resist letting others in. Again, there are so many reasons why, but they too usually boil down to fear. Fear of being overwhelmed. Fear of losing our sense of independence. Fear of losing our own sense of identity. Fear of failure in the relationship, that it won't work out so "why bother?" Fear of what it says about us, that we are in relationship with that person. Or, on a slightly different note, we don't know how to be a "we," only an "I." We don't know how to communicate and collaborate so that we retain that balance between attending to our own sense of self, and allowing our loved one to maintain theirs.
Furthermore, we resist loving not only ourselves but others unconditionally. Even more so when and because we feel "less than" or needy inside, and neglect to take responsibility for our own sense of wholeness. Instead of loving unconditionally, we tend to love other people on condition that they do something for us in return, or on condition that they are something for us that we don't think we are. How often do we women, for instance, marry the guy who makes lots of money and makes us feel secure because we don't believe that we can make enough money or make ourselves feel secure? Or we pick the smart guy because we don't feel smart enough. Or we choose the athletic strong type who makes us feel strong because we don't feel strong enough. Out of neediness, emptiness, or sense of lack, we pick partners who "complete us" or make us feel whole. But those kinds of relationships don't last because when we don’t need them anymore, we leave them. Or, when they grow in some way, and no longer fill a specific need or purpose for us, we leave them. Or we grow, they stay the same, and we judge it. Again, we leave them.
And perhaps underlying all the rest of it, we resist perceiving the wholeness that's out there for our spiritual taking. We aren't tuning into our wholeness, our spiritual or energetic connection with everyone and everything around us. (Thanks to quantum physicists, we now know that at our core, we are really energy fields, pulses of vibration, eternally radiating outward in all directions, and ultimately interconnecting us with all that is, as one mega field of awareness or intelligent energy that some call the quantum field of consciousness, and I call love.) Because, when we do tune into this energy that feels like wholeness, it is only love that we feel.
Why aren't we feeling this wholeness, instead of this aloneness, this crappy feeling of "being single?" Well, with most of us, our minds and our lives are continuously busy and filled with other things; we're too distracted to feel an energy that is so fundamental and so subtle that it needs for us to be quiet in order to sense it. Or even when we do sometimes pick up this intuitive vibe that's coming into our awareness, we quite often push it away or resist hearing what it wants us to hear because our ego or personality self usually wants something that is different from what the soul self is trying to get us to hear. And of course, if we're one to resist believing in a spiritual, energetic, or nonphysical dimension, then let's face it, we aren't even trying. We're not even pointing our awareness in that direction. Again, so many reasons why we don't perceive the wholeness that is everywhere around us and comprises our very being.
Bottom line, I've come to see that feeling single is a point of view, a perception, a way we're pointing our mind or consciousness out into the physical world and labeling ourselves as separate and alone. It is resistance to looking at the completeness that is already there within ourselves, within others, and all around us. Feeling single is a momentary state of mind, a state of consciousness that arises from the way we are looking at ourselves, and neglecting the bigger picture. A state that actually shifts as soon as we shift our thinking. Like in those gestalt drawings where you might see the young lady or the old crone, the two urns or the two faces. Depending on which way your eyes take in dark or light, matter or space, form or formlessness.
All of these forms of resistance dissolve as soon as we take down the walls of our conditional love. First of all, when we love ourselves without any exclusions, we see who we really are and respect that. We expect and allow ourselves the conditions in which we thrive. We let our inner light shine brightly, not in any way that is selfish, but in ways that are self-nurturing. It is like seeing ourselves as a plant, who needs just the right amount of water and sunlight, and just the right kind of soil in order to thrive. It is not selfish to allow ourselves to bloom, because the more we bloom the more we have to offer the world. In loving ourselves without conditions, we expand our ability to love others without conditions.
As we fill with love, we have more and more love to share with others, and it is attractive. As we love ourselves and as we fill ourselves with the energy of love, we attract to ourselves the very partners (and friends, and colleagues) who match us, who resonate with us for who we really are. After all, love attracts love. And as we evolve and grow over time, we continue to attract those who resonate with us at any given stage of our life.
Filled with love, we naturally love (respect, listen to, feel for, deeply see) all of those who come into our life, without hesitation, freely and with much compassion and patience for the works in progress that we each are. We want for them what they want for themselves, not what we would impose upon them. One of my favorite lines in the movie Avatar was "I see you." It hinted to us at what love is in its higher evolutions. A healthy and unconditionally loving relationship is one that balances our wants and their wants. And I don't mean compromising so that each is down to fifth choice about, let's say, which movie to see. I mean taking turns getting first choices, not only in movies, but in everything essentially, over time.
So who do we marry? We marry the one we love for who they really are. The one who, when we're with them, feels in relationship the way we desire and choose to feel and thrive, in relationship. The one that is our best friend. The one who could change careers or other aspects of their lives, and we would still love them for that inner essence that makes them who they are. If we were all to do that, who wouldn't want to be with us? We would feel like total freedom to be around.
So the next time I hear you getting down about being single, I'm going to challenge you to look at what you're resisting in your life, like resisting really being authentic in your life, or worrying about letting others in for how your life could change, or being afraid to love others more freely and without conditions, or even more deeply, ignoring the wholeness in which you play a part, maybe scared at the responsibility you would feel with that.
And, I'm going to challenge you to embrace the wholeness that you already are.