So I am single. There I said it. It feels like revealing this could be sufficient cause to get me burned on the stake. Scary. But despite the awkwardness and embarrassment this might be conjuring for both of us, I shall continue. The second part to the story is that it has been a while. And God, it’s hard not to feel like a loser. You know how you have those somewhat silly ideas of how your life will turn out when you’re a kid? Well I remember promising myself that I would be married before 25. I can probably blame part of this on my very beloved and now passed Grandmother who used to tell me and my sister that if you get to 25 and you aren’t married then you should probably give up on the whole romantic love thing and accept your spinster-dom. She herself married at 19 I think (my Mum and Auntie will no doubt correct me if I’m wrong) and stayed married for 60+ years. She also believed that she swallowed her tonsils so, while her intentions for my sister and I were undoubtedly good, came from a positive place and aligned with her experience of the world; she also had a few crazy ideas.
Well 25 was a few years ago for me and the truth is that my experience of being single has been good and hard and sad and empowering and lonely and scary and embarrassing and necessary and confusing. Sometimes it’s easy to feel strong and powerful and free, unencumbered to anyone and able to do whatever I like, when I like. I feel clear about what I want and can easily work out how to give that to myself. Other times it just feels lonely and sad and scary to think it might always be this way. It feels like a part of who I am – my ability to love, to feel connected in a romantic way – just can’t be expressed or acknowledged and that feels sad. Sometimes it feels hopeful to see other couples in love whether in real life or in movies and sometimes it just feels bloody depressing and I want to bury myself in some cosy cave to live out my days alone with rocks for friends.
It can be hard to understand why things are the way they are. We have ideas of how things will work out and when they don’t it’s hard to calibrate it within ourselves, our beliefs, our realities and have the world make sense again. This could apply to anything you yearn for, whether it’s love, a baby, your or someone else’s health, a career, financial security, validation and recognition for what you create or do – really anything that, in our heart of hearts, we want.
I really believe we can manifest anything that we want, that we can create the lives that we want to create. I also believe that everything is meant to be. And sometimes these two beliefs feel like they conflict. Does the fact that I’m single show me that it’s actually what I want right now? Maybe it does. Maybe I do. But that’s hard to accept or understand when I also feel a deep and real loneliness that I’m fairly sure I’m not making up. Is the lonely feeling meant to be as well? I think what it boils down to is a fear that what if the things we want to create in our lives – jobs, babies, influence, relationships – are just not meant to be? And that thought or fear makes me sad. A friend once told me that our beliefs fundamentally make us feel happy. If they make us feel sad then they aren’t our beliefs, they are our fears. Surely there must be a connection between our heart’s desire and our destiny. Life just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me if not.
And so what do we do if we are yearning for something and it’s not happening? Rumi wrote, your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. I agree on some level – that we should always seek to understand ourselves. That we should understand our fears as well as our hopes. To find out who we are, what we want, to be able to give ourselves what we need. To feel whole and complete in ourselves with or without what we desire. To understand what our real fears are that might be stopping whatever it is from coming to us. To examine ourselves.
We also have tools like manifesting or visualisation where we picture, visualise and feel what it would be like to have what we want. The idea being that everything physical is created from energy. So if you can create the energy of it, the physical manifestation will follow. I love this. After getting on and off dating apps, staring creepily at random men on the L train, even embarrassingly considering the possibility of speed dating – manifesting gives us a positive and gentle thing to feel like we are doing something to help us get what we want when other things might feel unaligned or coming from fear or panic.
But whether you are looking at and examining your blocks or fears or putting your effort into manifesting and creative visualisation, at some point, if nothing is happening, it all gets a bit hard and can start to feel like an effort. It becomes a bit of an ongoing cycle where you can feel good and hopeful and deserving of whatever it is you want and then other times you can feel negative, in despair and like a fool for ever hoping, for ever believing that you can have what you want. It’s easy to get angry at ourselves in those moments and tell ourselves we are stupid, dumb, pathetic, lame (whatever words you use) for wanting. Or we get angry at ourselves for not being able to get what we want, blaming ourselves for not being good at creating relationships or not being able to get the job we want, not being good enough to be recognised or validated or whatever it is.
But being angry at yourself never really helps. It doesn’t nurture or foster our hearts desires but makes us feel like idiots for having them. The truth is that it’s brave to be honest about the things that we want in our lives. We should have compassion for ourselves for our desires and know they aren’t frivolous or silly but precious and vulnerable. Some people believe we shouldn’t want, that we should appreciate everything we already have in our lives, practice gratitude and accept our situation as it is, here and now. Again I think this is partly useful but I also think that wanting or desiring is a really natural human feeling. Longing and yearning and hoping can all be beautiful, soft and gentle feelings if we let them. If we take away the judgement that we feel for the desire, then the desire itself is pure heart, pure joy and pure love for ourselves.