As kids we are taught that happy endings occur when the prince marries the princess. Society certainly promotes this fairytale around the idea of finding that perfect person and living happily ever after. If you’re like me, you had an image painted in your mind of just how this scenario would look and you’d slated an age by which it would happen. And if you’re reallylike me you pushed that number back…more than a few times but kept the hope alive. Yet as things change and evolve (or devolve), as we travel more, as we work more and as we meet prospects on Tinder, texting them our feelings in the form of emojis, the odds of Prince Charming riding up on his white horse seems less and less likely. The struggle is real.
I have many friends who assure me that finding that lover/friend/hero partner is all it’s cracked up to be and that when you know – you’ll just know. It seems to be the only relationship related clue my lucky-in-love friends offer: ‘when you know, you’ll just know.’ And they declare it so blissfully.
So if finding your soul mate is so great, why should you be celebrating your time without one?
THE “LOVING YOURSELF” PHENOMENON
The big buzz phrase for those rocking the single life is “love yourself”. That seems to be the mantra for those going it alone. I know I’ve embraced it. My pursuit for self-love has led me through many countries, to shamans and yoga retreats. And it may have justified the purchase of several pairs of overpriced shoes along the way. As I journeyed, I explored many quandaries that I hadn’t before. I observed cultures to learn what made them tick. I experienced beautiful and powerful moments that will be known by only me, myself and I. In my quests, without even realizing it, I found the self love that I had been seeking. But the thing is, I’m not convinced that it’s the answer to the question at hand.
Don’t get me wrong, I am 110% grateful for every single ‘om’ I chanted and every designer sole that put a little extra pep in my step, but when I came away from it all, still single, friends and family were more eager than ever to set me up. The first question everyone would ask me when I returned from a journey, sun-kissed and soul-shining was, “Did you meet a guy?” If loving oneself is so essential, why the urgency for finding someone else to love?
THE REAL KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOUR
It was strange because I felt like I had been seizing every adventure possible in my singledom, but somehow no matter how amazing and empowering the epic missions, they didn’t seem fruitful unless I found my soul mate. So I decided to take a break from my long running self-propulsion and just chill for a bit. And somewhere in that uneventful time, it happened. I managed to forget that I didn’t have my soul mate. I mean, I’d given it some thought from time to time, but I wasn’t missing him anymore because I no longer needed him. I let go of the rush, because I surrendered to the thought that either he would come or he would not. I came to love myself enough to know that either way, my life would be full of all the amazing things that came with that. I had this moment when I realized how long I had been truly happy on my own. And not the kind of happy that means I never felt like Eeyore or succumbed to road rage after some inconsiderate bastard cut me off, but the kind of happy that radiates a perma-smile from deep down in my core. It may be cliché but it’s also true: when you love yourself, it is so much easier to love everything else. Your real knight in shining armour, is that gorgeous face in the mirror.
HAPPILY EVER HAPPENING
Osho says, “You can’t try to love. It has to happen.” That’s the thing about life – no matter what you try to do or not do, it is happily ever happening. We can’t force the wind to blow, but we can enjoy the breeze when it does. It was after all my trying that I realized this: You don’t have to take yourself to far away places where the enchanting foreign sounds allow your body to move the way it has always wanted to, but never knew how. You don’t have to attend weekend-long yoga retreats where you namaste your way to serenity. You don’t have to date a ton of guys at once simply because you can. You don’t have to attend girl’s nights and drink wine and cry over how much you love each other. You don’t have to treat yourself to flowers from the farmer’s market. You don’t have to love yourself. You don’t HAVE to do any of those things…but you will.
You will do amazing, awe-inspiring things, again, and again, and again, because life doesn’t stop when things are happy it keeps going. If happy ends, it can begin again. And just when it seems like you are stuck and don’t know what to do, life will surprise you with what happily ever happens next.
DON’T JUDGE A HAPPILY BY IT’S ENDING
This is the part we forget to talk about. The part before ‘happily’ happens. Perhaps you will also have moments alone listening to Bon Iver on a cold night wishing there was a warm body next to you. But you’ll also have the freedom to leave for warmer weather on a whim during which you’ll remember how good it feels to do nothing but eat, sleep and read. Perhaps you’ll hide away on Valentine’s Day cleaning and recleaning your apartment. But then you’ll follow that up with the most fun-filled weekend of all time. Perhaps you’ll experience a really gnarly heartbreak, like the paralyzing kind. But that’s when you’ll get to fall more in love with your sweet, hilarious, amazing friends who show up on your doorstep with mimosas and make you laugh ‘til you cry. Heck, perhaps you’ll even think about giving another chance to that one ex whom you swore you’d never speak to again because you’re lonely. But you’ll talk to him one time and realize you are actually over him and so happy for the way it all worked out.
When you let go of the searching, the trying, when you stop ogling the photos of all the perfect couples on Instagram, you’re suddenly left with truth. Obstacles become opportunities. Loneliness becomes stillness. That void in your heart becomes filled with gratitude for the experience.
I’ve become convinced that the only thing better than finding your soul mate, is the moment you realize that whether you do or don’t, you’re going to be just fine through the journey.
So why is not having your soul mate (yet) a blessing? Well, that’s for you to find out during your own happily ever happening…
But I can assure you that when you know, you’ll just know.