Being Single is not that Bad


Being Single is not that Bad

There are many things to love and enjoy about being single. Being single is not a bad thing. However, as with anything, being single is not always fun or easy.

There are cultural and societal pressures/judgments/beliefs associated with being single that often weigh heavily on single people. In our culture there is a very real pressure, whether spoken or not, to be married; an expectation that at a certain point in life, people should want to be married. However, it is not always the external pressure or presumptions that are the hardest for single people to bear or the most dangerous. Often, the toughest challenges and most significant pressures of being single come from within.

Many of us internalize the external pressures and expectations around us — we adopt or over-identify with the issues of other people and society. We aim to please or meet the expectations of others rather than focus on our own expectations and desires. If enough people ask, “What is wrong with you?” because you aren’t married, eventually, some folks will internally conclude that something is wrong with them because they are not married. Who knows how many family, religious or geographical cultural beliefs are tattooed on our lives to our own detriment.

One of the dangers of internalizing the beliefs and pressures of others is when those feelings start to drive life decisions. I think this happens most often when the internalized pressure to marry mixes with the occasional loneliness and/or fear that comes along with being single.

Believe it or not, your single years will be some of the most beautiful and wonderful times of your life! Being single is an important part of the journey of life, and an especially important part of the journey toward marriage.

Are You Aware of the Happiness Secret? (Part 1)

secretofhappiness2A joyful heart is good medicine; but a broken spirit dries the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

Did you know that being happy has amazing health benefits? Research has shown that people who are truly happy have reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and susceptibility to illnesses. Also, happy people’s recovery time is quicker from illness and surgery. With these awesome benefits, why would anyone NOT be happy?

If you are struggling to find happiness in your life, what will it take to make you happy? Maybe a successful career… becoming a millionaire… a great marriage? Whatever you choose, there will always be someone who has exactly what you want and YET is unhappy. For example: Howard Hughes had money, power, fame and romance — yet, he was miserable. How is that possible? Let’s take a look at what keeps us from being truly happy.

In Steven K. Scott’s book, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth, and Happiness, he lists five major barriers that prevent most people from achieving complete happiness.

Looking for happiness in the wrong places.  Are you seeking happiness via materialistic possessions? If something lacks eternal purpose or value, it lacks in providing you true happiness. Materialistic possessions quickly lose their appeal and unfortunately, our temporary happiness subsides. Discover your happiness within!

A lack of gratefulness.  There are more reasons to be grateful than ungrateful! Our eyes and ears should be appreciated as the incredible gifts that they are (Proverbs 20:12). No matter how advanced our technology becomes, nothing [no thing] can replace our amazing body parts: sight, sound, touch, and smell. You, as an individual, are unique!

It is impossible to be grateful and unhappy at the same time. Seriously think about that statement… At any moment that you are unhappy, you have chosen to focus on other things besides your given gifts. Redirect your focus and energy by creating a list of all the things you are grateful for. Creating a grateful list can and will boost your spirits.

Envy.  The grass is NOT always greener on the other side. It is impossible to be envious and happy at the same time… envy distracts you from what you currently have and focuses your attention on what you do not have. Misery and depression reign supreme when you are envious. All of us have the seed of envy set in our heart and mind, but there are ways to combat it!

As Martin Luther once said, “You can’t stop a bird from landing on your head, but you can stop him from building a nest on it.” When envious thoughts enter our heart, prevent them from growing by being grateful. Gratefulness (to be full of gratitude) fills our heart and pushes out envy.

A sense of entitlement.  Do view life as unfair or unjust? Believing you deserve a raise at work or a better spouse, displays a sense of entitlement. As long as our heart is focused upon what we do not have and on what we think we’re entitled to, we will not be happy. Focus on what you are grateful for in the present moment.. don’t ask for any more or less. The time will soon come when you shall receive what you have rightfully earned.

Foolishness.  He that trusts in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26). When we are unable to look outside ourselves, we block ourselves from achieving happiness. When someone makes his or her decisions based on impulsive feelings, rather than thinking things through, they can fall short of being truly happy. Our feelings are like a roller coaster – sad one moment, happy the next, angry five minutes later, to nervous an hour from now. Seek guidance before being hasty with decisions and you may find the end result leads to an abundance of happiness.

What are your thoughts about these barriers towards gaining happiness? What are you grateful for today? Stay tuned next week for Part 2 on overcoming the barriers to personal happiness!

Loving Yourself on Valentine’s Day!!!

                                     

I have a couple of girlfriends, one who has never been married and another who is recently divorced.  A few weeks ago we were talking about the commercialized day of love, Valentine’s Day.  Naturally, they were not excited about the upcoming holiday. They shared many complaints as to how Valentine’s Day makes single individuals feel even more isolated, excluded so to speak. “Who wants to go out and eat alone on Valentine’s Day so everyone can stare and label you a loser” one said.  Another said “ I may send flowers to myself so everyone at the office isn’t staring at me, as the loser no one sent flowers to.“ As we set eating dinner, I began to feel a bit guilty because although my husband and I may or may not chose to do anything as a couple on Valentine’s Day;  (it’s our daughter’s birthday)we as a couple have the option, if we so desire. Once I got home, I talked to my husband about our dinner talk and as we talked, I began to wonder how I would feel if I were in their shoes. How many individuals feel sad or isolated due to the holiday. I started reading articles about being single on Valentine’s Day and I came across an article in the Huffington Post written by Mary Pritchard:

Make Valentine’s Day Self-Love and Appreciation Day
For the first time in 21 years, I will be spending this Valentine’s Day alone. Although my ex-husband and I rarely made a big deal out of this “Hallmark holiday,” I find myself getting resentful at the hearts and flowers filling the aisles of my local grocery store. It’s as if Hallmark is trying to stick it to me and remind me that I’m single on this couple-centric holiday.Fortunately, I have a plan. My theme for the year is Love — self-love to be exact. So I will spend my week touting the virtues of taking care of you and treating yourself with love, honor, and respect to anyone who will listen — single or coupled. You see, I’ve come to realize over the past six months that Love is our God(dess)-given right. We are born in a state of Love and we will leave in a state of Love. What happens in between is entirely up to us. But know this: You cannot truly love another or receive love from another if you don’t love yourself. It took me 40 years to realize the powerfulness of that truth. I had become so accustomed to shutting my heart down for fear of getting hurt that I had walled myself off from truly loving — myself or anyone else — or receiving love. As a result, I was achingly lonely in the midst of my family and friends. But it was my own fault. I made the decision long ago that love hurts. Thus, to avoid pain, you should avoid love. But that is no way to live your life — much less grow your relationships with family and friends.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson once wrote:
I hold it true, whate’er befall; I feel most;’Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.

Yes, but, I also think it is better to have learn you.

Does that mean you’ll never again experience the sorrow of a lost love? No, but at least when you “lose” the love of someone else, you’ll always have yourself to count on. You to cherish, love, and take care of — however you see fit.

I challenge you to do this: Spend some time each day taking care of you, showing yourself love and appreciation for all you do. That is, do something that makes your soul sing — something just for you. Don’t take the kids with you. Don’t invite your significant other. This is YOU time. If that seems daunting, start with 5 minutes a day. Then 10, then 20, then 30. You get the idea.

If you have no idea where to start or how to take care of yourself, ask your inner wisdom. Start with one (or all) of these prompts:

1) What am I grateful for today?
2) What do I need to do for me today?
3) How can I show myself love today?
4) What do I look forward to today? What can I do that will make me happy?

Then listen in and see what your inner wisdom wants to share with you. Then go do it. Right now. Because we both know that if you put it off it will never happen…

So what am I doing for myself this Valentine’s Day? While most of my single friends will be wearing black in protest, I’ll be decked out in red. Because I am celebrating me. Appreciating me. And I’ll be doing whatever my inner wisdom tells me it needs that day to show myself Love.

Happy Self-Love and Appreciation Day!

I think this is an awesome way to express love for yourself not just on Valentine’s day but throughout the year. I say find something you enjoy doing ( like a spa day) and do it for yourself, you are more than worth it!!!

When Was The Last Time???

FFC image for When Was the Last Time    

     It is all sugar with spice and honey you are so nice in the beginning of most relationships.    How long do the “sweet nothings” last?  For a majority of marriages it does not last long.  It seems that we put our all into the relationship when it first begins.  Some would even go as far as sailing the seven seas to capture the heart of their significant other. Then after a while things seem to go cold. Where is the fire?  What happened to the roses, the feet rubs, the hot oil massages, the spontaneous dinner dates, the midday messages, etc.? What happened to the thrill?  When was the last time he looked into your eyes and told you how beautiful you are and how much you really mean to him?  When was the last time that she fell into your arms and told you how secure and protected she feels when she is in your arms?  When was the last time? 

     It is too often that we forget about the things that made us fall for one another.  It was those things that sparked a fire in our hearts and even influenced some of us to enter into marriage.  Take a moment to evaluate you marriage. Of course you are probably not going to do all those things that you use to do to keep the fire going.  However, just take a moment to see what you can do to reignite the fire in your marriage.  Start during this season and make a decision to bring back the thrill.  It is never too late until it is too late! Go ahead, make the first move. This is not just a relationship. This is your marriage!

It’s the Simple Things

It's the Simple Things

This week is Valentine’s week and most couples; married not spend a lot of money on materialistic items that eventually will fade away. Valentine’s Day is so-called the most romantic day of the year…or is it? Mention Valentine’s Day and visions of hearts, flowers, candy, fancy dinners, and dancing are sure to follow. It is also known for a holiday for lovers, a time to express to that special someone how much they mean to you and, generally, your overall commitment to them. Valentine’s Day should not be about materialistic things or making sure she/he has the best money can buy, it should be all about the person you love, you are married to and/or the person you are in a relationship with. I personally do not think it takes a lot of money to have a perfect Valentines week or day. For me it is all about creativity, it is the thought that counts. Little things left out for me or even done would brighten my day and put a huge smile on my face. A quite relaxing dinner in front of the fireplace would be nice (something you usually would not eat). The most important gift that you can give to this Valentine’s is your time. All of the other craziness needs to be set aside; this is a day for celebrating the love that you have for your partner. Taking the time out of your day to give yourself is more important than any of the other thing(s) that may be going on.

 

Some meaningful things you can do on Valentine’s Day:

 

1. Write a love letter – Make sure he/she knows just how much you love them and why you are attracted to them. Also include what you admire about them, and how glad you are that he or she is a part of your life. Writing a letter is a time-consuming process, but it speaks to the heart of the person you are writing to, and it carries its own rewards.

 

2. Turn off the television, spend time talking with each other.

 

3. Hold hands.

 

4. Turn off your cell phone.

 

5. Dance with one another.

 

6. Play some soft music.

 

7. Do an activity you both enjoy.

 

Most of all spend quality time with the person(s) you love, make sure they are aware you love them more than anything, and do not let Valentine’s Day be the only day you show this kind of love.

 

The Obama Marriage: Tips from the First Couple

President & First Lady Obama

President & First Lady Obama

While tabloids spew rumors of a marriage on the rocks, extra marital affairs, and divorce; Barack and Michelle Obama appear to continue to maintain a strong marriage.  Marriage is hard; I could not imagine the added pressure of living your life under the scrutiny of an entire nation.  Over the years I have watched the Obamas and I have often felt inspired by the loving relationship they seem to share.  Here are a few marriage tips I have learned by watching the first couple.

Healthy Couples are Friends. According to Michelle Obama, “Our relationship was first a friendship. It took off from there.” A marriage cannot be built on feelings of attraction and butterflies in the stomach. It is important for husbands and wives to have a strong friendship which includes enjoying each others time and conversation.

Continue to Date .  While the President and First Lady are busy running the nation, they still manage to find time for date nights.  Some cynics may argue that this is for the sake of the camera but their body language and chemistry together seems to indicate something different.  If they can find time for a date, most definitely the rest of us can.  They go out for dinner, dancing etc…; they make it a point to have fun down times together.  Date nights really can help couples reconnect and keep the romance alive.

Enjoy each other's company

Enjoy each other’s company

Stay connected through communication. Michelle has stated that despite being apart, often for extended periods, she and President Obama talk every morning and night.  Effective communication helps to build intimacy in a relationship.  Sometimes spouses are tired from a long day of work or being with the children but this is no excuse.  Make an effort to talk about more than the mundane details of your day, discuss your feelings, hopes, and dreams with one another.

I know that none of these tips are secrets; you’ve probably heard them before.  The thing is they work if you do them and do them consistently.  I think the Obamas are proof that a relationship can withstand just about anything if nurtured the right way.

Source: Sheri & Bob Stritof. “Quotes about the Marriage of Michelle and Barack Obama.” About.com