Secrets to Being Single and Happy
9/10/2013 11:40:00 AM
Between biological clocks ticking and competition from younger chicks, there are some women I know who are tripping off being single. Never mind them enjoying the season they’re in at this time. A couple in particular – no I can’t say who LOL – live from what I see exciting lives. Well educated, great careers, freedom to travel, ability to enjoy the fruit of their labor, wonderful friendships – all these amazing things they can enjoy but don’t. Why? They are desperately seeking Mr. Right.
With dating shows like The Bachelor and reality TV relationships, you would think singles - particularly women- are all miserable. But that’s not so. Despite a few single homies, one of my best friends who is open to a loving relationship lives her life like its golden! (Cueing Jill Scott in my mind.) She has fun trips, memorable experiences through community service, loves her work in kids ministry, relaxes in her home which is set up like a spa getaway, has shopping excursions as a single fashionista….and the list goes on.
Finding a life partner is too important to settle. When you’re desperate that can be the worse time to choose a mate. If you are so hungry for something, you may settle for anything. So if you’re single, learn the secrets to being happy in singledom. But what is the key to being happy and unattached?
Harvard PhD Bella DePaulo drops dime on what she has found to be the keys to being happy and single. She has studied singles for over a decade and concludes the happiest and most fulfilled singles have a strong sense of self. Despite media mayhem over multimillion dollar weddings and the like, they are secure enough to know that they can live meaningful and rewarding single lives if they choose to do so. True they may be open to finding a partner- just not actively or desperately looking.
In her piece “The 7 Secrets of Blissfully Single People” from Your Tango, she reveals the keys to happiness and the single life:
1. They observe themselves. That's an important step toward knowing yourself. Take, for example, the issue of "finding someone." Do you tell yourself and others that you are interested in finding The One — yet, somehow, take specific steps to do so seems to rank somewhere below cleaning out your sock drawer and deleting old emails? Maybe you just think you should "find someone" because our culture is teeming with such messages, but it's not really what you want to do. Maybe not now. Maybe not ever. Know yourself. Then honor your sense of what kind of life is the best life for you.
2. They decide for themselves who counts as special. Maybe they have one special person in their life, but that person is a close friend or a sibling and not a romantic partner. Or maybe they have a whole convoy of important people in their lives, including friends and relatives, mentors and neighbors.
3. They recognize that not everyone wants to be with another person all the time, no matter how special that person may be.
4. They know that all of us want to spend some time alone and some time with other people, and that the preferred mix of solitude and sociability is different for different people. If they crave plenty of time alone, they give themselves the gift of solitude. If they like lots of time with other people, they create a life filled with togetherness.
4. They know whether they like being self-sufficient. And if they do, they go ahead and deal with things and make decisions, mostly on their own. A study of more than 100 Americans who were over 40 and had been single all their lives found that self-sufficiency was linked to their well-being. The more self-sufficient they were, the less likely they were to experience negative feelings. For married people, it was the opposite: The more they liked dealing with things on their own, the more likely they were to experience negative feelings. Self-sufficiency does not necessarily imply a lack of interest in different perspectives or opinions. Instead, I think it means that after considering whatever input you find valuable, you ultimately make the decision that feels right to you.
5. They realize that some people are single at heart. People who are single at heart live their best lives, their most meaningful lives, and their most authentic lives as single people.
6. Single people who do want to marry are wise about what marriage really means. They do not expect marrying to transform them into something they are not. Studies that have followed the same people over many years of their lives, as they stay single or get married, have produced some remarkable, myth-busting results. For example, 18 long-term studies have shown that getting married does not make people lastingly happier or more satisfied with their lives than they were before. Sometimes there is a honeymoon effect — when you first get married, you feel better about your life than you did before. But that feeling dissipates, and eventually, people feel about the same as they did when they were single. A study of American marriages found that people who had been married more than three years were not any happier, they were not any less depressed, they were not healthier, and they had no higher self-esteem than when they were single.
7. They know what the purveyors of conventional wisdom do not – for many people, single life gets even better with age. By studying the stereotypes of single people, my colleagues and I learned that most of society tends to think that single people are not very happy, and as they get older, they become even more miserable. In fact, though, many single people become more secure about their lives over time, and they are less buffeted about by the opinions of other people. They may not even think all that much about being single; they are too busy living their lives.
So live your life to the fullest regardless of your relationship status. For every person who wants to be married, there is someone who wants out of a marriage that isn’t working out. Taking the time to smell the roses now can allow you to enjoy your life and appreciate this season of singleness. Build strong friendships, travel, get into civic or community engagement. When you use your time wisely, your life can be so full you won’t feel like anything is missing. And often, things happen when you least expect. Who’s to say Mr. or Mrs. Right won’t be at the next networking event? Maybe you’ll meet them at your child’s school. You could be at the grocery store even! Don’t waste your single years seeking love; seek living a fulfilling life. When you do, love will find you ….when it’s meant to be.