More Than a Feeling

I’m not going to lie – it’s sometimes hard living as a single woman – especially when you have to move a mountain of mulch all over your yard in two weeks (no, I did not get it all done.) And I admit there are a lot of other times it would be nice to share parts of daily life with someone (not just the heavy labor stuff).

I hear constantly that if you love yourself enough, then you don’t need anyone else. That you should be able to enjoy your own company. And for the most part, I think that is true.

But I guess I’d like to know what constitutes “enough” self-love to take away our desire for companionship, our need to be known, to have one person in the world who really gets us?

I have a single girlfriend, D, who recently broke it off with a man she had been seeing for over a year, a man who was married and had no intention of leaving his wife. Their break up lasted about a week and she went back to him declaring, “he gets me like no one else ever has before.” That’s some powerful shit!

And I get it.

Deep down, we all want to be seen,  known and validated. We want to connect on a deep level, to find the goodness in life in relationship. It’s so comforting to know someone cares when we’re sick and when we’re happy. And that’s why we keep going back even after we’ve been hurt.

At the same time, if we’ve been hurt, we’re afraid of relationship goo – the ego arguments, the needy self-image, the expectations, distrust, jealousy, anger resentment, and so on. To re-appropriate a line from Tennyson…When it’s good, it’s pretty damn good, but when it’s bad, it’s horrid.

And so then we’re thankful for being single. for not needing to compromise or grovel for approval, or pretend for someone else’s sake. We’re thankful that no one can hurt us. We’re safe…for now. Being alone allows us time to reflect, to practice self-awareness without distraction. To honor our feelings, thoughts, and emotions. To remind ourselves what matters and what’s real.

And it seems the older we get and the longer we live on our own, the harder it is to get back into the swing of dating. I’m going to be totally honest here; sometimes being single feels safer.

But do I want to feel safe, or do I want to feel loved? Duh…

I understand my friend D and why she is choosing what seems like insanity. I cringe at the words leaving my mouth, “I don’t want to be alone the rest of my life, either.”

I realize the double-edged truth in their meaning. On one hand, the words represent a declaration of the fears I face in my own company, the thoughts that cross my mind; that I’m not good enough, not lovable, of no value to anyone at all.

The proof? No one is here with me.

And on the other hand, the words possess a deeper longing to know the truth about love: That only in the eyes of another can I feel my connection to life, to the world.

Only in another’s smile can I ever really know that love does have the power to heal.

Only in a touch can I know what it means to cherish and hold sacred a life.

Only in another’s presence can I realize that gratitude is a prayer we make to honor the Divine.

Single isn’t who I am…it’s just a state I’m in for the time being, a state that won’t last forever, I’m sure. Someday I’ll leave the safety of being alone when the right person comes along and makes taking the risk seem worthwhile.




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