And now back to our scheduled programming...☺︎
50 and Single
Getting back to our topic at hand over the past couple of months...In most Asian countries where I've been, one of the first questions asked by locals, particularly of women, is "are you married?" If your answer is no and you are over 30 years old, it is usually met with disbelief, confusion and suspicion. After 7 years I learned to now just say "yes, I'm married" and, depending on how much storytelling I want to get into and how long I'll be in contact with the person, I'll possibly make up an entire family. It makes for an entertaining taxi ride!
But for many, no matter where you are from, being single is a source of embarrassment, heartbreak and loneliness. Social conditioning, cultural pressure and family expectation weighs heavily, along with personal needs and desires. So how to deal with all of this and actually be content in your life?
For me, my strong desire to be in a relationship dropped away once I was past child-bearing age. When I sat with why being in relationship was a priority to me at that point, I found that it actually wasn't any longer. Let me be clear - I don't have anything against being in relationship and I'm not adverse to being in one myself - but my priorities changed, and this fell much farther down the list for me. I've never been one to worry too much about what other people have to say about how I live my life. My family has never put huge amounts of pressure on me to get married knowing that I will do what I need to do for myself. My history has shown that I can take care of myself and when asked about being lonely I am able to speak from a place of confidence and contentment. How am I able to do so, since I, too, grew up in a society where being in relationship is just the "natural" way of being?
I rest in a state of joyful acceptance. It's been a long road of self-love, self-compassion, self-understanding. There were times where I lied to myself and told others I was "fine" with being alone, but inside I was sad and angry. When I was able to go deeply into those feelings, I realized that what I was missing was a not a connection others, I had that, but a connection to Myself - a sense of vibrancy, gratitude and joyfulness - traits that I know are in my core being. Once I focused on re-cultivating these core qualities within, my priority of finding a relationship was no longer at the top of my list. Beyond self-inquiry, I came to this due to my personal daily practice that incorporates movement, breathwork and meditation. This practice affects the nervous system, which in turn regulates our emotional realm and hormonal balance. If you'd like to see the practice I do you can view it here on youtube. (I can send it in written form as well if you are interested, just message me. )
What is it that we look for in a relationship? There are a few topical reasons: companionship, sex, children, etc. On a deeper level I believe we look for reflection, to be seen, to have perceived worthiness for our existence. To have emotional connection...I must be worthy of existence because this person is reacting to me, because being in this relationship I am needed and wanted by others, because I have emotions, and this reminds me that I exist and am worthy enough to take up space in the world. Much of this is unconscious and you have to drop below the ego to find it. I'm not labeling any of this as being "wrong"...relationships can inspire tremendous personal growth. It's the biggest mirror for seeing who you really are in many different situations. Yet, when we do the deep work of unpacking our core sense of unworthiness, we can find contentment with or without outside resources...this is real freedom.
Do you believe you are worthy enough to exist in this life, to take up space at the table, to have an opinion, whether you are in a relationship or not? What is it that relationship provides you at your deepest core? Really sit with these questions. I'm not asking you if you need vs want to be in a relationship...that's a common "go to" - "I don't need to be in a relationship but I want to be." Yes, that can be true- you may say you like yourself, you're financially independent, etc. But can you sit with my questions a little longer? Perhaps you may realize that you, too, at your core, are looking for reflection of yourself, a worthy reason for your existence. If you do find this to be true, then I encourage you to explore other ways in which you can achieve this.
Our emotions and our physical body are so entwined. We have mental emotions which trigger physical/biological reactions, which then produce chemicals that enhance those emotions. So what if you were able to go directly to the chemical process and cause the body to create the desired hormones that the mental states of joy, vibrancy, peaceful would then follow? What if you could feel all of this towards everything and everyone in your life, rather than just when you were with one certain person or in one certain situation? It is possible. Working with your breath, with your nutrition, with your physical body as a whole will help you achieve this. Imagine feeling content without any stories attached to it...as to whether that person is going to leave or that situation is going to end. It's not about feeling apathetic. It's about having a foundation of contentment that you then build on with emotions towards other specific people and things...and then if that situation ends (which always will as that's how life works...nothing is permanent) you may feel some sadness or disappointment, but it doesn't knock you out completely or permanently because you have a foundation to fall back on.
This doesn't discount being in relationship at some point if you'd like, but for this day if you aren't in one, there are other ways in which you can connect to feelings of goodness...if that's what your truly want (which is a whole other discussion!) Are you content within yourself, as you are right now? If not, this would be a good place to prioritize your focus. And remember, no beating up on yourself...for anything. Acceptance, compassion, focus.
We'll move on to other topics next month:)