Being in a relationship is AMAZING and PERFECT!
Of course it feels good to be in love or in a good relationship…at least it does until you and your new sweetie start arguing about your differences or the shine otherwise starts to wear off of the romance. But, yeah it feels good.
Everything about being single SUCKS!
Conversely, it TOTALLY SUCKS to be single and alone. Or at least that’s what many people tell themselves.
What is the truth about your single life?
But is it true? Maybe you tell yourself:
· I’m really lonely.
· It’s really sad or bad that I’m alone or not out with
someone I’m excited about.
· There’s something bad about being single.
· Something might be wrong with me.
· I’m not measuring up or I’m less happy than those other people who are out having cocktails at Trick Dog and watching movies at the Alamo Drafthouse Theatre.
Letting half-truths or lies become your WHOLE truth.
The problem with this is that many of those thoughts – and the painful, ugly, feelings that accompany them – are just roaming around without a security clearance. They may not actually be true or worth buying into.
Is it true that something is wrong with you? No. Bigger picture, you’ve got a lot of good in your life and there are probably some understandable or even good reasons you’re currently single.
Are people in relationships really happier?
Is it true that all those couples out there are happier than you are? Ummm….maybe, but I kinda doubt that they are actually happier…they just have different ways of being unhappy. Relationship struggles are among the biggest challenges in life and stir up lots of negative feelings and experiences.
Turns out… we don’t actually always know what we want or what makes us happy!
People also have a pretty poor track record of predicting what will make us happy. Author of Stumbling on Happiness, Dan Gilbert, has done a lot of research on this and its pretty evident that what we THINK will make us happy –usually something we don’t have in this moment—turns out usually not to make us any happier at all.
We overestimate or misinterpret how happy getting certain things will make us, like meeting someone new, falling in love and getting married, and how unhappy certain things will make us, like being single.
Getting real about and living your WHOLE truth.
So if you let those negative narratives run around in your head unchecked, breeding all kinds of crap feelings they can totally wipe you out. Noticing them, questioning them, challenging them and replacing them with a story or reality that is more appropriate, positive and true can help you shift out of that pit of s***.
Do you want to live a lie?
What’s more, if you let those stories grow like weeds in the garden of your mind, you will be way more likely to fall prey to the Confirmation Bias -- a tendency to ONLY see facts, situations and versions of reality that fit within your crap negative story about yourself.
You become “blind” to experiences, possibilities and potentials that are better than the old, sad story you’ve been buying into. There ARE better opportunities out there, new doorways full of potential, but you don’t even see them when you’re stuck in your old narrative.
So what does this mean for you in your day to day life?
So, stop telling yourself the same old painful bullscheisse story about being single:
1. Stay alert for that old, familiar, bad feeling that goes along with the story, feelings are your best cue.
2. Uncover the message the story is promoting (I’m not interesting, I’m not attractive enough, I’m not happy.)
3. Be kind to yourself. There’s a reason this story is there, even though it’s not helpful at this point.
4. Challenge, question or otherwise disempower this story with a countering reality or truth (there are people that like and love me, I have friends who are in relationships that are sometimes unhappy too, sometimes I do enjoy my singlehood and alone time.)
5. Replace that old narrative with a new one. (I like me. I have lots of good in my life. It will be nice when I meet someone, but it will also have its challenges and maybe I’ll miss some things about my single life, so I’m going to appreciate that now.)
One more quick tip!
Finally, gratitude is never a bad idea. Gratitude isn’t just airy-fairy stuff, it actually boosts the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin which naturally make your brain function better and you feel happier. Think of some things you have in your life that you do appreciate and feel good or happy about. Focus on those. Feel the good feeling that comes with gratitude for what you do have. This will put you in a better emotional space and open you to new positive experiences.
I love hearing how these strategies are helping! Feel free to leave a comment below, drop me an email, or if you want to some help getting real and finding out what will really make you happy- feel free to call me for a free 15 minute phone consultation. I am San Francisco’s resident dating therapist helping singles create the love and life that they want!