I’ve asked myself this several times. I’ll meet someone, get my hopes up and nothing happens. Sometimes, I get a red flag and decide to move on. Other times, the guy I like will stop contacting me. So, here I am still single, but that does that mean I am without love?
Over time, I have met several types of girls. I’ve met the girl who is just “waiting” for the “right one” to come along. I have been that girl too. We tend to fantasize in our mind how “perfect” it will be when we meet “the one”. I have also met the girl who settled. Neither one seems to be very happy though. Why? What is missing?
First of all, I think expectation has a huge role in our unhappiness. We expect him to look like Channing Tatum and act like Ryan Gosling in Nicolas Sparks’ The Notebook. But in reality, men are not women. Most men like men things: sports, making money, fishing, action movies, and spending time in their man cave. Not necessarily candle lit dinners with Frank Sinatra playing in the background, although some do (but it’s rare). Most men don’t like talking and chatting for hours. The simpler the better. Us women have a tendency to have a backstory to our backstory which is a backstory to our actual story. We are different.
Secondly, we need to ditch the lie that says, “we can only feel loved when we have a significant other”. I have been incredibly blessed with an amazing family and amazing friends who have become like family, as well as awesome co-workers. I know I am loved, but sometimes I get stuck with what we think “love is” or what “love should be”. We can experience love and receive love without a significant other.
For me, the past two years have been extremely challenging, but I have felt more love than before. I fled the state I called “home” to get away from an abusive relationship. That meant saying goodbye to a job I loved, an apartment and lots of great friends. A year after that, I lost my Father in a car accident. And most recently, I lost the job I had due to the business closing.
I have learned that the more challenging life is, the more I can learn compassion. After experiencing so much loss, I have a greater appreciation for what others have been through or are going through. The more loss I experience the more I am learning how to love others and receive love from others.
The week I was packing my things to get away from my abuser, I had a sweet friend pay my portion of the rent. I did not tell her why I was leaving. I was scared to tell anyone (especially her) because I didn’t know if she would believe me. This friend knew the one who had hurt me and could have been upset about my silence, but she did the opposite and helped me. During that same week, I also had someone tell me they’d cover my portion of the rent as long as I needed them to. I had another friend give me $100 for gas. They were a struggling family, so that $100 was a sacrifice for them. Lastly, I had two other friends who gave me a substantial amount of money so I could take time off and see a counselor. These friends have taught me how to love better. If that is not enough, the week my Father was in SICU fighting for his life, I had two friends who rallied some of my other friends together. They sent me two cards completely filled with thoughts, prayers and kind words for me and my family. Inside that card was a $500 gift card that they all pitched in for. If that is not sacrificial love and abundant kindness I don’t know what is.
Everyone is in need of love. My grandpa once said, “Love is not only a feeling but also a warmful act.” Sometimes our feeling betrays us. But if we choose to love the ones we have around us and expect nothing in return, it will slowly change how we feel. It’s just like that saying, “It is better to give than to receive”. The same is true for love. A lot of the time we are sitting around waiting and wanting someone to love us, but what if we decided to love others around us how we wanted to be loved.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who said, “I wish I was appreciated more.” She could have camped on that and felt sorry for herself. Instead, that week, she decided to tell her closest friends that she appreciated them. And in return, each friend reciprocated her appreciation of them.
So, instead of asking if love will come to you, how about asking: will I be love? will I be (a representation) of love to my family? will I be a (representation) of love to my co-workers? will I be (a representation) of love to my neighbors, friends, and my community?
Love comes in many forms, be creative. Love might look like a cup of coffee for your tired co-worker. It may look like an old-fashioned handwritten note to your friend encouraging her to keep pressing on. It may be an act of selflessness to your family. Maybe spending time listening to someone hurting in your community. I try to remind myself that no matter where I am there is always someone who is doing better and always someone who is doing worse. This helps me keep perspective. It helps me to help those who are worse off and strive to be more like the one who’s doing better.
Life is short, and we only have one life to live, we might as well spend it loving others well. Sure, we will get hurt sometimes. In the case of my abuser, I gave all that I had and was left beaten and scarred. But, remember, having a broken and scarred heart is not the worst thing that could happen, being bitter and callous is.
Most of the time, those who are hurting the most will hurt others. Those who love the most have learned what love means. Love is not selfish it is selfless. Don’t sit about expecting, spend the time to connect with others. Life is hard and we need each other. And, the best way to learn how to be in a healthy relationship with a significant other is by learning how to love those around you now.
Choosing to be selfless and loving others expands your heart. Since I am single, and I never know what to do for my birthday, I decided to pick a cause to be a part of. Last year, I was a part of an “anti-sex trafficking walk” with an organization called A21. This year, I will be volunteering to do relief work for those who have been impacted by hurricane Irma and possibly those impacted by hurricane Maria.
So instead of pining away waiting, or settling and not being very happy, how about we choose today to change our perspective. Loving someone around you will make it hard to feel sorry for yourself. Being grateful that you have more than someone else might help open your eyes to how much more we can be grateful for.
As I said before, life is short. Although I miss him dearly, I had peace when my Father passed away because I told him the week before the accident that I was proud of him. I loved him the best I knew how when he was here, and I know he knew that. I also know he loved me. So, today, do not waste any more time. Choose to be the love you want to see.
So, to summarize I’d like to leave you with 10 tips on to love:
1) Leave your expectation low and keep your giving high
2) Keep perspective: Strive to help the person worse off than you and strive to be more like the one who’s better off than you.
3) When you’re feeling down, text someone else to ask how they’re doing
4) When you’re feeling lonely, write a handwritten note to someone who’s been a good friend.
5) Do something this year to help others around the time of your birthday- it may end up being the best birthday you’ve ever had, and you never know who you might meet.
6) Be grateful for the people currently in your life instead of the ones who aren’t.
7) Don’t expect anything and spend time to connect. Be there. Show up.
8) Life is hard, choose to invest in friendships that will help ease your load and will help ease their load.
9) Always be kind, the world is full of too much hate as it is.
10) Life is short, tell those around you how much they mean to you. Don’t let things be unsaid.