Friday, February 5, 2010

It's Time for Some Self-Reflection: Stop Talking About Being Single, No One Cares!

I cannot count the number of times I see a headline or a magazine cover talking about finding a man by using just 10 simple steps to basically trick someone into liking you.

A few months back, I did a post about a new book coming out titled, Bitch is the New Black, and I said then that I was really turned off by the title of the book and the interview with the author in the Washington Post, titled Successful, Black, and Lonely.

The book's author, Helena Andrews has penned a few recent articles for The Root about being single, called "Single-Minded" and although I was hesitant at first to present counterarguments, I could no longer resist.

First a couple of premises:

1) You can be in a committed relationship or even be married and STILL be lonely.

2) For many people being in a bad relationship is far worse than being single (I personally can attest to that) and I think people need to remember just because you have a ring doesn't mean life gets any easier.

I intend on following up this post with others but here are a few things I wanted to get off my chest right away.

Part 1: Stop talking about being single! No one cares!

Women need to stop talking, writing, blogging, youtubing, about needing to find of man. No one cares! More importantly, if that concern is at the top your list of priorities, to the point where you need to talk about it often, your list of priorities is all messed up. A very wise girlfriend once gave me this advice in my early 20s and it stuck: A relationship cannot define who you are. It cannot make you feel complete. A man cannot be the reason you are happy. A relationship is there to enhance what you already have going on. Therefore, if you are already happy with yourself and content, a relationship can only add to that. Without the relationship you just go back to being your happy and secure self. Get it?

Part 2: Self-evaluation is key.

This is the most important part. Barnes and Noble is filled of books that say just this but it's worth repeating. None of this is new information. You need to get to know yourself. Like really know yourself. Your likes and dislikes. Your values and your goals. These are all important steps in getting to true happiness because if you don't first figure out what makes you happy, how are you supposed to know how to get them from someone else? I'm definitely not an expert or a therapist and I do not have novel ideas, I just find that personally, journal writing or even just finding that one friend who you can bounce things your thoughts off of because while this is self-evaluation, you might want to make sure your thoughts aren't insane, and you wind up walking around with an internal monologue like Dexter...but I digress.

I think that being single is the best time to do this. For me, after 2 long term relationships in a row that tore me all the way down, I needed to get to know me and put myself back together piece by piece. This was such a valuable time for me. For a few years straight, I never turned down an invitation to anything. I just wanted to put myself into as many diverse social settings as possible. Being single allows you to do that. It also allows you to be open because you are just doing things for yourself. No one is going to want to be around you if you aren't interesting. In some ways, being in a relationship all the time is stifling.

Part 3: Your closet should not be on your list of "achievements."  See clip below so you understand what I am talking about.

I have a lot of male friends and every single one of them has said told me essentially the same exact thing. A man will like you because of your personality. Just because you are wearing Jimmy Choo's doesn't make you great. If your personality sucks, you are a woman that sucks in some nice overpriced shoes. So no I do not agree with the part of the interview above listing a graduate degree and a closet as things which a woman should be proud of. If you find that your closet or your car are on your list of things that make your great, or even on your list of qualities you want in a potential mate, I would encourage you to tear up both lists. Lists are for To Do items and grocery shopping, not for evalutating people.

I'm sure there is much more I could add and I look forward to doing it very soon.

I would love to hear your thoughts!
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