The One Thing I Hated in Life is the Only Thing That Could Bring Me Happiness
By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.
In Part 1, we looked at how singleness was the only way I could have what I truly craved: a sense of wholeness and completion.
In his book, The Obstacle is the Way, Ryan Holiday uses the Roman philosophy of stoicism to teach the idea that the problem is actually the solution. In Meditations, Marcus Aurelius (a noted stoic) writes, “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
Let’s say you’re unemployed and can’t find a job. Your lack of income forces you to get creative, so you bake some of your grandmother’s chocolate cupcakes and sell them for $1 each. The cupcakes are such a hit, you take the money and buy more ingredients for more cupcakes. The more you sell, the more the word spreads about your amazing cupcakes. Before long, you have enough business to open up your own bakery, hire a staff, and employ not only yourself, but many others.
The obstacle of “no job” became a job that nobody can fire you from because you own the business!
Using the stoic approach, my singleness wasn’t an undesirable condition I needed to escape, it was the ONLY WAY for me to become what I wanted: a whole and complete person. A woman of character that is truly happy with a happiness that won’t be taken away if I got divorced or was widowed.
In my video introductions, I say singleness was always a source of sadness for me because part of my definition of a fulfilled life includes being a wife and a mother. In other words, the only way I could feel truly whole and complete was if I was functioning in those roles.
But not having a husband and children has forced me to create a life and an inner character that has taught me how to be whole and complete inside of myself. This is true peace - it cannot be shaken by a husband who leaves or children who move away.
I got to a point in my singleness where I just wanted to be happy. Even if I remained single, I just wanted to be happy and be able to enjoy my life. Honestly, I could not imagine being able to enjoy a life alone. I really couldn’t.
But NOT getting what I wanted forced me to figure out how to be happy with a happiness that doesn’t depend on getting a man. You know, men can tell when you’re latching on to them for dear emotional life. They may not be able to put it into words, but they can feel the pressure. And it is UNattractive - meaning, it will repel them. You will seem needy and insecure, and those are two characteristics most high-value men deem undesirable in a mate.
Being single has created a sense of confidence and self-reliance that I never could have learned in a relationship. And, because it’s a confidence and self-reliance based solely on ME, it won’t crumble if my heart gets broken or my feelings get hurt.
So, how did I start creating a life I could enjoy? First, I made a list of all of the things that make me happy. My list included, writing, speaking, creating, helping others, being organized, learning new things, developing my yoga and meditation practices. NOTHING on my list required anyone else!
Second, I started asking myself what would make me happy. In the beginning, my answer was frequently, “A husband.” But, I don’t have one of those. So, given the fact that I don’t have a husband, what will make me happy today?
Third, I stopped seeing singleness as a horrible place of “stuckness,” and started seeing it as a classroom where I was becoming the woman I truly wanted to be. A woman of character. A high-value woman who knows her own worth and has confidence. A woman who is secure and isn’t intimidated by life, by other people, or by her cellulite. A woman who isn’t afraid and who doesn’t tolerate disrespect. A woman who expects the best from herself, from others, and from the Universe.
If all of that had come from getting married, what would happen to me if my husband died or left or cheated on me? It would have come crashing down like a flimsy house of cards.
Instead, I have a real, lasting confidence that can never be taken away because I learned it in my singleness. It’s not based on a promise, a ring, or a piece of paper.
I do hope my Mr. Right comes along. I’d still love to be part of a family. In the meantime, I’m truly enjoying my One-Derful Life.
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