At risk of over-generalizing, I think that's exactly what many single women lack: PERSONAL STRENGTH. Me included, obviously. Otherwise I wouldn't be in this self-induced, self-help bubble. Lesson learned because, without personal strength, we tend to pick partners and/or relationships that painfully illustrate just how personally weak we are. And not to make excuses for us single ladies, but we are struggling against this culturally instilled preoccupation with finding "the one" without any emphasis on finding ourselves first. We live in a world where hearing the words "you complete me" is the ideal. And, yeah, that's hella romantic and all, but I just question how healthy it really is. Next time around, I wanna feel complete before getting into another relationship. Who cares that I'm already 40 years old and the playing field ain't what it used to be? The time spent "finding myself" is long overdue. And I don't mean "finding myself" in some esoteric, tree-hugging sense; but rather loving myself and feeling grounded in who I am, while still being amenable to change and growth. But, without being so malleable that falling in love makes me compromise who I am. That's an incredibly hard balance to achieve! But now that I'm older and my hindsight's a little clearer, I've realized how easy it is to mistake success and confidence for being truly grounded. I mean, who am I without the external validation that comes from a great career, financial stability and/or a love relationship? Because life experience has definitely taught me that being grounded is more about being rooted in your purpose, passions, goals, core beliefs and values. It's the very essence of who we are. This is where the real life-work is; carefully and consciously constructing who we are and building an intimate relationship with ourselves. It's admittedly way easier and way more fun to preoccupy ourselves with the finishing touches of our exterior; making sure we're well-manicured and with plenty of curb appeal. But, far too often, our interiors are left crumbling from neglect. Then, in our misguided attempt at finding "completion" via love, either the relationship collapses or we collapse behind the white picket fence. And when that happens, it's so easy to blame the EX -- the big, bad wolf that huffed and puffed and blew the house down! Who wants to dwell on the fact that, in our haste for love, we built our "house" of straw? Go figure!
So, with all this newfound clarity emerging, this was my opportunity to dig deep into my gut and figure out what I wanted and needed in life to feel genuinely happy, successful and abundant. This was my opportunity to test my boldness and create the life I dreamed of. Like Oprah, I wanted to "live my best life ever". Why compromise? Why settle for less? I mean, who's to say I can't have exactly what I want out of life? But I had to imagine it first and start laying some bricks.
This felt like an ominous undertaking to create a new blueprint for my life. I was now faced with the monumental question of, "Who am I without my EX?". And more importantly, "Who am I?". At this point, it had been about a decade since I was last single and I was accustomed to my daily existence and grand life plan revolving around WE. To think only about "ME" felt gluttonously selfish. And then I realized that this could be another one of those profoundly liberating life experiences like, back in 1993, when I finally broke free from the constraints of religion. I could either shudder in the power and freedom of self-discovery, choice and opportunity or seize it and find stability in my personal strength. I could live capriciously; guided by my natural impulses toward instant gratification or find consistency in my character and attract similarly grounded people. In fact, I realized that the entire design of my life, along with the people and relationships I attract into it, is completely under my control.
Where I was at that point in my life had everything to do with choices I had made based on who I thought I was, how I felt about myself, and what I thought I wanted and needed to be happy. All of this didn't just happen to me. Divorce didn't just happen to me. I was part of the building process and the huffing and puffing that blew the house down.