myth 3 - loved ones

Myth #3: Finding my soul mate will make me happy

From young, we have been planted with the seeds of romance that we will only be complete if we find our other halves. It doesn’t help that we are constantly fed with direct and subliminal messages through songs, advertisements, movies, books and a whole range of media which strongly suggests that finding your soul mate is the best thing that could ever happen to you.

Let’s take a look at Lisa who is young and single. She always envies those who are in relationships. It didn’t matter if she was viewing the most gorgeous scenery before her, she would quite likely say, “This would be so much better if only I had someone to share this with.” Her single friends would gather over tubs of extra chocolatey, gooey ice-cream and lament on their lack of suitors. The conversations would usually revolve around when they would meet their soul mates, how they would meet them and how happy they would be. It seemed as if this “soul mate” was an acquisition and something they needed to hold on to for them to experience eternal bliss.

Every waking hour was pre-occupied with meeting “the one”. Life seems sweeter, colours appear brighter, even bland food will taste better and one could view life with rose-tinted lenses with their soul mate.

Firstly, let’s ask ourselves a question. Why do we want to be with someone? Do we want to be with someone so that we can share our daily rants with? To start a family? There is a whole plethora of reasons that we can give on why we want to be someone. But the bottom line is, it is because we want to be happy. We assume that being with someone is a must for our happiness.

As a result, we place a lot of expectations on another person to fill this gaping hole that we have in us. The problems start when the other person does not live up to our expectations. We cling to a belief that we are not whole until we are with another person.

We start to go out with people whom we know are not right for us, in the hopes that it will quench our desire to be with someone. We start to settle for less. We settle for someone we do not truly love. We settle because our best friend is married and we do not want to feel left out. We fear we will lose out and not find another person to love us.

Unfortunately in the long-term, by settling for someone who is not right will lead to eventual heartbreak because of incompatibility issues and a myriad of other reasons.

However you need to ask yourself, what would you rather choose? To be miserable and in a relationship or be single and happy? I’m going to guess that you would choose being single and happy. If being in relationships was the answer, why do we have people who are able to lead a happy and peaceful life although they are not in relationships? Why do we have people who are miserable in relationships?

There are also relationships that tear you down and make you feel unworthy because your partner gradually chips away at your confidence and inner strength. In spite of this, there are many who choose to stay in damaging relationships because they do not know better. They feel that it is safer to be with the devil they know although they slowly lose their own identity within the relationship. Due to the fear of losing their partner, they accept the emotional and even physical abuse.

The most dangerous thing happens when we allow our happiness to be in the control of another person’s hands. If our partner treats us well, we are happy but if they don’t, we are subject to emotional turmoil and we do everything just to please them. In unhealthy relationships, our emotions are constantly switching from extreme ends of happiness and sadness. We become a puppet and allow another person to play with our emotional strings on a daily basis.

A relationship is not meant to fill up a void in you. It is not until you are able to fill yourself up with love that you are able to fully love someone else. A relationship should not diminish the core essence of who you are. It is supposed to nurture and help you grow and expand in ways you never imagined were possible.

One does not grow up and say I have a dream to find my soul mate. Your dreams should be based on your own achievements and not be dependent on someone else. By focusing on your own goals, your happiness will not be dependent on another person. You will not subject yourself to any treatment that you do not deserve. It is essential to understand that nobody is responsible for your happiness. If we rely on somebody else to ensure we are constantly happy, it would be completely insane. The harsh reality is that it is impossible for another person to always make you happy. We should take 100% responsibility for our own happiness.

This is a quote by Edmond Mbiaka, a self-help writer which goes,

“The absence of self-love can never be replaced with the presence of people’s love for you.” Here is another quote by writer Jo Courdet, “You do not need to be loved, not at the cost of yourself. The single relationship that is truly central and crucial in a life is the relationship to the self.”

Society paints singlehood as an undesired state when it is actually wonderful to be able to love your own company and be comfortable in your own skin. There is absolutely nothing wrong with dining on your own in a crowded restaurant or watching a movie alone in a cinema. Celebrate your passions and stop worrying about whether your other half shares the same interests as you.

Stop avoiding your authentic self by changing your needs to meet the whims and fancies of your partner. You are not a broken heart pendant that is in constant search of its other half. You are the pendant that is already complete.

How to make yourself happy?

By now you might be thinking, “Are you really sure that I can be happy on my own?” How many times have you heard this saying, “You must learn to love yourself first before you can learn to love another?”

Honestly, what does that mean anyway? How do I love myself first? Why can’t I find somebody else to fill this void that I am feeling? Why can’t I find somebody to give me the happiness I need?

You need to make your own happiness the first priority

Learn to be happy on your own and fully understand that you do not need another person to complete you. You are already a complete and whole individual without a relationship. Forget about what society thinks and ignore the judgments that people hurl at you.

You need to make your own happiness the first priority. You do not enter into a relationship to hide your flaws. You need to accept your flaws, warts and all and be at peace with who you are. Most of the time we cling on to relationships in the hopes that it will cure our loneliness.

However, if we enter hastily into a wrong relationship without carefully considering the consequences, you might actually feel lonelier than you already are. A healthy relationship is not one that is dependent on one another but one where both individuals have had the opportunity to flourish and accept themselves for who they truly are.

If you are single, rediscover your passions for life and embrace everything that life has to offer. You do not need to put your life on hold until you find your dream partner. Be your own biggest cheerleader and supporter. Be proud of your own accomplishments and do not disregard them because you are single. Reach out to the people around you, your family and friends. There are so many ways to create meaningful relationships with others if you only know where to look for it.

Find your purpose

Find your purpose and spend time thinking how you can add value to another person’s life. By being single, you have the freedom to do whatever you want and whenever you want. The world is essentially your oyster. By being more aware of who you are, you will find so many things to look forward to in life. Break out from your comfort zone and empower yourself to do the things that you’ve always wanted to do.

I remember watching a scene from Runaway Bride starring Julia Roberts. If you had watched the movie, you would know that she had a string of fiancés and almost married each of them but ended up running away instead! She becomes such a hot gossip topic that a tabloid decides to do a story on her.
Richard Gere, the reporter, proceeds to interview her past dates and discovered that each of them had mentioned that Julia liked her eggs the same way they did.

In one scene, Julia says, “I was just being supportive!” Richard interjects and shouts, “You weren’t being supportive! You were scared! You were so lost you didn’t even know what kind of eggs you liked! With the priest you wanted it scrambled, with the deadhead you wanted it fried, with the other guy it was poached and now it’s like egg whites only!” Julia replies, “That is called changing your mind.” Richard replies sarcastically, “No, that is called not having a mind of your own!”

A simple case of eggs was all it took to reveal the identity crisis that Julia was having. Too often, we define our identity by being in relationship. We become too afraid to voice our thoughts or opinions because we are afraid that our partners will reject them.

As a result, we mirror our partner and conform to them. We do all of this in the hopes that they will not leave us. In the process of doing this, we start to lose our individuality until we no longer know who we really are.

So what happened to Julia? She finally found the time to rediscover herself and eventually realized that her favourite were eggs benedict.

Apart from this, it is also possible to revel in the happiness of others who are in good, healthy relationships. It is always enjoyable listening to simple stories of how two different individuals were able to form an indescribable bond with each other. How they have each found someone who will help them be a better version of themselves. A relationship is essentially supposed to elevate and not devalue another person.

Love with yourself first before you love another

In short, do not view yourself as someone who is incomplete but someone who is whole. It is only when you are able to embrace this fact that you will then be able to fully experience the love that another person has to offer. When you do find it, it will be the most meaningful relationship you will ever be in.
You will not compromise on values that are important to you because you have the confidence to be on your own if the other person does not treat you in the way that you deserve.

Your relationship will not be based on fear but it will be based on finding another person who shares the same core values as you. A love that is incomparable because you have finally understood what it means to be in love with yourself first before you love another.