Single isn’t “normal,” so how can you feel good about it?
Single isn’t normal. At least as far as our society is concerned, it’s not. As much as I love being single and wouldn’t trade it for the world, it’s still not viewed as normal. What’s normal is being in a relationship, wanting a relationship, and striving toward a relationship. What’s also normal is settling for a relationship, spending hours/days/weeks/months searching endlessly for a relationship, putting aside your own hopes and dreams for the sake of a relationship, and feeling bad about yourself when you don’t have a relationship. And normal is supposed to be good? If single were viewed as just as normal as being in a couple, think of the angst that could be saved single people everywhere! You could be out walking around just as happy and “normal” as everyone else and have no idea that there’s anything wrong with you. Here’s the thing – YOU CAN! You can do this right now and you don’t have to wait for society to change its viewpoint on your single status. All you have to do is take a different look at what’s normal and strive to be better than normal. I’m going to show you how!
What’s so great about being normal?
How do you define a “normal” life? For most people, a normal life goes something like this. You grow up, get a job, get married, buy a house and have some children. The order of that changes depending on your generation, but I think most people would agree that that’s the gist of what’s expected of us by society. Sounds kinda boring, right? So, why is it exactly that the majority of people strive for a normal life? You’ve probably been striving for normalcy your whole life without even knowing it. As a child, you strove to do what your parents wanted you to do so that they would look upon you favorably. You tried to do what they thought was normal in order to garner their love. You also tried to be normal with your peers so that you would fit in and feel okay in your own skin. Then when you went out into the world you tried to do the normal things that were expected of you so that you would be accepted into society. Why did you do all of this? It’s likely rooted deep in your biology. Way back in caveman times, survival was based on fitting in and being a productive part of the community. If you didn’t fit in, you risked being cast out on your own and potentially death! So, back then, leading a normal life was kinda important and that desire for normalcy has never really left us. Our physical survival no longer depends on it, but our emotional survival still does to a certain extent. Who doesn’t want to be well-liked? Who doesn’t want to be looked upon favorably by their peers? Who doesn’t want their family and friends to think they’re leading a good life? It makes us feel good, right? But there are plenty of people out there who don’t fit in with societal norms. What about them?
Non-normal leads to even better
One of my favorite quotes is, “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” It’s been attributed to several different people, but I’ve always thought it came from Eleanor Roosevelt. The reason I love this quote so much is that it basically states that in order to do great things you’ve got to step outside of what’s “normal” and what’s expected of you. If you think about some of humankind’s greatest discoveries or inventions – electricity, automobiles, airplanes, telephones, the Internet – do you think the people who discovered or invented these things were leading normal lives? Hell no! They were out there making waves and being “weird.” Their non-normal lives led to extraordinary things that benefit all of us. So, just because you’re not leading a “normal” life doesn’t mean that yours can’t be even better! You can’t be normal and extraordinary at the same time. Now, this doesn’t mean that just because you’re married and have kids you can’t do anything extraordinary. Of course you can. But you also don’t have to be living an ordinary life to have a good life. Your life can be just as good without a spouse and children, and if you make it so, it can be even better! Let’s face it, relationships have their challenges. All of them do, no matter how good they are. You accept all the BS of relationships as being part of the “normal,” and you enjoy commiserating with your fellow couples who are going through the same thing. It’s all a normal part of life. But you, dear singleton, have the opportunity to be better than normal.
Single is extraordinary
Single is extraordinary. How so? Well, according to our society, it’s not ordinary (aka normal), so it must be extraordinary. And if you look at all of the daily challenges that single people face, if you’re taking care of yourself well and living a pretty good life as a single person, then you’re already doing something extraordinary. You’re doing something that all of those coupled-up people out there either couldn’t do or were too afraid to find out if they could do. So, why are you compelled to strive for normal? Don’t strive for the status quo, strive for something better. Think of all the extraordinary things you can do with your life while not being normal. You could:
- Travel the world on a dime
- Throw yourself into your chosen career and accomplish something amazing
- Raise a child/children on your own
- Move to a third world country and change the lives of many in need
- Adopt a cause and make it your mission in life
- Get everything for yourself that the couples have, but have it all to yourself
- Be a role model for other singles who are questioning “normal”
There are so many more to add to this list, too, and they don’t even have to be this grand. As a single person with struggles like all other singles, there are times when I think things would be easier if I had someone in my life. But on the flip side I’m often amazed at the number of times in my daily life I think, “This would be so much harder if I had a husband and kids,” or, “I would never be doing this if I had a husband and kids.” It’s not always greener on the other side, it’s just a different shade of green.
You can strive to live a normal life like everyone else and certainly no one would fault you for that. You can strive to fit in and do what society expects of you, and you’ll get through life just fine. You can see being single as something that’s abnormal and something that you must work hard to change, and most people would agree with you. Most of us were raised to believe that being part of a couple is a good thing, the right thing, and the thing that’s going to make you the most happy. To quote another great teacher, the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” When you have the confidence to see being single as an extraordinary thing that affords you many opportunities that you might not otherwise have, it’s easy to abandon your quest for a “normal” life.
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