After a decade of bad marriage, I spent many years being single. It was a journey of self-discovery. While lonely at times, it was also empowering. I learned to nurture myself and trust my own strength and abilities.
In those years, I’d often get asked whether I had a significant other. Upon replying, “No,” I’d see a familiar expression, the one I always got when I answered that question– the dumbstruck deer face. You know the one.
Immediately following, I’d hear, “Well, I know this really great guy…”
Truth is, I was disgusted with the pervasive theory that single equals pitiful. It’s that thought that sends vulnerable young girls into the arms of perverts and playboys. It’s the concept that keeps incompatible and incredibly unhappy couples together long after the relationship’s expiration date. It’s that philosophy that impels people everywhere to settle for the undeserving guy or girl who insults them, disrespects and undervalues them.
Sadly, some people cannot fathom being single so they’ll never spend enough time alone to discover their own awesomeness.
The Yogic Perspective
Vedic teachings describe the interplay of three attributes in nature – the gunas. At all times, we are moving in or through one of these states.
- Tamas (inactivity – like the seed of a plant)
- Rajas (abundant activity—like the blossoming of that plant)
- Sattva (balance – like the splendor of that lush foliage, or its calm existence).
I would describe my single years as a time of abundant activity (Rajas), a blossoming of my best self. I spent nights on my feet, fetching call bells, collecting body fluids, and recording vital signs on the cardiac floor in a hospital. During the day, I slept a few short hours with the sun streaming in my window and the sounds of a busy city bustling outside my bedroom. When summer break came for my boys, I filled water balloons and handed out ice pops in my pajamas — sleep eluding.
And while my world was spinning on the outside, a more subtle shifting of ideas, self-assurance, and a process of self-possession was happening on a soul level. Every bit of that solo, supermom time was essential to my growth and development.
Arriving at a Balanced State
Now that I have fully emerged as the confident, well-equipped yoga chick you see today, I find that my emotional state rests in Sattva — a place of balance and simple joy in being.
In yoga and in life, balance is integral to success. A sattvic (balanced) view of self is vital if we ever hope to attain healthy relationships or find any semblance of joy. You cannot be strong if you’re leaning too hard on someone else, hinging your happiness on their affections, or expecting external things to bring you internal peace.
The Broken Marriage/Single Mom Moral of My Story
Bad relationships taught me two important things:
It’s better to be single than suffering.
I’d rather be dateless than disrespected.
I know now that if you don’t respect yourself, no one else will either. Whatever your relationship status, know that you don’t have to be attached to be incredibly happy. Shine where you stand and learn the art of self-love.
Consider the current state of your soul, and remember that life is a dance, and movement is inevitable. Enjoy this place. Change is coming.
Mantra: The secret to happiness is courage.
For more on divorce, read this.