Like many single people, I often get the chance to hear the reason why I’m single from many nice and well-meaning people. Personally, I find the unsolicited advice annoying but that’s a different topic. The reasons always vary and tend to involve some advice on self improvement. All well and good. This week I heard a new reason that seemed more ironic than the other ones I’ve heard up to this point. I was told that I’m single because I appear to be too independent and “put together” that it appears that I don’t need anyone. I will say that there’s a certain type of confidence that comes along with the continued ability to manage your bills and life without the input or assistance of a significant other. You make the hard decisions and life with the consequences alone. It may not always be ideal but you make it. But let’s be honest, people like being needed. There’s a certain security that comes along with knowing that you’re needed. You see couples who have broken up with both partner feeling utterly lost because they were so codependent on each other that they lost themselves in a relationship that ended. I think that there’s a balance or a sweet spot to be found concerning being “too” needy or “too” independent. Personally, it makes more sense to me to be too independent instead of too needy because it almost seems like the “lesser” evil. You have people with bucket lists of places that they want to visit and the only thing holding them back is finding someone to take along. Regardless of everything responsibilities have to be addressed and bills need to be paid. I think that’s just basic adulting stuff. It’s not an indication of being too independent to have a companion. But that’s just my opinion. So am I going to try to appear more needy for the sole purpose of landing a significant other? Nah.
Like most people I like to be right. There’s just an inherent smug feeling of satisfaction knowing that fact agrees with your assertion. It’s a great feeling. But as much as I like being right, there are times when I wish I wasn’t. It’s not fun to see the huge possibility of a negative outcome and then watch it happen. I guess it’s in those circumstances that I actually wish I was wrong and was pleasantly surprised instead. But I think that’s the ebb and flow of life in general. There are good surprises and then some not so great ones. But every now and again it’s not a bad thing to be wrong.
Not too long ago I had the opportunity to brush up on my therapy skills and put them into practice. Like anything, there are certain things you forget when you don’t have to use a certain set of skills consistently. While it’s easy to get back in groove (like riding a bike), the process requires additional preparation and planning. Something that stood out to me was the role of vulnerability in a successful intimate relationship. We have an impact on each other and walls are sometimes necessary because they serve as emotional protection in the face of real or perceived emotional danger. A certain amount of baggage typically comes along with two people entering a relationship. It’s not about finding a “perfect” person but more about choosing someone whose problems and emotional baggage complement yours. Vulnerability requires a certain amount of trust in the other person. The lines of communication have to be open without any topic being off limits. It’s interesting to witness adults in a variety of situations shy away from being assertive and discussing expectations about an uncomfortable topic. When I think about being vulnerable I think about watching dogs play and fight. Typically one dog wins when the other one surrenders by laying on its back and going belly up. It’s literally a position of vulnerability as it exposes vital organs leaving the dog at the mercy of its opponent. But it also signals the end of the fight. I think it’s important to remember that getting to that point of vulnerability takes time with human relationships. But it can be so worth it in the end when both people can communicate on that level without feeling attacked or judged.
I think that in some way, shape, or form life is always in movement. Even when you feel that nothing is happening time continues to go by. Recently I’ve gotten an opportunity of sorts to achieve the last goal on my list for 2015. It’s funny how you can talk about how much you want something but feel differently when it’s finally in front of you. One thing I’ve learned this year is that some opportunities only come once and that sometimes you have to both recognize and act on them without having a lot of background information. Another thing I’ve learned is that every opportunity isn’t a good one and that sometimes you have to make a choice based on long term goals and not what’s in front of you. What a year it’s been.
Selling things has never been one of my favorite activities. Growing up we had a homeschool business. It was supposed to teach us responsibility and how to run a business. The idea was my mother’s. Granted, the business was never something I cared for and I often found that it was more trouble than it was worth. Fast forward to my life after high school. Finishing at age 17 caused me to evaluate my life. I decided to take some time off and enroll at a community college for a few classes before going away to college. During this period of time I decided to get a job. So I found one selling knives. It wasn’t a bad job for people who are naturally a bit more extroverted or have the gift of gab. I had neither. The job involved going to various houses and demonstrating the product and taking orders. While I didn’t care for it, I did sell several thousand dollars worth of knives. It wasn’t a horrible experience but definitely a reminder that selling knives was not my calling in life. Neither was cold calling people asking to come into their homes for a demonstration. But I survived the experience and vowed to never ever sell anything again. As I’ve gotten a little older I’ve come to realize that so much in life depends on the way that you can sell yourself. While you don’t have to be cocky, there’s a way to communicate that you have the knowledge and skillset to complete a task. I think that’s why first impressions are so important. Once that happens, it’s a lot more difficult to challenge perceptions of you that have already been formed by that first impression. I think that’s why it can be good to cultivate the appearance of a calm demeanor. People want a calm person around them because it feels emotionally safe as opposed to someone who is frantic all the time.
I ran into an interesting article the other day about having children. You can read it here. The article specifically addresses some of the reasons why people decide not to have children. I don’t think there are a lot of people who set out to be bad parents but I can understand why it’s a fear. We all know the horror stories of crimes committed by individuals and the focus automatically goes to the parents as people begin to wonder what bad parenting skills created someone who could do “such a thing.” There also aren’t a lot of people who would argue that the world needs more people in it and I think a lot of millennials have taken on the perspective that they don’t want to add to the already existing problem. All in all, I think the article was pretty thought provoking and it made me wonder about the long term ramifications for society.
A lot of my posts this year have been about making choices, trying new things and following through. Recently I had the chance to experience the results of a pretty deliberate choice that I made. I had to go against a lot that had been engrained in me since childhood and also through adulthood. Going off the beaten path of what was expected and doing my own thing. I’ve always wondered what life is like for those who adhere to a specific set of values and morals all their life without even considering that other people live by other sets of morals and are completely fine. Some people have a need to learn by experience. They don’t want to take any one else’s opinion because they want to know for themselves. I think I’m one of those people. While I can fully agree with vicariously learning in order to avoid life altering pitfalls, there’s something to be said about having a personal experience. Many times we can be so quick to take someone else’s word for it without being willing to investigate it ourselves. In my opinion, nothing good ever comes from taking someone’s opinion as truth without critically thinking about it for yourself. There’s a quote I read not too long ago that said “Question everything.” In the world we live in, thinking is essential. In addition to that, the ability to see things though a different perspective can serve as a conduit for new experiences and opportunities that others miss.