Let’s be honest, we all love a happy ending. For centuries, the concept of “happily ever after” has been deeply ingrained in our collective consciousness. From fairy tales to romantic comedies, romance novels and the way the media write about celebrities, we’ve been led to believe that true happiness can only be achieved through finding our perfect partner. Many of us have a tendency to feel we will have failed miserably if we do not meet “the one” in time for us to try for children. As this measure of success can feel so deeply ingrained in us from this variety of sources as well as possibly from our own friends and family, it can be challenging to let go of this belief and think about things a different way.
But, what does living ‘happily ever after’ really mean? Is it possible to find it, or is it just a childhood fairy tale?
Something I am really passionate about sharing is the knowledge that being in a relationship isn’t the only path to a fulfilling life. I didn’t always feel this way. In my 30s I had periods of feeling really sad that I hadn’t met ‘the one’ and feeling like it was such a shame that I would miss out. It’s only now that I see things very differently.
These are the 4 big changes in the way I feel now:
1.Focusing on the journey rather than the destination
I’ve come to realise that finding our ‘happily ever after’ is not an ultimate destination. If we reach our destination, then the journey has ended. Finding happiness is never a journey with a definite ending, rather it’s a lifetime journey. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of always looking to the future, thinking we’ll find happiness at some defined period of time, when some set criteria has been ticked off. Rather than always looking to the future, I really try to live in the moment and enjoy each phase of my life as I am in it.
2. Placing friends and family as the primary source of support
Rather than feeling like someone is missing in our lives if we don’t have a partner, we can rather invest time and energy into building and maintaining strong relationships with our friends and family members. This provides us a broader support system to rely on and deeper connections with those already in our lives. Instead of focusing all our efforts into finding a romantic partner, we can prioritise building and nurturing deep friendships.
If we surround ourself with supportive, like-minded individuals who uplift and inspire us, as well as challenging us and helping us grow, these connections can bring immense joy, fulfilment, and a sense of belonging. I often feel a much deeper sense of connection from my support network that I ever think I could from just one partner. When I started putting friends and family as the key focus, it stopped me feeling like anyone was missing in my life. Rather is feels completely full of love and support.
3. Putting all our energy into making our circumstances the best they can be
We can spend a lot of time and energy wishing things were different. Wishing we’d met a suitable partner who had the same outlook and goals for life. Wishing we had someone to share our journey with. Wishing we could take a more conventional journey. Wishing our children would have a father in their lives as they grew up. It’s easy to wish for all these things and how things could be different. Really, any time spent wishing things were different is a waste of energy. Instead I spend all my energy on how I can make the most of the situation I am in. What action I can take to live the best life that I can. This is energy well spent, rather than energy wasted wishing things could be different.
4. Find purpose and meaning for our lives
Happiness and fulfilment can stem from a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives. What this looks like will be different for everyone. What’s important is to look past what society says we should be doing, what our friends and family think and really identify what’s important to us and how we can start living our purpose.
Once we’ve found our purpose and start living it, we can create a life filled with meaning and significance. This can be part of finding our ‘happily ever after’ that doesn’t require a romantic partner. Since I have found my own personal purpose to support people considering solo parenthood and solo parents to thrive, I feel so fulfilled. It really helps us to stop thinking something or someone is missing from our lives when we are truly living our purpose.
It’s so important to remember that being single does not equate to being incomplete or unhappy. We can embrace the freedom and opportunities that come with being unattached and seize the chance to write our own unique and extraordinary story of “happily ever after.”
We cover all these points in my Group Coaching Course Choosing Solo, for single people considering solo parenthood. I’d love to have you join us there.