Our culture will try to sell you on the concept of the power couple, the dynamic duo who is more powerful together than apart. It’s just accepted that two is better than one, and that may be true when it comes to trying to figure out the solution to a complicated problem. But being single isn’t actually a problem. Not unless we make it one.
We make it into a problem when we’re single but don’t want to be. When we focus on all that we’re missing, we make our relationship status into something broken that needs fixing rather than a natural state of being. We also tend to overlook the positives in our lives in favor of a focus on what it is we don’t have. It can become easy to get so wrapped up in chasing what we want that we lose sight of what we have, and often lose it altogether.
I’ve recently suspected that the most powerful version of me is the single version.
There’s something about being entirely self-reliant that brings out my strength, resilience, and capability. Because there’s no one to lean on, I begin to lean on myself. I learn to trust myself, trust my intuition, and rely on my own resourcefulness to make up for anything that I’m missing.
While there are days that I would like to lean, I know that I am more than capable of standing on my own two feet for the rest of my life.
Thinking about the truth of personal power brought me to another conclusion.
People who are standing in their own personal power can’t just settle for any partner who comes along.
We actually need strong partners- if we choose to seek companionship in a relationship at all. We need another soul who understands the power and beauty inherent in loving oneself and being able to be independent. We need partners who understand a need for space and separate interests, for open dialogue, and for honesty. We require that kind of personal power- not to be mistaken for monetary or social power- in order to have a healthy relationship.
I can tell you from personal experience that when we pair ourselves up with people who are not personally powerful, it doesn’t usually bring them up to our level. It usually knocks us down to theirs.
It’s the partner with low self-esteem who tries to make us feel bad about ourselves rather than learning to love themselves.
It’s the partner with a negative relationship with money who happily spends every dime that comes into the relationship and leaves us in debt, late payments, and financial devastation.
It’s the partner with sexual hangups who tries to shame us for owning our own sexuality and knowing what we want (and don’t).
It’s the partner who says they love our strength and then tries to bend us to his (or her) will.
This isn’t a judgment of good or bad, but it is an assessment of our own journeys. We need to understand this as we come into our own power. When we embrace self-love and self-care, personal responsibility and accountability, and a deeper authenticity, we need to learn to require that of any potential partners.
It’s all about balance. When a relationship has a severe power differential, it’s not going to be in balance. It’s going to have a substantial imbalance- one that will likely mean we’ll expend more of our energy trying to “fix” someone else or make up for what they’re not contributing themselves. It becomes a drain on our time and resources, and we aren’t able to focus on simply loving and being with the other person. We’re certainly not able to focus on the things that are priorities to us.
And outside of relationships, there are those of us who have chosen a single life- not because of lack of options or standards that are far too high but because we enjoy the freedoms that come with it.
There’s nothing like putting my children to bed at night and coming downstairs to light a candle and listen to a record, putting in a classic film, or curling up with a good book. That might sound boring to a lot of people, but I had a relationship once when I couldn’t really do any of those things regularly. My introverted soul needed time and space, and sometimes silence, but I had to negotiate a relationship that involved a lot of Netflix and football and demands on my personal time.
I’m not a person who is unwilling to compromise, but I was all compromise all the time. My personal power began to flicker, and I feared that one day it might go out entirely. I needed to tap into my inner resources, but I was too drained to manage it completely.
When the relationship broke for an entirely different reason, my power slowly began to come back. Not at first- I was too broken and grief-stricken to get it back all at once. But as the smoke cleared, I began to remember myself. And in remembering myself, I began to feel the strength returning. I didn’t need to lean to survive. I could do this on my own.
I thought about dating again, but then I decided that I would try a new path. I wouldn’t go back into that world of online dating, and I wouldn’t go looking for the next relationship. Instead, I would put myself firmly on the path of my choosing and let the Universe provide a powerful partner on that journey- or not. I accept that there might not be a partner for me. It’s not a fact that trips me up very often, and that’s mostly because I enjoy my life.
I’m not focused every day on the things I don’t have. I don’t spend every moment pining to be paired. I focus on what I do have, and I make my priorities central in our lives. I raise my children, and I work my dream job doing freelance writing and working on a series of novels. I make every dollar stretch and still manage to work in the occasional treat for myself and the kids. I plan out my days and my limited personal time based on my own preferences, and I don’t feel like my power is depleted from not being paired up.
No, I’ve embraced the power of one.
The power of one person to make a difference- be it with social issues, the environment, or even politics.
The power of one person to live a dream.
The power of one person to carve out a good life.
I’m not saying I’ll never have another partner, but I am saying I won’t exchange my personal power for it. And I won’t settle.
After all, aren’t we all enough on our own?
I know I am.
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