The power of one can be fulﬁlling
Sometimes we are tempted to take stock of our relationships. A common question usually targets our couple-hood. Are we “with” somebody or are we “alone”? We all know that in certain situations, the answer is both.
It can feel lonely being in a couple and it can be fulfilling being single. And, though being part of a “we” brings comforting implications, what is it that makes so many single people content?
As we grow wiser we learn how to manage life’s curveballs. We develop a sense of mastery that helps us navigate whether we’re part of a couple or on our own. So, singlehood becomes less scary, overwhelming and empty. Add to that full hearts and open minds, and we have a winning formula.
There are exceptions, of course. Take “Ralph”, for example, a widower whom I recently questioned about adjusting to single life. Despite my hesitancy to open sensitive issues, his answer surprised me. He actually gave it some serious thought before he talked about how hard it is to get a decent home-cooked meal. And he was not trying to be funny! Aside from a full plate, his minute expectations of a relationship appeared tragically bare.
Most unattached people, however, operate from a richer perspective. Happy people speak from their hearts. Whether or not they have a family, they all approach life with an expectation and appreciation of kindness. Be it a smile, a gesture, or the awareness of someone else’s feelings, there is the sense of connection that comes with empathy.
All content people refer to someone or something that holds meaning for them. In the act of giving they develop a sense of their own value. They might have a pet, adore a grandchild or, like Mary, take note of the simple details that flavor our days. “Oh, he’s such a sweetie!” she mentions about her doorman, as we leave her building. Mary collects the tiny offerings of daily life to fill her emotional pockets.
In becoming more aware of daily details, I have experienced that a full heart is there for the taking. I enter my office and count on the smell of freshly made coffee. I do my banking and chat with the tellers. And if I collect returned smiles I can have a pocketful.
We can surround ourselves by relationships that span between a second and a century. If we compile them, and allow them all a place, they weave together to form a beautiful tapestry. Like an Impressionist painting made of tiny dots, they come together to fill our canvas. And we all have relationships, a “patchwork quilt” that embellishes what no one person can give us, or surrounds and unites us in endless possibilities.