It’s here. The season I dread more than any other: wedding season. Wedding season is trigger season for a lot of single folks like me.
Like many others, I spent my adolescence and young adulthood telling myself lies about love. Lies like these for example:
Lie #1 – You need a boyfriend to prove you are loveable.
Lie #2 – Only romantic attention will make me feel whole and confident.
Lie #3 – You will only find happiness when you find the right person to love you.
Being young and inexperienced, I followed my heart because I thought it was the best way to avoid pain. But as I started to deconstruct these lies, I realized I had walked straight into a hurricane of hurt. My heart did not know best. It had flat out lied to me.
All of my hopes and dreams for the future had hung on some imaginary person. In the mean time, I had accepted that I was doomed to suffer from loneliness. So, I drank gallons of wine to forget my loneliness. It was the best way I knew to stop the voice in my head telling me I was unattractive inside and out. Rejected. Useless. Worthless.
I’ve come a long, long way from believing those lies. Now, I can look at them and see how ridiculous they sound. But the road to this peaceful place was a difficult hike. I had years and years of ingrained beliefs I had to replace.
There was a period of time when I prayed over and over that God would reveal to me the lies I believed and help me shatter those lies. Because He is faithful and “an ever-present help in trouble,” I present to you exhibits 1-3 above as shattered lies.
Truth #1 – I am eternally loved by God, who sees my flaws and will never love me less. The love of another person is weak and inconsistent in comparison. I can expect another person to hurt me, but God will never leave me or hurt me with malicious intent. He is the only perfect sustainer and filler of my need for love and attention.
Truth #2 – I was created perfectly (as a unique individual) to be me. That is my purpose, to be as much of myself as I can possibly be. Anything less would be cheating myself and those around me.
Truth #3 – The right person to love me is me! I found peace and joy when I finally forgave myself for my past stupidity and started enjoying who I am. I spent more time with me, took me on dates and asked myself serious questions and silly questions.
I am truly happy and blessed as a single person. The rest of the year I am blissfully happy to be on my own. My life just smells better and feels better that way.
I stopped waiting and started living for myself years ago. Basically, I’m enjoying living selfishly and I don’t care who knows it. I revel in the freedom to go where I want, eat what I want, watch what I want, leave when I want, and sleep when I want.
I don’t need a spouse or family to prove anything to myself, or anyone else. I am grateful that I can spend this time living one day at a time as an adventure of my own making.
But…wedding season is still a trigger. Facebook posts about engagements, weddings, parties, pictures, and dresses can still spark some of that old way of thinking.
Truly, I’m genuinely happy for these couples. I think it’s amazing how God brings people together and helps them to understand His love better as they walk through life together. I don’t begrudge them or wish them ill. Single-ness is a gift just as much as a marriage. Neither state is better than the other because both of them are God’s perfect plan.
It’s just, at the same time as I experience this joy, I am prone to unload a ton of lies because my brain is conditioned to repeat them at the first sign of these triggers. And if I’m not careful, I could end up eating raw cookie dough out of the tube with a spoon and watching Pride & Prejudice until my stomach hurts and I start pining for my own Mr. Darcy to put a ring on it.
Instead, I put into action my three-step plan as quickly as possible.
Step #1 – Identify I’ve been triggered. (Wow. This hurts. I feel lonely and rejected.)
Step #2 – Identify the false thought (lie) that is ruining my peace. (You are useless and unloveable.)
Step #3 – Replace the lie with a truth, or many truths (I haven’t been rejected by anyone. I’m loved by one better than any human. Marriage is really hard too and not a fairy-tale answer to pain. Plus, I’m the best date I ever had!)
Is single life hard? Well, yes. But marriage is hard too, just in different ways. In general, life is never really all that easy anyway. If we allow our minds and hearts to point out what we don’t have and keep pointing it out, then we are sure to feel we are suffering. The-grass-is-always-greener syndrome is anything but peaceful.
Thankfully, we don’t have to be a victim to our old ways of thinking. There are greater truths in God’s kingdom that will always overshadow our fear and loneliness – no matter our relationship status.
What about your journey? Do you know what your triggers are? What kind of lies have you believed that disrupt your peace?
|Ginny Priz is a Christian coach, writer and speaker. Ginny has overcome her own drama with a prosthetic arm, alcohol, panic disorder, and codependency. She has a passion for guiding others toward the same peace and freedom she has come to experience. Ditching drama is possible for anyone “armed” with God and the Serenity Prayer! It’s never too late to start your own Serenity Journey.|