Empowering Singlehood: Being by Yourself is Beautiful
When I mention “singlehood”, what is the first thought to cross your mind, the first emotion to swell in your heart? Do you imagine feeling contentment in freedom from commitment or loneliness from the lack of a romantic companionship? Excited at the notion of self-fulfilment or low-spirited at the perceived emptiness? Or both?
Whichever it is, your contemplations are completely valid.
For better or worse, our society is becoming highly Westernised. Even in the Malay-Muslim community, there is a tendency to harbour Westernised views on intimate matters such as romantic relationships and the taking to social media to express those sentiments. There is a lot of hype around rose petal-showered dinner dates by the sunset, high-effort surprise gifts from significant others, snapshots of couples being affectionate with each for the public to adore. This, coupled with the subliminal pressure to settle down and start a family before a certain age within the community, increases the prevalence of flaunting relationships like prized possessions. This narrative has been repeatedly painted to the point of normalisation and has been successful in inculcating a sense of insecurity within those who do not fit into this projected model.
To those still waiting for the opportunity to meet someone, or nursing a heartbreak, or taking a break from devoting your love to someone else apart from yourself, you are sufficient.
It is normal to want to be with others. Healthy, even. Humans as social creatures thrive on social interaction. Even if we are comfortable alone, it is alright to sometimes feel lonely and crave for the company of another. But we cannot let that want for the company of others substitute the pertinent feeling of being comfortable in our own company.
Singlehood grants one plenty of time to work towards being happy and complete as an individual. Take the time to know yourself first by directing greater focus towards personal goals. You’ll learn things about yourself you didn’t previously know. You’ll learn better the contents of your heart and how to cope with it. You’ll learn the various other forms of happiness that may come to you apart from what you are already familiar with. When you feel at ease without others, you strip any form of restlessness you may not be aware of with regards to being alone.
So don’t be afraid to be by yourself. Once you love your own company, you feel better about yourself regardless of your relationship status. You can spend more emotional energy on the people who are already in your life who matter. Family and friends. Those who drive you to greater heights, who support you in times of hardship, who love you through your successes and pains. The bliss you experience in friendships is definitely different from what you experience in relationships, but your heart is capable of loving in more ways than one. And those in your life who deserve your love should know that they have it. When you do not feel compelled to seek fulfilment through having another person as a partner, your heart is clearer in recognising and appreciating the blessings He has bestowed. This includes the love which you are showered with from friends and family.
And you will not seek validation from relationships. A failed relationship can inflict horrible agony onto people. It can devoid them of happiness and instill fear of loving again. Some relationships can even take them far from Allah SWT. So when you associate your self-worth to the success of a relationship, you can, nauzubillah, be damaged when something goes awry.
Be kind to yourself. Be by yourself first, because being by yourself is beautiful. One of Allah SWT’s promises to us is guidance: “Surely those who believe and do good, their Lord will guide them to Paradise through their faith, rivers will flow under their feet in the Gardens of Bliss.” (Al-Qur’an, 10:9). As His humble servants, we are obliged to both harbour good intentions and carry out good deeds in order to receive His blessing and guidance. When you decide to start living your life for you, stop worrying about following the norm and start creating your own path with the intention to please our Creator. Your actions will then follow suit. As long as you keep Allah SWT in your heart and you put your trust in Him, you have little to fear. Not at the prospect of loneliness, not at others’ possible words about your relationship status. You are free of the social burden of “needing” to find a partner. Happiness is not dependent on anyone else; it is your own, and all you have to do is make space for it in your life.
One of the six pillars of Islamic Faith (Iman) is the Belief in Qadha’ and Qadr. Remember that Allah has already preordained all matters. We therefore should not feel sorrow over what is not in our hands. Whatever state of being we currently exist in now is what is best for us, as the good is surely in the hands of our all-knowing Creator. Let us all strive to earn Allah SWT’s pleasure in our thoughts and actions, and may we deviate far from the path of sin, away from anything He condemns, InshaAllah.
“So let whoever wills take the path leading back to their Lord.” (Al-Qur’an, 78:39)