Have you ever been truly single?
When my first marriage completed, I realized that I had not been truly single since I was 15-years-old. I dated my highschool sweetheart until I went to college, had a college boyfriend and then was in a monogamous relationship for 10 years.
Speaking to my girlfriends and dating coaching clients I find similar stories. For all the hoopla about supposedly “single and lonely” black women, many women have never been truly single. Sure, you may check off “single” on your taxes, but many of us are either in a mindset of getting over a past relationship or moving into a new one, if not shacking up. None of these relationship stages constitute a truly single woman.
So what’s the big deal about being single?
You have to know how to be with yourself before you can be with anyone else. There is great personal power in taking time out to be single on purpose. When you go from relationship to relationship, often without healing, you are not taking the time to learn the life lessons from that particular relationship assignment and evolve. You are stifling your growth.
We then go forward, attempting to live, love and date with a list of qualities that we’re looking for without realizing that we are none of those things on the list. Clean up your mental, physical and spiritual houses before inviting another person into your life!
The Year of Living Single.
The Goddess Year is a 12-month program that I developed for women to focus on themselves. Consider The Goddess Year to be the Year of You. It’s kind of like the gap year that some European students take between high school and college to find themselves. Well, you don’t find yourself — you create yourself and reveal yourself.
We need a Goddess Year because women, mothers in particular, often see the world through the eyes of everyone but themselves. Young men are encouraged to take time to themselves, to “sow their oats” and be selfish while young women are just ushered toward constant coupledom.
You can’t fall in love with someone you don’t really know — and that includes yourself. As the hub of the family, it’s essential for a woman to love herself first, this is the biggest love lesson we teach by example to our daughters and sons. Many of our mothers couldn’t teach us how to love ourselves because they didn’t know how to love themselves.
Sure, the thought of being chronically single can be hard. The media browbeats the story of no comparable men for successful single black woman and #ThisIsWhyYoureSingle fears of “spinsterhood.” Well if the love pond we’re swimming in is too small then it’s time to enlarge it. We can’t see that if we’re stuck in the mire of relationship or bed-hopping.
But what if I don’t want to be alone!
The real deal is that not everyone should be in a relationship right this minute. Yes, we all deserve partnership and need love. That is a fact. This is not about a detrimental and unhealthy “I don’t need a man” or “all men suck” attitude. Those are limiting love beliefs. Healthy, loving relationships are your birthright. However, there is a difference between needing the person you are in love with in an empowered way and being a “needy” person.
If you approach dating from the POV of being a needy person, you end up committing a DWD, Dating While Desperate. Desperation is man-repellant. Taking the time to learn to be in your own skin will help you to see that and recognize your true life partner when they appear.
If you are in a relationship currently, your Goddess Year can just be a Year of You.
5 Things to Do During Your Goddess Year:
1. Relationship Resume.
The first thing I discuss with a love coaching client is her Relationship Resume. We must learn the lessons of the past so that we don’t have to attract the same situations going forward. Write down the name of every person you have been in a relationship with. Next to each name, analyze the relationship and pay attention to the patterns that emerge. If you’re already in a relationship, use this as a tool to grow individually and as a couple.
Relationship Resume inquiry: What worked in this coupling? What went wrong? Where do you take responsibility? What did you like and dislike about the person? What positive and negative qualities did they have of one or both of your parents? What positive and negative traits of yours do they mirror back to you? What are the life lessons for you?
2. Extreme Self-Care.
If you can’t treat yourself well, why should someone else? When I speak to women about their self-care practices, they think that I am talking about manicures and massages. While this kind of physical pampering can be much-needed, I urge you to go deeper. Let’s talk about nourishing the divine feminine within.
Do you have a practice of meditation, gratitude and/or affirmations? Do you workout and take care of your body temple? Do you energize your body with nourishing foods? Are you meticulous about who and what you allow into your mental space? Do you feed your mind and spirit with a steady diet of low energy TV, gossip and bad news? Do you ask for help and support when you need it from a therapist, coach, counselor or clergy?
3. Clutter Clearing.
If you want blessings to flow into your life, you need to make room for them. Clutter is a sign of a poverty mentality. If you are holding on to clutter of any kind, you are being stingy with yourself. You can’t receive big, bodacious love if you’re grasping on to the puny things in life.
There’s all kinds of clutter. There’s physical clutter – stuff. We’re aware of holding on to non-fitting clothing, family memorabilia, files books and old tchotchkes. There’s also digital clutter. Are there old files on your desktop or people no longer in your life in your phone? Delete and make room for your new life. Then, there’s people clutter. If there are folks in your life who are not enriching you then they are merely taking up space. Cut Booty Call Bashir if what you want is true love.
4. Vision Board.
A Goddess Dreambook, vision board or treasure map is a beautiful way to create a life plan. If you don’t know where you’re going then any old road will do. However, most of us have dreams and goals for ourselves and our families. We spend more time thinking about vacation plans that life plans. You decide on the “what” and let the universe take care of the “how.”
Be brave and bold as you cut out images of what you desire when it comes to family love, health, leisure and home. I am a Pinterest junkie (link: http://www.pinterest.com/abiolatv) but it’s good to physically interact with our intentions by gluing positive words and inspiring images together, old school.
How you approach your Goddess Year is up to you. If you’re always dating and having sex, take a time out. The point is to be single on purpose with the goals of self knowledge and personal evolution. For most women I recommend “dating promiscuously and loving monogamously.” That means meeting great guys and enjoying their company while being sexually celibate. That’s right, dating and sexing are not necessarily the same thing. It also means dating without trying to create a relationship.
The interesting side effect of being single on purpose is that you really become irresistible. A woman in love with herself is magnetic. The Goddess Year is not about avoiding true intimacy but welcoming it. When you learn to be authentically yourself, you give the man (and women) in your life permission to do the same. When you realize that you’re worthy, you won’t allow anything less.
This Week’s Homework:
1. It’s the Year of You! Are you ready to declare a Goddess Year? Start off with a mission statement or contract with yourself. How can you celebrate making this declaration of personal power?
2. Create a vision board. If you already have one, update and refresh it. As you evolve, so should the vision for your life. There is power in intention. Don’t forget to take action to make your dream lifestyle happen. There is a law of attraction and also a law of action.
3. Make a Relationship Resume. Ask yourself the hard questions about people you’ve been involved with. You can take it further by making a “Sexual Self Esteem” resume and analyzing the situations where you’ve been intimate and how you felt at the time.
4. Create a self care practice. Think about how to feed your mind, body and spirit to energize the divine feminine within.
5. Become a clutter buster. Get rid of anything or anyone who can’t add to the juiciness of your life!