If you’re someone who has gone past their mid-twenties, then you’ll understand what we’re talking about here. Wedding season is the time during which we see all of our friends, family, relatives, colleagues and so on getting married. It usually happens over the summer, and it will take up our entire Instagram feeds. For those of us who are singletons, it can actually have quite a damaging effect on our emotional wellbeing. It’s easy to end up comparing our lives to others, wondering why we haven’t yet found our significant other. And then a whole spiral of anxious and self-deprecating thoughts will inevitably arise. So how can we deal with this? Read on to find out more.
First of all, why is it that we endlessly compare our lives to those around us? We see friends getting married, relatives getting pregnant, long-distance peers starting their own business and we think we’re not running fast enough in the race of life. But is it a race? Of course it’s not! There isn’t a destination we should be aiming for here. Yes, we can set goals and want to achieve the best for ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we’re not doing well enough as we are right now. There’s no rules, we don’t have to achieve specific things by a specific year in our existence! Just because that’s what works for one person, it doesn’t mean it’s automatically where we are ‘supposed’ to be. There is no ‘supposed’, by the way.
So how do we deal with feelings of inadequacy?
That horrible, horrible voice that lives inside all of our heads telling us we’re not good enough are little devils, aren’t they?! It would be great if we could just remove them, a bit like those arcade grabber machines. But like those grabbers, it’s a bit harder than it looks, unfortunately, and it costs a bit more than a 10p coin. It takes a lot of work on ourselves, and a lot of self-love, something that will feel slightly unnatural to many of us!
Treating ourselves with kindness is the best place to start, but definitely not the easiest. Start by acknowledging when you hear that little voice saying nasty things about yourself. Identifying that is a huge step! Then we can start to work on questioning it, ‘where’s the evidence for this?’ which kind of makes the thought lose its value - because there’s no proof behind it! And then, we can start to replace it with nicer, more positive and comforting thoughts about ourselves. For every negative thought, try to replace it with just one nice thought about yourself, even something small, like how good of a cuppa tea you make! You’ll really start to notice a difference in your self-esteem. That way, when we see those around us succeeding, getting married and starting families, we’ll be quicker to be kinder to ourselves, and it’s less likely to impact our mental wellbeing so much. It takes time, so patience and consistency is key here.
What about for the singletons?
Seeing others tie the knot is understandably difficult for some who haven’t met someone yet. It can leave us experiencing intense feelings of loneliness. Recognise that you are living your life for a reason, not someone else’s. Spend time learning about and loving yourself, spoil and treat yourself if you feel up to it! You don’t need to wait around for another person to not feel lonely, really. Do things you enjoy doing, and isn’t there an added bonus when you're on your own that everything is on your terms? Be selfish, and enjoy it!
We understand that it can be hard if you’re wanting to find that special someone. What’s that old saying… love is like a fart - if you have to force it, it’s probably… Well, you get the idea. And it’s true, meeting someone who we want to spend our life with is not a piece of cake, it takes trust, learning and loyalty, and that isn’t something that will happen overnight! When it’s ready to find you, it surely will. Unfortunately it’s not something we can go out fishing for, although that would make things easier wouldn’t it?
And maybe you’re not the kind of person who’s interested in marriage! And that’s ok too! Whether you’re looking for love and not marriage, or you’re completely dedicating yourself to YOU (cudos if you are), you’re on the right path. Don’t let what other people are doing interfere with your personal beliefs and values. It’s easier said than done of course, especially with the overwhelming platform that is social media, but keep in mind what you want for yourself. And maybe you don’t know yet - that’s exciting also.
Remember that there’s a difference between being lonely and being alone, understand which it is for you. If you’re feeling lonely, try some of these things:
Date yourself. Get your favourite takeaway or go out to the cinema on your own - no one to wait around for and you can see or do whatever you want to. It feels pretty empowering! You deserve to be treated, so make it happen.
Focus on your current relationships. Whether that’s family, friends, your work besties or your fluffy companions, spend time with those who you already have in your life. Be grateful for the people you love and who love you and treasure those relationships.
Reevaluate your goals. We kind of covered this above, but figure out what it is that you really want. Are you dreaming of your wedding because it’s all your seeing online this summer? Or are you actually someone who wants to travel the world? Remind yourself of what’s important to you and try your best to focus your efforts on that instead of getting caught up in negative feelings around other people’s lives.
Final thoughts: All the feelings you might be experiencing around this topic are completely normal. It’s natural to feel a bit of envy for those who seem to be succeeding and flashing it all over our Facebook feeds. But firstly, that doesn’t always mean that they’re happy. And secondly, it definitely doesn’t mean it’s meant for us. Life looks different for all of us, and finding what makes us feel truly happy is the most important part of navigating it. Try not to rush the journey, enjoy each moment because those are the parts we’ll look back on and treasure. Life is not just in the bigger moments.