Singular Depression: Learning to Love Being Single


There is a narrative about how life should unfold that almost everyone has been taught: go to school, grow up, get married, have kids, and live happily-ever-after. However, reality is never so “storybook perfect.” In fact, many modern folks are eschewing that narrative altogether and forging their own paths.

For example, artist Suzanne Heintz was constantly being pressured by friends and family to “get married,” but she didn’t want to. So she created an almost two decades-long art project, creating a “family” out of mannequins whom she has since photographed all over the world. She called the project “Life Once Removed” because she asks why “antiquated” ideas like this still persist so heavily in the culture. She is single, successful, and happy with her life. And why shouldn’t she be?

Singled Out

For some, depression about being single can be exacerbated simply by being around couples when you are yourself unattached. Like with Ms. Heintz, it is possible to find “fulfillment” without being in a relationship. It could be argued that the “Why are you still single?” pressure comes from those who are projecting their own fear of insecurity onto you.

Relationships Are Not Like Buying A House

When it comes to dream home or dream car, we all have our specific favorites. If you dream of owning a fast luxury car or a penthouse villa somewhere, you still have to settle on a used jalopy and a studio efficiency in a questionable part of town if that’s all you can afford.

When it comes to relationships, you have to wait for the person who gets you as revved up (pardon the pun) as that luxury car. If you simply “settle” for someone, you risk either ending up an unhappy spouse. The relationship will sap you of emotional strength, rather than fortifying what you already have.

Prepare for Rejection

Conversely, if the problem is that you have found someone who excites you but they either rejected your advances or you were together and split up, you can’t simply shut down. The myth that there is a “special someone” is just that, a myth. More likely, there are hundreds of someones just as special and exciting right near you, you just have to meet them.

Yet, no one likes being rejected. Still the most important relationship lesson anyone ever learns is the magical resilience of the human spirit. Being rejected – either by a potential or current lover – hurts in the moment, but that pain passes. When you are able to move past those rejections, you gain self-confidence.

The search for love and partnership is as old as the human condition. What’s more important than finding “someone to love” is learning to love yourself. Others will certainly follow.

Photo credit: Suzanne Heintz. For more of her work and to order prints click here.


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