I've been looking for my soul mate for a number of years and the pain of loneliness is something I would not wish on anyone.
To come home to your apartment alone; to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, day after day alone; to spend more than half your day in total silence because there is no one to talk to; to have no real safety net—no one to be there for you in totality when you’re in a jam.
Our Torah teaches us that we cannot judge someone until we walk in their shoes. I think few people in this world can judge the pervasive loneliness and pain that a Jewish single must face on a daily basis.
To walk into a synagogue and be the only one there without a prayer shawl (the custom is that only married men wear them). To be a young woman at a wedding who is bombarded with a litany of pretentious blessings, “I hope you are next.’ To hear comments from people saying, “He’s too picky. She’s too picky. He doesn’t really want to get married. . .”
It stings, but yet we trudge along. We do our best to serve our employers, serve our community, our families, and serve our Creator. Often our hope and motivation is dim and gloomy yet we try to push forward hoping for another tomorrow.
There are times when you get so down that all you see is the potential nightmare of being single forever.
So we go on dates we know are not good for us. Go on vacations and trips around the world, alone, to escape from the loneliness we endure on a regular basis. Or we move to a community of other singles to hopefully increase our chances of meeting someone. Anything to get through the pain. Anything to feel like we are doing our part to get closer to finding that other person.
There are times when you are single long enough that you become so depressed, so down that you lose the ability to dream. You lose the ability to have a vision of marriage or a family at all. Everything looks bleak and your future looks like it is going nowhere. All you see is the potential nightmare of being single forever. Of becoming that social outcast in the community you have dreaded and feared becoming your entire life.
But we must never give up on our dreams.
In life you have two choices. You can be negative, what some people call “realistic,” and think that nothing will ever go well and that life will never be good. Or you can look at the glass as half full and realize that no matter what, if you can remain objective and positive, your life will be that much more fulfilled and enriched no matter the outcome.
HOW TO STAY POSITIVE
1. Start to appreciate all the things in your life that going well for you. Take solace in the fact that you have a good job, a nice place to live, close friends and family that loves you. Focus and take joy in the 90% of things going well in your life, instead of the 10% that are not.
2. Setup a personal goal for yourself to focus your time and energy on. Whether it be exercise, education, or some other aspect of personal growth. Focus on improving some aspect in your life so that you are working on accomplishing something tangible, and so that you will be creating positive change out of a negative situation. For me through diet and exercise I have lost close to 15 pounds and I not only feel healthier, but I can take pride in what I have accomplished, instead of focusing on not having found someone yet.
3. Realize that in the end of the day that God loves us, no matter what difficult time we are going through. As hard as it is in the moment, we need to strive to see how everything that happens to us is inevitably for the best. We may only realize this after the fact, once we have perspective, and that's where the challenge of living with trusting God enters the picture. We can be spiteful about it and live a miserable life, or we can realize that God is doing this for our own benefit and appreciate that we will come out that much better and stronger. Our challenge is to stay positive.
IT’S ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE
Conan O’Brien said something very profound on his last night hosting the Tonight Show. Working at NBC for almost 20 years, he had an iron clad agreement with the company to be the successor once Jay Leno would step aside from the show. After hosting the show for only seven months, Conan was forced to abandon the Tonight Show, a dream he had held his entire life.
"Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."
In his closing remarks he said: “To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism – it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."
So no matter how bad it gets, please don’t ever give into cynicism, negativity, and doubt. We may feel beaten down by life and by our circumstances. We may feel like we can’t go on for one moment longer, but we owe it to ourselves to bounce back and give it another chance.
Because I promise you if you stick it out and remain positive, good things will happen. And besides, who wants to marry someone cynical?