This is a phrase we hear all the time. To thrive is to be doing well, to prosper, to flourish. For singles this can often be a challenge. This phrase is not an easy one for many singles to consider. But it doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating.
Our world tells us many things about success. To thrive as a person, not just as a single person, could mean many things. It is more than positive thinking or “manifesting” good things in our lives. What if we can’t be positive enough or think hard enough about what we want to “make” it happen?
To thrive, we need to know ourselves. We need to know what we want, and what we don’t want. I suppose it’s possible to define oneself by the world’s standards, but that does not seem like it would be fulfilling or lead to satisfaction with self.
As a person, a human being, whether single or not, we want to do well. We want to grow, to learn. We want to progress in life. We want to have strong relationships – with our friends, family, and maybe a significant other. We would love to have a career in something we enjoy and believe in. We would like to be able to have a good income, to enjoy life but also pay the bills, and even save a bit. We’d like to have a sense of security. We’d also like to feel good - healthy (physically, emotionally, spiritually). Additionally, we’d love for others to see us and think well of us. That’s not too much to ask, right? I guess it depends.
As I look back at what I typed above, it sounds exhausting! That is a lot of work. It makes me think of trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” Social media feeds into this, too – making it harder for us to feel satisfied with what we have. Instead, we constantly see the lovely things others have and we feel like we are lacking. Comparison truly is a thief of joy.
As a single person, it can feel even more challenging at times. Singles still want all the things listed above, but they are doing it alone in a world that has many benefits for couples. Not all single people want to be in a couple – but many do. So, on top of the challenge of seeking to be successful (alone, on one paycheck), there can be disappointment because they don’t have a significant other with whom they can share their life.
So, how do we thrive in singleness? Obviously, there is more to thriving than earning a lot of money and having a lot of stuff.
As a counselor, I certainly believe that emotional wellbeing is very important for someone to feel satisfaction in their life. Therefore, finding ways to manage emotions will lead towards more satisfaction with us and our lives. As you know, I’m a counselor, so it could be easy for you to discount me when I say that counseling is very helpful in learning how to manage emotions. I can tell you from my own experience in therapy - having someone to listen, to help with understanding, to encourage, to challenge, and more – it can be life changing and healing in many ways.
Relationships help us to thrive, too. They can add a lot to our personal lives. Of course, I’m talking about healthy relationships – not unhealthy or toxic or manipulative relationships. Learning more about how to have healthy relationships is important and there are so many great resources on this topic now (including our blog!). Growing our relationships with people we can rely upon for support, and that we can in turn support and encourage – they are a gift and a blessing. Relationships are not simple, but they are important, for both introverts and extroverts. In counseling, I was able to explore with my counselor about various relationships in my life. It helped me gain perspective, especially since my therapist pointed out aspects I had never thought of before.
Further ways to thrive include making wise choices in all areas of our lives. If we don’t feel “wise” yet, we can educate ourselves about different aspects of the responsibilities of adult life. We live in a time when an incredible amount of knowledge is at our fingertips. If we want to do better with _______, we can search for information on that topic! If we have knowledgeable people, we trust in our lives we can also ask them for help.
I mentioned above that thriving is more than being successful or prosperous. In my life, my relationship with Christ has had the most impact on me to be able to feel that I’m not only “okay” but thriving. For me this means that I am growing in my relationship with Him and trusting Him to provide for me. Don’t misinterpret me – I don’t mean I will sit back and wait for Him to give me money and a place to live! I also don’t mean that I will pray hard and hold my hands out, believing the best will come to me. It’s still important for me to work hard and manage my finances (in fact, this honors God), but there is a sense of reassurance and peace that comes from trusting that God is taking care of me.
My trust in God is not something that always comes easily for me, it takes work on my part – through prayer, reading God’s Word, through remembering ways God has provided in the past, and even through the encouragement of trustworthy people who also love and trust God. There are some days when it is difficult to trust. On many others, however, there is a sense of joy and contentment that does not come from me, when it is easier to trust Him. If I didn’t have that, I could not say that I’m thriving.
The sense of contentment and joy I describe comes from the security I have in my relationship with God. It is part of what gives me a sense of security in who I am as a person, and as someone that He loves and values. I continue to seek wisdom (from God, but also from wise people, and from quality resources) about other parts of my life.
Am I thriving in singleness? I guess I’d like to think so. But only because of Who is at the center of my life. I’m also thankful for the many people over time who have taught me, particularly about my value as a person.
How are you feeling about “thriving”? Whether you’re single or not, Christian, or not, we would love to help you to grow and learn, and even find healing in your life. We can’t guarantee that you will “thrive”, but we might be able to help you along the way.
“I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16
“The Lord is my strength & my song.” Psalm 118:14