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Exploring Relationships with the Single Weirdo

Exploring Relationships with the Single Weirdo

One of the many interesting things about being a life-long, single male in his early forties is people’s reactions to that single-ness (yep, a word). Everyone has an opinion on it. Depending on the person’s thinking, it can place me anywhere on the scale from ‘complete social outcast’, to ‘coolest bloke on earth’ and ‘luckiest man alive’. And elicit responses ranging from pity and ridicule, to envy and admiration. Or in the case of my mother, complete devastation. My darling mom sees me essentially as a means to a grandchild and to be honest, I have been a bitter disappointment. Sure, she wants me happily married, but what she really wants is that kid. And yes, she lets me know it.

I love the mentality that says “single at that age, must be something wrong with him. Weirdo.”

Yep, had plenty of that.

“He’s how old? And no woman? Must have a lot of issues.”

“Poor thing.”

Interesting psychology that. Yet, very common.

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What’s wrong with a little Enya?

It’s like they have a picture in their mind of me sitting at home every night in my underwear, in a room lit by candles, eating meatloaf flavored ice-cream from a paper plate, with my pet rat Eugene on my shoulder, my feet in one of those foot spas, a little ‘Enya’ playing in the background and some strategically placed cushions with images of my ex-girlfriends embroidered on them, lying around the room.

That’s okay right?

If I had said tuna flavored ice-cream, now that woulda been weird.

Waddya mean the cushion thing is creepy?

Oh well.

We all know that married people have no issues and that if, per chance, they do enter into their matrimonial journey with a few problems, the marriage ceremony will alleviate those instantly and forever. Great how that works isn’t it?

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What people think about me being single doesn’t bother me at all, but it does interest me. For some bizarre reason, my single-ness is fascinating to some. I personally don’t think it’s interesting at all, but you would be shocked by the number of people who want to interrogate me regarding my ‘lack of wife’ status, in an attempt to discover what’s wrong with me. “There’s gotta be something, it’s not normal” someone told me recently. I wonder if I wasn’t single, whether people would say “so Craig, why are you married?”

The marriage rule

Apparently, as a Personal Development speaker and writer I should be married. It’s a rule. People have suggested that my career would benefit from my extrication from the world of single-dom. Doesn’t really matter whether I’m happily married or not, as long as I’m married.

A woman said to me recently, “I thought someone as evolved as you, would have found your soul-mate long ago.” I actually laughed out loud at her. “Clearly, I have a way to go”, was my response. Her friend (in the same conversation) suggested that I was probably gay but didn’t know it, or want to admit it. “Oh, I’m pretty sure I’m not”, I shared. “You think you’re sure”, she said. “All the pretty girls you meet, and not one wife?” I didn’t realize ‘pretty’ was the determinant for a life partner. Missed that memo. Okay, note to self: if she’s hot, marry her. There’s my big mistake: stupidly, I’ve been looking beyond appearance. Weirdo.
Apparently, my single-ness is some kind of indicator of dysfunction. That’s it; I’m getting married this week. That’ll fix me.

Marriage issues

I would never have thought to write an article on this topic, but some people seem to be fascinated by the whole single verses married discussion and in my little world, the conversation seems regularly to be directed back towards me. Of course there is no wrong or right, only opinions, so that’s what I’m sharing. People often want to hear my thoughts on marriage because I’m single. Don’t know why. “Do you have marriage issues”, I got asked last week. No, I love the idea of marriage and maybe I will be happily married one day, but if I don’t get married, that’s cool too. What I do have a problem with is, marrying someone who I’m not desperately, hopelessly in love with; marriage for the sake of not being single – seen it a million times.

For some people it’s like…

“Yep, he/she ticks all the right boxes, definitely a candidate. Let’s see, money – check, good family – check, career – check, looks – check, marriage it is.”

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“Er, yeah but I don’t really love him/her.”

“Stop being unrealistic, you’re thirty four. Stop being so fussy, you won’t do any better.”

Ticking enough boxes

Over the years I have had many people say to me, “Hmm, you’d be a good catch… you need to meet my sister/daughter/cousin/girlfriend!” And their reason for saying that I’m a ‘catch’ is not because of my values, personality, integrity or all-round fantastic-ness (a word), it’s because they see me as being moderately successful and financially secure. A safe bet.

I find that sad.

“Yes, he ticks enough boxes; put him on the list Sally.” To me, some people seem to be more in love with the ‘idea’ of marriage than the actual person they’re marrying or are married to. I see this as a catastrophe in waiting. It’s also apparent that some people are so petrified of being single, that finding their ‘soul mate’ gets compromised down to “is he or she breathing? Wouldn’t have been my first (or tenth) choice but hey, I have limited options, so giddy up cowboy(girl), get me that ring.”

I have had literally thousands of conversations over the last three hundred years (you know I’m immortal right?) with people who are miserable in their marriage, yet amazingly, do nothing to fix it, or change the situation. For many people, marriage is something to be endured, tolerated even and of course for others, it’s the best thing that will ever happen to them.

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Okay, here are some random thoughts on the matter. Feel free to correct me or teach me a lesson – I am just a single Australian bloke…

  1. I am not against marriage in any way. Most of my friends are married and I know it can be an incredible part of the human experience. Given the opportunity with the right person, I would love to share my life with someone but, I’d rather be single forever, than married for the sake of it. And yep, I’ve been close a few times.
  2. I don’t believe that people need to be married to be fulfilled, functional, balanced or happy; those things are not dependent on marital status. You don’t need to be a researcher to discover that marriage doesn’t (automatically) equal happiness, just open your eyes. People seem to struggle with the thought of me being single and happy. They think I’m lying. It bothers them.”You’re not really happy, you only think you are… you’re just trying to convince yourself.”

    “Er, okay. I didn’t realize how miserable I am – thanks”.

  3. Some people are so terrified of being alone that they will compromise themselves to the point of actually losing their identity. “I’ll be whatever you want me to be..” You’ve seen it. Maybe you’ve been it. Misery and frustration is always the result. It’s important (for many reasons) that we learn to be comfortable and secure on our own before we launch into a life partnership.
  4. Too many people enter into marriage wearing those rose colored glasses, only to have them ripped off by about day three. They spend a year planning how to have a great wedding and zero time planning how to have a great marriage.
  5. People who have that sense of urgency to get married are less likely to find marital bliss and less likely to appeal to a potential partner. Note to all wanna-be brides and grooms: Desperation – not attractive.
  6. While I’m open to the idea of marriage, and I would love a little Craig or Craigette one day, I love my life right now and I gotta say, singledom… not as horrible as some would have you believe!!!

Okay, now that I’ve opened that can of worms, I’ll let you play with them. I’m off to finish my meatloaf ice-cream and revel in my dysfunction.

Hey, where’s Eugene gone?

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

More by this author

Craig Harper

Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life? Do You Make These 10 Common Mistakes Before Weighing Yourself? If your Childhood Sucked – It’s Time to Stop Blaming Your Parents! Exploring Relationships with the Single Weirdo Education Should be More than Academic Basics

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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