It’s that time of year again… argh! You’ve been dreading it. It happens the same time every year, the unavoidable wedding season. You receive invitations galore, all taking place in the space of a few weeks, and attending them means kissing your weekends goodbye and even losing some evenings after a hard day’s work!
When I attended weddings, I found myself mingling with the people I knew. I found myself waiting around for the bride and groom to arrive while avoiding eye contact with anyone I didn’t know or like. After the food was served and I had eaten to my fill, I made a quick exit, not before congratulating the bride and groom of course. Then relief, phew! I could now go home and relax in front of the TV in my PJ’s, and get back to my normal routine… well, until the next one.
I’ve never really liked weddings. I saw it as an opportunity for guests to gossip about others’ dress sense, catch up on the latest ‘scandal’ or even critique the wedding and guess what, it’s all done within earshot of the closest friends and family… oops!
As a single person in my twenties, the ‘aunties’ wanted to know why I wasn’t married; they’d ask my parents and they didn’t care that I was standing right next to them! Awkward! If you thought that was bad, it got worse once they found out I was a divorcee. This time my parents were asked, where’s the son-in-law? These ‘aunties’ knew fully well the marriage was over, gossip on the grapevine was rife with all the gory details, and obviously, it included a huge dollop of lies and exaggerations. These aunties were on a fishing expedition, they wanted to know who did what, why, when and whose fault it was.
So how do you survive the wedding season, knowing that people will talk about you no matter what, and there’s nothing you can do about it?
Here are a few tips to help you connect with who you truly are: an amazing human being who is definitely more than their marital status! Following these steps will help you turn up to the weddings feeling empowered. So rather than surviving the wedding season, you can embrace it, enjoy it and more importantly, create great memories.
1. Learn To Love Yourself
Take time out to get to know yourself, whether that means going to the movies, shopping, spa days, or dinner dates. Do activities on your own rather than with a friend. Learning what you like and dislike becomes a journey of self-discovery. You’ll see how capable you are, where your interests lie and what you’ve got to offer in a relationship. It’s easy to feel like your achievements define you and your worth, so if you do well in something, you feel good about yourself, and if you do badly, you think you are less worthy and fill your thoughts with toxic criticism. When you learn to love yourself for your idiosyncrasies, perspective, attitude, interests, hobbies, beliefs etc., you see that you are more than your accomplishments.
2. Don’t Take Life So Seriously
It’s easy to feel worried about your life and circumstances. This worrying can become overwhelming. Unfortunately, all that worrying isn’t going to change your circumstances or undo the past as we don’t have complete control over it, all we can do is accept we are where we’re meant to be and take action on the things you can control; that means deciding what you want and taking action from there. Only then will your circumstances change.
3. Worry Less About What Others Think
People have opinions about everything, and some decide they have to tell you what they think, whether you want to hear it or not! Their opinion, however, comes from their life experiences. There’s a saying that goes ‘other people’s opinion is none of your business’. Why? Because opinions are just that – opinions, not facts. So if someone imposes their opinion on you, take it with a pinch of salt. You’ll never be able to make everyone happy, therefore focus on your own happiness.
4. Define What Success Means To You
Don’t let others define what success means to you. Consider what success means to you for each area of your life. It could be working in a profession that you absolutely love, rather than your current job which you hate. What about the taking up a hobby that you’ve always wanted to do? Perhaps create a bucket list and include things like climbing mountains, writing a book, or travelling. Work your way through it. You decide what goes on it. It’s your life, create a life that makes you happy.
5. Compare Yourself To Who You Were Yesterday
It’s easy to compare yourself to other singles; how they have it better, how they are taller, more accomplished, better looking and generally more eligible than you. Compare yourself only to the person you were yesterday and ask yourself ‘what can I do better today?’. You have no competition, no one can do you better than you. You have a unique set of attributes that no one else has, so embrace who you are.
6. You Are In Charge Of Your Happiness
Popular culture and ‘aunties’ lead you to believe that happiness will come once you get married. Happiness actually comes from within when you accept yourself with all your flaws and talents, mistakes and success, as well as the past and present. You are in control of your feelings. One way to be happy is to find a charity that inspires you and volunteer for it. Not only will it expand your group of friends, it will also give you great joy in what you do. Every time you volunteer you’ll find that you receive significantly more than the time you give up to help out.
7. Plan Your Outfit
Have an outfit ready in which you look and feel good in. Make sure you feel comfortable and it represents who you are, your style, and your uniqueness. That means not copying others’ style but taking inspiration from them. So plan your outfit in advance to avoid stressing out on the day. Most importantly it will prevent panic setting in which can lead to a confidence crisis; pre-planning will make you feel like you’re in control and help boost your confidence.
Weddings are an opportunity to have fun and meet new people. There will certainly be a few eligible singles attending. Go with no expectations of meeting someone compatible. See the wedding for what it is… a party. Celebrate and enjoy the food and drink. Make it a day to remember for all the right reasons.
How do you deal with the wedding season? Do you have any tips for singles out there? Please share your thoughts and experiences so we can all learn from each other.
Article featured on Muslim Vibe