Recently, I posted a Facebook status on my account which seemed to touch a sore spot with various people. Both those who understood my point, and those who felt that the issue I was irritated with, was justifiable. The status was this:
‘Why do some people need to justify why they are single and put on banners and fanfares about how single people are better than those in a relationship? Sure enough, there are people in relationships who are unhappy, just as there are singletons who are unhappy. This does not mean that ALL people in relationships are unhappy, or that they need the relationship to feel ‘complete’. I am in a relationship not because I need to be in one, but because I CHOOSE to be involved with someone, every day. I do not go around telling people that I am better than them because they are single, so why all these posters, statuses, bells and jingles about how much more empowered you are because you are not emotionally committed to a partner? People who are truly happy do not need to go around trying to ‘prove it’ all the time. Are you trying to convince us, or yourselves?‘
Quit a long status if I may say so myself! The fact is, I’ve been happily single, I’ve been unhappily single, I’ve been happily in a relationship and I’ve been unhappily in a relationship. However, at no point during any of these periods did I ever refer to myself (especially on an internet platform) as being better than others for being in that situation!!
Someone commented on my status saying that maybe the people who posted such things were recuperating from a difficult situation or choice and needed to encourage themselves with this kind of statement in order to feel better. WHY oh WHY cannot some people differentiate between being ‘better’ and being ‘better than everybody else’? Do you really need to feel superior in order to be happy with yourself? Is this healthy?
I understand that, in general, society can be pushy and stressful in that the main idea is for a person to find a life-partner, ‘settle and procreate’ and that therefore, people who do not follow this so-called ‘normal’ ideology may feel rejected, criticised or judged. I was there too! I remember all those snickering remarks during family get-togethers where people would ask me ‘how come I was still single’ or ‘when would I be introducing them’ to someone. Yes, they irritated me too because no one has the right to criticise or denigrate anyone else’s life choices.
Why you do not fall into certain social parameters does not matter and is, in reality, nobody’s business but your own. That is why I find it insulting when people proclaim that they are better, happier and smarter than everyone else just because they made a different life-choice.
Do you realise that you are doing exactly the same thing that they did to you? Why undermine others to make yourself feel better? How negative and unfair is that? The same thing seems to also go for those couples who opt not to have children. People just don’t seem to get it – how many patronising remarks have I heard about how I will ‘think differently’ when I’m older, or that my feelings about this issue are ‘just a phase’? WHO ARE YOU to tell me that I am not thinking clearly, that my feelings are not important and that in the end, I will eventually opt to make the same life-choices you have made, because obviously since most people have children, I should too?
Everyone is entitled to live their life as they see fit, as long as this does not hurt or is not detrimental to anyone else. So where does that leave us? Isn’t this continual pressure and criticism of anything and anyone different, not hurting us emotionally and psychologically, as well?