When I became widowed and a single mom at 31, no one else in my peer group was widowed around me. I was an outlier. I later realized I had my own path to follow. I couldn’t look at “Jane” down the street and wish I had the support and natural career progression she had. I had to make do and get creative about not letting my personal circumstances get in the way of achieving my goals.
It’s very easy to get distracted by things either in our side or rear view mirrors, and lose sight of where we’re headed, whether working or parenting young children. While your eyes are conveniently positioned in the front of your face, it doesn’t stop you from being distracted from your goals when you begin comparing yourself with those around you.
These are 4 Reasons Why Widows & Single Moms Need to Embrace their own Path:
1. It Prevents Negative Self-talk
Not embracing your own path in life leads to negative self-talk: “She’ s my age and already vice president at her company”, or “She’s already married with a house and two children and I don’t even have a significant other.” So what? Maybe your life is taking a different path. After all, even if we start at out the same point in life (with the husband and the picket fence), things don’t always turn out the way we think they should. So, put on your metaphorical blinders and live your life for you, and you won’t be tempted to relinquish your own goals and stray from the path that is uniquely yours!
2. It Allows You To Focus On Setting Long-term Goals For Yourself
When we don’t embrace our unique path we are so caught up with “the Joneses” that we forget our own dreams and goals. If society embraces certain determinants of “success” we succumb to these rules by comparing our salaries, job titles, you name it with our peers and it usually sets us up for disappointment. Setting meaningful, achievable long-term goals that are uniquely yours – and not bound by societal norms – is key to embracing your unique path.
3. It Prevents You From Using “Artificial Substitutes” to Fill that Empty Spot In Your Life
Living in denial and not embracing your own path can feel like there is a big gaping hole that needs filling. This usually leads to overspending on things we don’t need or even really want – or even overeating/drinking. Short-term fixes such as shopping too much (overspending), overeating or drinking can have negative consequences.
Is an extra appetizer and dessert a reward for your week of hard work? Do you waive your usual selectivity and order anything you want regardless of its unhealthfulness? Uh Oh…shouldn’t there be a way to celebrate that’s more meaningful and less injurious to your health? While most of us need these splurges—both food and drink—occasionally, when it becomes a little too frequent, you are sabotaging yourself.
4. You Buy Into The Habit Of Living With Labels That No Longer Describe You
I remember becoming suddenly single after widowhood, and feeling like I had to retain my old identity to still fit in with a certain crowd. I was now a single mom among my married friends – and I had to embrace that. Your friends should also be sensitive enough to know when to discuss certain issues. Not embracing your own unique path can lead to living in the past and not embracing the future.