We live in an era of elaborate proposals and glamorous weddings, where public declarations of passionate love are all around us. We can’t escape them even if we tried. Our calendars are filled with invitations to bachelorette parties, weddings and baby showers. Yet, sometimes, we don’t want to participate in these joyous occasions. Maybe we’re single, or our relationship is down in the dumps. Maybe love eludes us, or is not what we expected. There are so many reasons why love brings out the bitter in us. After all, it’s a difficult, wild and unorganized emotion.

But what is it to be loved? Love, in its simplest form, is being wanted. Everything we do is aimed at making ourselves wanted. If we’re lucky, we exist because our parents wanted us, and that moment sets forth a continuum of our lives revolving around being wanted. Society is constructed around wants. We spend our lives trying to figure out how we can be more desired, more indispensable to the people around us. How can I improve someone else’s life? What services can I provide to make myself more important? Those are the thoughts going through most minds. It’s human nature after all. We’re social beings, with social needs.

Society says that the mark of a wanted person is the one who is in a relationship. The high of being wanted just for being you is a very coveted status in our society. People are defined by their relationships. To be in a relationship means to be desired, wanted, loved, to feel important. It’s the mark of a truly successful person, or so it seems. Politicians parade their spouses and kids, declaring, “Vote for me! I have a family, I’m obviously desired.” Celebrities gush over their passionate lovers and incredible relationships. The media’s needle-like focus on relationships inundates us through countless dating shows, family shows and wedding shows.

Everyday-Joe shows pictures of perfect vacations, a blissful family life and the perfect home. Everyday-Joe is our idea of perfection. Our single pals get jealous, worried about what they have done wrong that they can’t achieve that, because maybe they’re just not desirable. They often live with the idea that there must be something wrong with them because nobody wants to be with them. It must be exhausting when well-meaning friends go up to them wanting to set them up with someone; a subtle way to say, “Hey, while you’re single, there’s something wrong with you. Let us help you fix that.”

But why must a person’s relationship status define their identity? Why can we not focus on character, personality and productivity instead? There are so many other wonderful ways to identify a person. How good a friend is he? How productive is she? Does he bring a positive aura to his environment? Does she make people feel happy? Is he doing something meaningful with his life?

Whether in a relationship or single, your purpose in life is to enjoy the time you have on Earth, to build something positive, and leave a glorious legacy behind, however small it may be. You can be known as the person who was always there for his friends, or the lady who could make anyone laugh, or the teacher who seemed to have infinite knowledge to share.

We have to make ourselves feel desired by offering something to the people around us. We have to offer kindness, love, help, patience, compassion, sensitivity, logic, humour, the list goes on. The mark of a truly desired person is one who finds happiness in the people around him and also brings happiness to them. It’s not a socially constructed relationship status that defines your worth as a person. It doesn’t matter who you are with, what matters is who you are. After all, you could be in a relationship and still offer nothing to the world.

So next time you want to have a pity party on your single relationship status or you want to show off your relationship to someone else, first think about whether you truly are a loved and desired person. Will the people you surround yourself with miss your presence when you’re away? Will they think of you fondly? Will they feel lost without you? If you answer “yes” to any of the above, you know you are wanted. You have fulfilled your innate need to be wanted. So don’t focus on your relationship status, focus on your relationships, and enjoy the wild ride of life.

Read more on this topic in IMPERFECTIONS & RELATIONSHIPS: Relating to the imperfection in others to build stronger relationships»

by Insiya Jafferjee
image: Bouquet, rings and satin wedding shoes via Shutterstock