Roop Kanwar was a young Indian woman who lived in a small village in Rajasthan, India. In September 1987, her husband Maal Singh, passed away from a stomach virus. What happened next sparked international attention and outrage: she was burned alive together with her deceased husband’s body, as part of an outlawed tradition, called sati.
There are conflicting news reports about whether she voluntarily sat in the cremation pyre, or whether she was tied up and forced into it. What we do know is that there was some kind of ceremony, and none of the villagers watching helped her escape from her cruel fate. A large group of people were eventually brought to court, but no one was ever punished by law.
This disturbing tale raised several thoughts in my mind:
“How valuable is a human life?”
“Societal expectations for our relationships can really screw us over.”
“In certain places in this world, women are still horribly oppressed.”
But the question that spoke the loudest was “isn’t it sad if all you have to live for is your husband?” Does your life bring value to your relationship (with your significant other) OR is your life only valued by that relationship?
Does your relationship define your life?
Being Single Is Actually Pretty Cool
Society (that includes extra-initiative parents and over-concerned relatives) seems to portray the idea that it’s terrible to be single. That every one of us needs to quickly settle down, marry and have kids – as if some kind of imaginary holographic timer stating our biological age was hovering above our heads. At the risk of sounding like a bitter, social outcast – I think this has contributed to people falsely putting too much value in finding a life partner.
Let me justify my point. I think that finding a life partner is amazing. I just think it shouldn’t define a person’s worth. There are so many other aspects to a wonderful and fulfilled life, like: family (aside from your significant other), life work, personal development & education, passions & interests, friends, social causes, and charitable work.
Having “I want to get married” as part of your life purpose is fine – but it shouldn’t be the only one. If all your worth and validation in your life comes from being Mr. or Mrs. Someone, your world is really going to come crashing down should that not work out.
So – if you’re single and if for some reason you feel inferior to your married friends. If you feel down because you think you’re not attractive. Or if you’re unhappy because the person you’re interested in rejected you. The good news is that you don’t need someone to complete your life or make it any more meaningful.
It would be nice to have, but you can have an amazingly happy life even without him/her. As long as you don’t allow your life to be defined by just the concept of “relationship”.
Hold your head up high – and live your life out with gusto as a single person. (The ironic side effect is that this mindset/behavior is extremely attractive – so you might not actually remain single for very long.)
As for those of you who are blessed enough to have found their significant other. I need to ask you the question below:
If your relationship ended today. If things didn’t work out. If your partner left you. Or if I looked into my all-knowing crystal ball and told you – you’re never going to get married.
Would you allow your life to burn away?
Unlike the late Ms. Roop, you don’t have to.
*The original version of this article first appeared on Emmagem
Pic Credit: Wikipedia