Tuesday, March 6, 2018

How to Stay Sane While Dating: IV

Embrace happiness. Does anyone remember it is a mitzvah to be happy? We sang the songs as kids and everything. Yet many of us falsely associate importance with crabbiness, or allow whatever difficulties we have to suck away all vestiges of joy.

I watched the Israeli mini-series "Mekimi," which is about an anti-religious secular Israeli who becomes religious. SPOILER: She was unhappy and unfulfilled in her life and career, and despite her initial resistance to frumkeit, she eventually succumbs because it is a mitzvah to be happy. The end of the series shows a blissfully glowing woman who chose to embrace joy.  


I made a mistake. Previously, whilst still single, I refused to acknowledge the feelings singles can experience—that I experienced—finding them frivolous and ungrateful in a world that gave us central air conditioning. 

There a gamut of emotions when dating. Shadchanim elicit plenty (annoyance, frustration, anger, in most of my cases). Dates themselves do too (anxiety, worry, nervousness). Sometimes both can summon intense homicidal tendencies. Then there is another emotion. 

We aren't "supposed to be" single, right? We are waiting for another puzzle piece to render us complete, we are told. We feel a yearning, a desire for our other half. It's not about societal expectations. We want, for ourselves, someone special of our own. 

I am not saying that singles should put on a happy face over their angst. Negative emotions should be recognized and named. But they should not be allowed to consume us
What separates us from the animals is that we can choose not to succumb to emotion and behave badly, or lose our faith. We have values, Jewish and moral. 

I was once, um, "complimented" that I am delightfully upbeat and cheerful despite my, you know, being unmarried. I wasn't masking my pain. I had decided some time previously that yes, on the one hand, I am dealing with all the fraught emotions that come with dating, but that is not all what I feel. I also feel gratitude in my family, my comforts, my shoes, and I have my God.  

*Bless TYTT for sending me the above. 


Daniel Saunders said...

Please, what is the source for being happy all the time being a mitzvah (for non-Hasidim)? My rabbi says he's glad he isn't Breslov, specifically so he doesn't have to be happy all the time.

Princess Lea said...

I just heard a shiur today that addresses this very topic.