I’ve come to an interesting discovery at this moment in my life; being afraid of being alone is much like fearing the dark. They both hold a certain ominous uncertainty that depending on our age or maturity level can get the best of us. If we concentrate on the unknown possibilities too long, we will panic and react.
Sometimes, we make life changing decisions based on the fear of being alone. We say “yes” when we should say “no”. The idea of being by ourselves seems terrifying, which leads us to say yes with a maybe heart. Yes, you can call me. Yes, I’ll go out with you again. Yes, I…like you. Yes, we can get together. Yes, I’ll join the committee. There can be an endless cycle of yes’s that keep us from our true self and honest desires, but make us feel temporarily accepted and wanted.
The problem is that most of us were never taught that not going to the party or not having a date can be a good thing. As children it was considered unhealthy not to be a part of the group on a constant basis. Sometimes we were verbally rewarded because of how many friends we had. We wore being a part of the crowd as a badge of honor. Nurturing a sense of self was not heard of in my generation, as much as it can be discussed now. Independent thinking was not at all encouraged, unless it was posed as the question: “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?” We were only expected to think for ourselves when it came to avoiding bad behavior, not when it came to being self entertained or introverted, independent thinkers.
Such introspection has led me to a refreshing discovery over this past year. I have found being alone, whether I am at the movies, a restaurant or shopping, is exactly what I need in my life at this time. I’ve spent too much of my life trying to replace relationships that I’ve lost in my younger years due to either death or separation, with people that could never fill those places. I have searched for family members in friends wanting to create what I’ve missed out on for so long. That sense of neediness has cost me dearly. Because when we’re looking for fulfillment in other human beings, we don’t see clearly that the people that we are choosing to spend time with, may not be the best or healthiest choice for us. We end up trusting the wrong people and sharing a part of ourselves with someone who does not merit that privilege.
I finally came to a place where I no longer needed individual or group validation. What I needed was a respite from wanting to always be part of the crowd, women’s group, coffee time etc… I needed time to hear my own thoughts, pray my own prayers and be content with me. I’m not saying that I will never again have a ‘girl’s night out’ or a road trip with friends, but what I am saying is that I can plan my life and my fun with or without those possibilities. There will probably always be that part of me that prefers my own silence over the voice of others... most days.
Don't get me wrong, I love good company and I've had some great friendship experiences through the years. I like laughing and exchanging thoughtful ideas. I love the concept of being in a close knit community of diverse people from all walks of life and maybe one day that will happen for me again on a deeper level. If it does, I will treat it as a gift and have all the more to offer because of the journey that I was willing to take alone to discover the beauty of being me…