THE SCHOOL OF LIFE
It’s not hard to understand the fear of being alone:
the empty apartment after work,
the eeriness of Sunday afternoons,
the sense of exclusion during the holidays…
We know the agonies of being on our own very well.
What is far less well understood is
the enormously high price exacted on the other side of the equation.
The fear of being alone
is perhaps responsible for more unhappy relationships,
more throttling of psychological development
and more pent up misery
than almost any other:
it is by any reckoning one of the single greatest contributors to human misery
and the driver of some of our weightiest and most unfortunate decisions.
If only we were able to get the costs of what is,
for the most part, a simple misapprehension clear in our minds,
we might save ourselves a substantial portion of our lives.
We can pick out at least seven unnecessary penalties:
For a start, and most obviously,
people who are afraid of being alone
make some very wrong choices around the company they keep.
They have no option
but to privilege anyone over the appropriate one.
They don’t have the strength to be able to hold out
as one must for the 20th or 200th candidate.
The only souls
with any realistic chance of ending up with the partner they deserve are those
who have properly reconciled themselves to the prospect of never being with anyone at all.
Being with not quite the right person sounds almost bearable
but extended over time,
like a proverbial pebble in a shoe,
‘slightly wrong’ ends up indistinguishable from ‘entirely horrific’.
Every beautiful location we travel to together will be ruined,
every promising moment will be trampled upon,
every success will be compromised.
What may begin as slight fractiousness or tedium
winds up as cataclysmic irritation, self-disgust,
sexual misery, broken finances and the kind of excruciating loneliness
性痛苦 财务崩溃 极致孤独接踵而来
that ironically merely and innocently being ‘on our own’
would never have the power to generate.
Furthermore, when terrified of loneliness,
we have no strength to argue for our needs within any relationship.
One is always at the mercy of the one who fears loneliness less.
Partners develop an advanced sense of the person who has nowhere else to go.
It’s no use stamping our feet after an argument and saying ‘we’ve had enough’
争吵后跺脚说 “真是受够了” 是没用的
when in reality, everyone knows that we will never have had enough
so scared are we of having dinner on our own.
We can’t now imagine ever knowing how to change the dishwasher fluid alone,
walking into a party by ourselves
or taking the initiative to send our nephews birthday presents,
so used have we become to using the other person to compensate for our weaknesses.
We experience none of the bracing,
but also educative pressures visited upon the single,
who have no choice but to overcome their inhibitions:
those brave souls who have to learn how to garden,
go on holidays in the mountains, endure empty weekends,
call up their mother or cook a chicken
and there by achieve the resilient competence upon which true social discrimination and liberty rest.
For those who have too lightly signed away their freedoms,
there are sure to be constant, and searing, reminders of what they have foregone.
Every party and every walk down a busy street
will provide evidence of what might have been,
all those potentially fascinating or charming members of humanity
they have now forever been disbarred from getting to know
because they were so unnaturally scared of having a bed to themselves for a few more years.
It isn’t just other people we won’t get to know, it’s also ourselves.
The constant presence of companions stops us from making friends with our own minds,
and exploring our feelings and ideas in a way
that only extended stretches of solitude allow.
We use another person to distract us
whenever any slightly painful or challenging internal matter comes into view.
There ends up being so much we won’t ever really feel or understand about ourselves,
so many big questions about our careers and our ultimate purpose that we will ignore,
because there was always someone else on hand to chat to about what to order in for dinner.
Worst of all, we might not even be actively miserable after a while.
We’ll grow used to cosy mediocrity.
We won’t be curious or restless.
We won’t dare as the single must to go up to strangers
and risk our pride.
We’ll stop learning.
We’ll believe that we’ve answered our needs completely,
but only on the basis of suppressing our knowledge of what our needs really are.
To start to correct everything
that stems from this ridiculous fear of being alone,
we should from a young age learn that
that being alone never means there is something wrong with us,
just that we are being appropriately patient,
until what truly satisfies us shows up (if indeed it ever does);
we have a choice; we have not been punished.
We will never learn the true promise of community,
discover our own interests
or hold out for the connections we deserve
until we make genuine peace with the prospect of a life by ourselves.
Our online shop has a range of books and gifts
that address the most important and often neglected parts of life.
Such as finding a good enough partner
and mastering the art of confidence.
Click now to learn more.
THE SCHOOL OF LIFE