How to Overcome the Fear of Being Alone
Here’s a question that will massively impact any romantic relationship you will ever be in for the rest of your life — is it truly possible to be happy alone?
We’ve all been influenced to some degree by a bombardment of romantic comedies, sitcoms, and love songs to believe that we each have one soulmate that we’re destined to find and love happily ever after.
Even if you’ve never openly thought about it or said it out loud, there’s a good chance that you would find it to be strange if your own life story wasn’t going to follow that same pattern at some point.
Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with finding a deep connection and someone to share true love with — that’s a wonderful thing for anyone who does find it. The problem is the expectation.
When we see this occurrence happen so frequently around us, it can make us feel immense pressure to follow suit, and try to force things to be different than they are in reality.
While this struggle is commonplace, if you dig deeply enough, the core reason why it happens so often is due to the widespread fear of being alone. To learn how to overcome this, here’s the story of Trixie.
Through improbable circumstances, Trixie ended up alone on a stranded island. The boat she was on sprung a leak, and went under. She was lucky enough to wash up on the shore of a tropical rainforest.
At first, she lit a signal fire, and kept it ablaze for several days — but no rescue planes flew overhead. Trixie was able to find enough fresh water sources and food growing in the jungle to sustain herself, but as the days turned into weeks and then months, she began to realize that no one was coming to rescue her. The possibility that she’d be stranded on this island, alone, for the rest of her life became more and more real.
In the beginning, Trixie had a very hard time adjusting to this new lifestyle, and held out hope that she’d be discovered and rescued. But as time passed, eventually, she was forced to accept the fact that she was all alone. Her family, her friends, her electronics, and every other modern comfort she’d ever had is now gone. Also gone with it was her chance to ever find somebody to fall in love with.
Here comes the tough question: Despite the trying circumstances, is there any way that Trixie (or anyone else for that matter) could ever be able to find a way to be happy, despite the fact that she was alone?
The answer is: yes, of course.
By being stuck alone on this island for the rest of time, Trixie had no choice but to accept her new reality, and let go of the expectation she once had about how her life was supposed to be. And through the harsh struggle of learning to let go, she was eventually able to find a deep sense of peace within. Things seemed completely different than her previous life, but amazingly, she still found lots of reasons to be happy every day.
Trixie would wake up and see a beautiful tropical island sunrise every morning. She’d walk through the palm trees and enjoy delicious coconuts for breakfast. This was followed by hiking a trail up the mountain to the waterfall, and dipping her paws in the cool water. The scenic views of nature, the trees, and the bright colored birds singing from every direction around filled her heart with joy.
She reconnected with her primal nature, and began to laugh at how silly it was that she once believed it was impossible to be happy without rigidly following some cookie-cutter life plan on the same timeline as everyone else.
Being alone became a peaceful, thoroughly enjoyable experience; and through the hardship of being stranded, Trixie learned something invaluable that she might never have learned otherwise:
That she was already whole.
She did not need a partner to live an enjoyable life, because life is always going to be as enjoyable as we make it out to be; and even if you do find a life partner, this still remains true.
In the end, years later, Trixie was able to look back upon the memory of initially being stranded fondly.
Though it was one of the most challenging experiences she’d ever faced, and she likely would not have chosen it on her own, it gave her a lens through which to view life in a unique way — which allowed her to finally understand how to be truly happy with herself.
While seeking a romantic relationship, too many will default into the unhappy, desperate and scared paradigm, in hopes that finding “the one” will make them whole and solve all of their problems for them (which is practically never the case). It leads to rushing through the dating process, overlooking important values, and choosing someone who is incompatible in many ways — leading to all sorts of problems down the road.
This life lesson can be extremely counter-intuitive to learn, but can also be life-transforming to practice: Though it may seem difficult to do, by learning to be happy alone, it unlocks your ability to have relationships that fulfill you at a much deeper level. You are then free to sincerely be yourself — to not feel rushed, insecure, jealous, or stuck in fear-based game playing — and realize you do not have to settle down unless you come across someone who is a great fit for you.
Happy couples do not become happy as a byproduct of being together. On the contrary, happy couples are made when two happy people meet and decide to be together.
If one or both of the individuals who make up a couple are unhappy going into a relationship, chances are the relationship will only serve to multiply their unhappiness over time. Finding inner peace is an inside job, and it is derived by the ways in which we choose to interpret our life circumstances.
Think of it like dinner and dessert.
Your inner sense of peace and joy is like your dinner, while having a romantic relationship is the dessert. If you find a dessert you really like after you finish your dinner, that’s great, go for it! But if you spend all of your time sampling desserts and neglecting dinner, after awhile you will start to feel very unhealthy.
Dinner is essential, dessert is optional.