Why Are We So Afraid to Be Alone?
The “Dis-Ease” of Being Alone
Perhaps one of the things I’m confronted with the most in the people I work with is how lonely everyone is. People who desperately want a boyfriend or girlfriend in order to take away their loneliness. People who have a spouse/life partner/boyfriend/girlfriend and want an affair because they feel alone and separate from their partners. People who chat/Twitter/Facebook incessantly online to try and fill the void of being alone.
I’m a personal trainer in Mississauga who helps people lose weight. In my weight loss programs, which are done one-on-one (face-to-face, by phone, or via Skype), I come across this all the time: people who can’t stand the thought of being alone.
Why do we struggle so much to be with just ourselves?
We seem to treat being alone as a disease: we try to avoid it like the plague, acting as if it’s a fatal condition. Admittedly sometimes this attitude is not helped by our families who pressure us to “get married,” or to “have children” or to just “get out there and make some friends.”
Oh, and yes, I have seen people having children for the purpose of having a child to occupy their time so they don’t have to be lonely. It goes without saying that this is not a good reason to bring a child in to this world.
So, what’s the problem, with just wanting someone in my life?
Solitude Versus Loneliness
Well there’s nothing wrong with that by itself, IF we’re already happy with who we are, and if we also have good boundaries.
I think the mistake that many make, however, is that they look to others to “complete” them. Certainly the classic “love songs” from the 70s – right up until today – don’t help. Consider the lyrics from this classic Barry Manilow song:
You know I can’t smile without you, I can’t smile without you
I can’t laugh, and I can’t sing, I’m finding it hard to do anything
You see I feel sad when you’re sad, I feel glad when you’re glad
If you only knew what I’m going through, I just can’t smile without you
There’s a term for this kind of thinking: codependency, and it’s not healthy. To learn more, you can read any of Melodie Beattie’s books (I recommend “The New Codependency), and you’ll see how this kind of thinking can be very damaging. Why is that?
Basically because I need to learn to be ok with me – to love me, to be absolutely crazy about me – before I can properly relate to anyone else, ESPECIALLY a boyfriend/girlfriend, life partner or spouse.
Codependent thinking says that I can’t be a complete person without another in my life. Basically it tells me that I’m really only 50% a person, and so I need another person to make up the other 50%. This doesn’t work, because at some point that other person is going to let me down. When this happens AND my life is so enmeshed with theirs, my mood/thoughts/feelings/self-esteem will automatically be affected significantly. I can’t put myself at the mercy of someone else that way.
No, instead I need to learn to be able to live in what’s called “solitude”. This is where I can be alone, with myself, and be ok with it. Where I don’t need someone else to complete me, where being with someone else is optional, not necessary in order to feel good about myself.
When I’ve learned to be able to live in real solitude, I can be alone without being lonely. The truth is, unless I learn this, I can be in a room filled with people and still be lonely. Can you identify with that?
So yes, being alone and happy is possible. If this seems incomprehensible to you, then you need to contact me. I can help to set you on a path that leads to freedom and happiness. It’s easier than you think.
What’s the Solution?
Codependency is overcome by learning how to set appropriate boundaries with others. Generally, in a codependent relationship, each party takes on one of 3 roles with the other:
1. The Persecutor – this is the controller, the person who needs everything to go their way or they’re not happy (actually, often they’re quite angry when they don’t get what they want)
2. The Victim – this is the person who allows the Persecutor to push them around, never telling them how they feel, or insisting that the Persecutor stop; and/or
3. The Enabler – this is the person who listens repeatedly to the complaints of the Victim, and never challenges them to make changes in the relationship that’s harming them.
Do you identify with any of these? Appropriate boundaries are the answer. Yes, I’m a fitness trainer and nutrition coach in Mississauga, Ontario, but believe it or not the healthiness of a person’s relationships often greatly affects how successful they will be in gaining and/or maintaining their health and fitness.
If you’re in a dysfunctional situation, you’re much more likely to be unhealthy physically, as well as mentally and emotionally.
If you need help, please, reach out and contact me. 647-677-6025 (call or text), or firstname.lastname@example.org gets you to me. I’d be happy to discuss your situation with you, and make suggestions that might help.
I’m also a life coach, and I serve markets far beyond Mississauga. This means that if you’re struggling with codependency but not overweight, I can still help you. Give me a call and see!
Until then, remember, it is absolutely ok to be alone. Really. It is possible to find happiness without someone in your life, temporarily, and – in some cases – even permanently!