Fear of being alone...
I used to have the same fear. I felt incomplete without another person in my life. If I enjoyed a beautiful sunset or a gorgeous fall day, it was less enjoyable if I wasn't able to share it with someone I loved. My life revolved around finding a soul mate to share every significant moment with, yet I could never seem to find that person.
It seemed like such a simple thing to ask for... someone I could love with my whole heart who wasn't afraid to take all of my unconditional love and devotion and would love me unconditionally in return. Why was it so hard for me to find? My best friend at the time told me I was "trying to hard" and that I wouldn't find it until I wasn't looking for it. That made NO sense to me... how could I find something without actively looking for it? I ignored his advice.
What he meant was that I was pushing too hard... trying to make things fit when they weren't meant to. I was focusing on that other person... finding them, pleasing them, proving my love to them... instead of focusing on myself. Whenever I started a relationship, everything revolved around that other person. I was willing to give up just about every part of my life or myself in order to make things work with them. I had no center... no strong sense of self. Since I didn't know who I really was it was impossible for me to have an "essential purpose" or central goal for my own life. Instead, who I was changed depending on who I was with and what THEY wanted. Whenever I wasn't in a relationship I was lost, alone, miserable and depressed.
All of this was a function of my low self-esteem. My own desires weren't important or significant enough to me to pursue. My dreams and goals seemed like fantasy rather than real possibility because I didn't honestly believe myself capable of achieving them on my own. More specifically, I didn't feel like I deserved them unless someone else believed me worthy of love. Being in a relationship was my validation that I was a good person, that I was desirable, that my life was worth living.
I repeatedly made poor relationship choices, which is to be expected given my perspective on life. Time and time again my relationships failed... and it damaged my self-esteem even more. What was wrong with me? How could I trust myself anymore when I seemed to misjudge people over and over? The problem is that I couldn't truly KNOW someone else if I didn't know myself. I'm sure you're reading a lot about that right now in Seven Levels of Intimacy.
When another of my relationships fizzled, I was devastated and hit an all-time low. I sat at a crossroads, trying to decide what I was going to do with my life. I spent some time completely alone... went to my mom's cabin in the woods by myself, just me and my dog. I did a lot of soul searching and thought about what I wanted from life, what I wanted my life to look like... what I'd always dreamed of doing. I had been to Juneau and Ketchikan and had fallen in love with Southeast Alaska. I had promised myself at 16 years old that if I ever got a chance to live there, I would take it.
A job came open in Southeast and I applied for it and got it. You know the rest of the story. I moved to Ketchikan with my dog not knowing a single person there. I wasn't looking for a relationship, wasn't even interested in having one. I was just enjoying the freedom of pursuing my life in a new place and discovering all the new things there... giant slugs, sub-arctic rain forest, training my dog for search & rescue. That's when I met my husband.
In fact, I had about 10 different guys chasing after me when I met him. I was baffled by the fact that my best friend had been right... all of these men seemed suddenly interested in me the moment I stopped looking for love. It wasn't just that... it was my attitude and outlook on life that changed. I had learned to be happy with who I was. My self confidence increased because I had learned to RESPECT MYSELF. I wasn't trying to make every person I met fit into my mold. I wrote out my standards for what I really WANTED in a relationship and if someone didn't meet them I turned them away. For the first time in my life I was content being alone... my fear was gone and it has never come back.
I believe that the only reason for someone to fear being alone is if they don't like themselves. I know there are many reasons in your past for you to be insecure about relationships etc. etc. and I had them too. But, they are only able to control you because of your fear. If you eliminate the FEAR that gives the insecurities power over you, you will be able to control and deal with them. You need to learn to love yourself, to be happy with who you are and to stop defining who you are based on who you're with. THEN and only then will you no longer fear being alone.
Fear is the most powerful human emotion that exists. I'm sure we could all have a big debate about whether it is more powerful than love. There are times love conquers fear (rescuing a child or spouse from a burning building etc.) but there are many MANY times I have seen fear win out over love. My first love was deep, profound and intense for both me and HIM. He was an exchange student who had to go back to his own country for a year before we could start a life together. The separation hurt him so much that he ran from our love. His fear of losing "us" again overrode the once-in-a-lifetime love we shared.
It all depends on which one you allow to dominate your life. Your fear is ruling your life... and it's ruining your relationships. It comes down to the Cherokee legend I told you about the other day. I found the correct version on the internet. It's even more significant to me since I am part Cherokee myself. It didn't include "fear" but I added it in because it's true.
A Cherokee Legend
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, fear, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
You can choose which one to feed... fear or love. I hope you choose love. I hope you learn how to FEED your soul instead of starving it. I hope you learn to let your fear go and focus on your own heart's desires. If and when you need help... you know where to find me.
"Life is too short to always sit around worrying about the bad shit that could happen. It's a lot more fun to go start some shit of my own. "