There’s this pervasive fear in our culture of being alone. There’s even a name for it — monophobia. But even to a smaller degree, this fear drives so many of us to stay in bad relationships. And it’s easy to see why.
Some of us know solitude intimately. I’m looking at you my fellow introverts. We relish the beautiful silence of an empty home after a long day at the office. And yet, that same home may feel like a hollow fortress on a holiday without loved ones. Or we may have spent a birthday alone we were so looking forward to celebrating with friends. But instead of a chorus of voices, and a room filled with group merriment, we found ourselves lighting a candle for one on a vanilla-frosted pile of deliciousness.
There may be even graver circumstances like getting cancer and other serious illnesses where we find ourselves alone. In fact, there have been many studies addressing this particular predicament. And the research points to a grim reality — a woman with cancer or other serious illness is six times more likely to be separated or divorced soon after receiving her diagnosis than a male patient. And as you may imagine this particular topic has sparked global debate and conversation most notably on Twitter. But foregoing the gender issue for a second, the very clear reality is that at one point or another we are faced with our own human condition and the truth which simply put is:
“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.” — Orson Welles
But this isn’t about being alone, really. It’s the fear of it, right? And because we’re made to be interdependent it absolutely makes sense that solitude can seem completely antithetical to our very DNA. But what’s underneath this fear? I think it’s a fear of impermanence. We want so much for things to stay the same. To hold onto people, places, and things because we’re terrified of this never ending universal force of change. We work ceaselessly to deny impermanence and in doing so we…