Better To Be Alone
by Jake Block
One thing that I think everyone should learn as early as possible is that there are worse things than being alone. Most people crave company and will endure hardships to have and hold it in their lives. I have known men and women who would live in the worst conditions with the foulest of people just to have someone to talk to. They will sell themselves cheap and enslave themselves to a loveless marriage all for the need of company. They will take on the burdens of others, be the scapegoat of the tribe and die in the futile hope that they will not have to die alone.
Psychologists tell us that the need for others is in our DNA, and part and parcel of the human experience. We are taught to revere words like friends and family, community and country. We are assured that there’s no place like home, and every man or woman needs that place to be a part of a family, immediate and extended. A group to stand against all others and a castle to defend. A place to where the prodigal son might return, and even the black sheep can feel at home. It’s a comforting prospect, if all of the planets are in alignment, and all is right with the world. But if it isn’t, then this “everyman’s heaven” can become one man’s Hell.
I contend that there are times that it is preferable to be alone. To me, the man who knows the value of being alone is not only blessed, but deserving of the sovereignty and personal satisfaction that being alone can provide. It is when man is willing and prepared to live alone unless and until his personal needs are fulfilled that he can find personal freedom, even as he is alone, even in a crowd.
To my mind, one must have personal standards that he must insist upon before he will submit to the “domestication” of community and the company of others. The things one must have to allow this domestication are a personal matter between oneself and one’s innermost vision of himself as he wishes to be and as he wishes to be recognized by those he will allow to share his world. While he might compromise on some things, there should be some iron clad principles and policies for which he will stand firm. I’ve made peace with myself over the decades, and I know that there are some things that, if denied to me, make the concept of community unacceptable. Without them, I would rather be alone, without friends, family or any type of community.
I will not be disrespected, and to that end, I stand for who and what I am, whether people approve of me or not.
I expect to be appreciated for the things that I do for and with any group that I choose to associate with, and that includes associations in business, socially and extends even to family and friends. If I donate my time and efforts for any group I feel I deserve credit for that, even if that appreciation is never openly spoken.
I don’t tolerate “fair weather friends” who pledge friendship, but turn against me when they feel it can benefit them to support someone else at my expense.
I do not allow myself to be drawn into the petty conflicts between others when it has nothing to do with me.
I don’t allow others to use me or my friendship as a wedge against others for their own purposes, or pledge my support to others in return for their support or friendship.
I expect the loyalty of truth from those who make promises to me, as I pledge mine to them. I don’t make promises I don’t intend to keep and expect the same in return.
I don’t surrender my philosophical beliefs in favor of those championed by others as a condition of acceptance for association.
Your list may vary, as well it should, because you and I are different people with different needs that we find necessary to satisfy before we can feel comfortable in associating with others. As long as the others to whom we pledge our association accept and abide by our list of needs, and we abide by theirs, we can establish and share our gifts and talents for the betterment of our lives. So long as our union is one of mutual support and respect, things can be very good between us. If there comes a time when we reject our covenant, all bets are off and we can go our separate ways, because without a meeting of the minds, it’s better to be alone.