I have been asked by more women than I can remember “Why are you still single?” I would usually make a joke of their query and we would go on with our date unencumbered. Because who honestly has a good answer to that question? I never did.
I suppose I could have answered her question by listing of my perceived flaws. But for most of my life, I was trapped in the prison of my ego and I did not even realize I had any flaws. And if I could not even acknowledge my flaws to myself, what chance was there ever going to be of me admitting my flaws to her? None. That was not going to happen. After all, I (often) wanted to sleep with this girl, the last thing I wanted was her focusing on my flaws. (That being said I could see all of her “flaws” very clearly). But I digress.
“Why was I still single?” Over the years, I answered this question to myself many, many, many different ways. I thought I still single because I was not successful enough, not rich enough, not tall enough, not in good enough shape, not smart enough, not funny enough, not driven enough, not passionate enough, and just not enough of so many different things I thought I needed to be for me to get the type of girl I wanted.
So what did I do? I endeavored to fix my many, many self-perceived flaws. And while I made progress in many of these areas, I was still very much single. And why was that? After I came to realize that ‘my flaws’ were just superficial aberrations conjured up by my ego, I began taking a deeper look at myself.
And it was not until recently that I realized that the reason I remained single for so long was because of my fear of commitment. Now it is ironic for me speak of a fear of commitment, because for the longest time, all I desperately wanted more than anything else in the world was to fall in love and get married. And what is marriage if not a commitment? (yes, I know divorce has become quite prevalent, but that was not part of my life plan).
No freedom is ever found in a choice that is never made. – HaRu
Consciously, I sought the love of having a committed relationship, but subconsciously I sought the freedom of having choices and I feared commitment (thus losing the ability to choose). What I did not realize was that my desire to maintain my “freedom to choose” was actually preventing me from actually ever making a choice, and that my fear of commitment was preventing me from experiencing the very freedom of choice that I sought. Because what freedom can be found in a choice that is never made? None.
Let me explain.
America was built on the ideals of protecting individual freedoms. And what freedom is more basic than the freedom of choice? I cannot think of any. And so in my mind, freedom meant choice, it meant having and maintaining the freedom to choose.
What I did not realize is that choice, when dwelled upon for too long a period of a time, quickly manifests itself into the inability to choose which is the antithesis of freedom. Choice is no longer freedom when you feel unable to choose for fear of losing the freedom of choice.
Freedom is not just you having choices, freedom also requires you having the ability and willingness to actually make a decision and choose amongst your options… without fear of losing the freedom to choose in making an actual choice.
There is no freedom in choice because a man who knows what he wants and who believes himself capable of getting it does not have a choice to make, he simply acts to get what he wants.
Only a man who believes himself incapable of getting what he truly wants must ever choose between the options he believes his life has presented to him. Neither option is what he truly wants, and so he ponders and weighs the benefits of one choice versus the other. And only after careful, conscious, and necessarily incomplete deliberation (incomplete because no man, no matter how trivial the choice, can ever consciously weigh every possible contingency) does he wait until the very last minute and finally choose. And only AFTER he chooses does he finally experience the freedom of having had a choice in the first place; but he only experiences this freedom AFTER the choice has been made.
Where then is the freedom? Is the freedom in having the choice? Or is the freedom in actually making the choice?
The fear of commitment is nothing when compared to the pains of indecision. – HaRu
The answer is neither. Choice is never freedom. Freedom is in believing in yourself so fully that there is no choice to be made, nothing to deliberate about. Freedom is in doing, not thinking about doing.
So how does this apply to my being single? Because I no longer see me remaining single as me maintaining any type of freedom of choice.
There is no freedom in having the ability to choose amongst many different women. Because choice in any form, much less incessant or persistent choice is nothing but indecision or an inability to make a choice – which is itself a greater violation of freedom than any commitment could ever be.
And that is how I overcame my fear of commitment.