“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It is not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.”-Robin William
Humans require social relationships for their physical and mental health. As a result, their most common fear is to be alone. Millennial women are more afraid of loneliness than a cancer diagnosis, according to a recent survey (46%). Married people express regularly feeling lonely (62%). You rarely see a narrative that celebrates a character who is alone by choice.
“Sixty-one percent of people feel lonely from not enough social support, too few meaningful social interactions, poor physical and mental health, and not enough balance in their lives.” according to a 2019 CIGNA survey. The portrayal of being single is full of regret and remorse and deemed unfortunate, depressing, shameful, and to pitied.
Worrying about ending up alone can help to ensure that you do end up alone – the exact outcome you do not want. When consumed by fears of being alone, your negative energy spills over into personal and professional relationships, i.e., you throw yourself into and remain in toxic relationships and work environments, pressure your partners, or become jealous of friends in long-term relationships or co-worker progression. I left all my friends and family when I relocated to Nigeria from the US. Even though married, I felt alone. I feared rejection and abandonment within this new culture because everyone I knew (except my mother) said that would be my experience. I had to reframe, reclaim, and be intentional about making new experiences and connections while also keeping the ones that mattered back home. Everyone I met said “welcome home sister.”
You can overcome fear by gaining a deep understanding of the root cause of the fear with action to change it. The below contributes to your fear:
1. Past Abandonment: The person whose love you craved most as a child abandoned you, acted distant, or were uncaring.
2. Self-Esteem: You do not like who you are, or you may have a constant need for stimulation to avoid your own thoughts and feelings tracing back to your childhood and teenage years.
3. Social Conditioning: Social norms make you believe being the most popular or finding your soulmate makes you whole. It does not. Overcoming your fear of being alone will develop who you are as a person more fully. You will bring purpose, passion, and personality to your relationships. It is not easy. However, below are ways to reframe how you feel being alone:
• Be Aware of and Understand Your Fears: It stems from your limiting beliefs based on the stories you tell yourself about who you are. You are complete, enough, and worthy Change your story!
• Embrace Loneliness and Focus on You: Be intentional about spending quality time with yourself. Pursue current and new interests and hobbies. Learn new skills. Just chill. Do what makes you happy. You decide!
• Revisit Your Life Plan: If your life plan was based on limiting beliefs or social norms, it may be a wrong life plan. Change it with new thinking!
• Let Go of the Past: Your past is not your future unless you live there. Pack your bags and move!
• Social Media is Not the Answer: Balance social media with real and authentic relationships. You must be authentic!
• Raise Your Standards: Too often, you choose unhappiness over uncertainty. Be the person you need to be to bring the right people into your life!
• Expand Your Social Circle: Nurture the relationships you have and talk to strangers to build quality friendships, activities, and mentorships for a strong social support network. Do not allow your fear of rejection contain you!
• Help Someone in Need: When you help others, it helps you. Allow others to be there for you!
• Be Grateful, Know Your Blessings, Find Your Joy: You are alive. Take be thankful and advantage of it!
• Seek Professional Help: It is ok. View seeking help as a start of your process of accepting and working on your fear of being alone!
Having a fear of being alone can severely impact or restrict your quality of life. You must become whole on your own and have your own full life. Everything else is a complement. Know that you are not alone, you are not the only one feeling this way, your feelings are valid, and there is something you can do about it. Notice and process your fear of being alone before acting on those triggers. Reframe and reclaim loneliness with intention by using it to connect you to yourself and others in a deeper, more human way.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”-Jack Canfield
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