Have you ever experienced that cold shiver down your spine when you had a bad dream of losing a loved one? The sheer panic of that moment makes your heart shrink with just the thought because you can’t imagine what you’d do. Losing a loved one or a loving relationship is a massive heartbreak and brutally painful. We cry, not for the deceased but for our loss. Our heart bleeds and it hurts so bad that it seems like it’s never going to stop. You can’t think what your life will be like without them and there seems to be a huge void with no idea on how to fill it.
Just for one moment, try to imagine your life with no one in it except you. No family, no friends, no one to talk to, no one to eat with, sleep with, laugh with, cry with, or take care of. Every day, day in and day out, and for your whole life, having absolutely no one at all. Well, that’s what being ‘alone’ looks like. That is the cold, shrewd face of loneliness and what you feel in this moment is what is known as the fear of being left alone. It makes you cringe, feel weak and helpless and more often than not, it makes your mind work in ways you do not want. Negative thoughts, sad and depressing feelings engulf you – making you feel even more miserable. Believe it or not, there are millions of people out there who are living life alone, trying to get through it and if you are one of them, I’m here to say that you are not alone.
Short-term and long-term fear
The fear of being left alone can be experienced from two perspectives. There is the short-term (fear that you feel in your weakest moments) and long-term (fear that lingers for a long time, on a day-to-day regular basis). It is also possible that the anxiety triggered by a short-term fear get prolonged and evolves into a long-term fear if it goes unmanaged.
What causes the fear?
What are some major scenarios where one succumbs to these feelings? Death of a loved one or the loss of a relationship with someone close to you (maybe a break-up or something else so damaging that there’s no possibility of repair) are examples. Humans beings are social animals. Being alone is stressful, especially on special occasions like Christmas and New Year where everyone around you is enjoying their family, friends, and loved ones. Or when you are sick and in need of care but there is no one around to take care of you. The fear creates mixed emotions of loneliness, helplessness, and hopelessness that seems unending.
People at risk
Certain people are more likely than others to experience the fear of being alone. Singles, especially those in their late twenties or thirties, who have watched as most of their friends have married, had children and launched busy careers. The elderly or a senior citizen living alone or in isolation, whose children are grown and far away, and whose friends and family have pre-deceased them. But, as Stephen Hawking rightly said, “While there is life, there is hope”, and if you are willing to use a little hope, faith, and courage, you can break out of the cycle of fear and live a happier life.
The fear of being left alone, like any other fear, is a state of mind, something that’s not a reality. It’s the “what if” or the anticipation of ending up alone that is the scary part.
To help shake off this fear and mend those distorted thoughts, I have four simple yet powerful lifehacks that will not only help you overcome the fear of being left alone but also be a guide to reclaim your life and live it to the fullest.
1. Keep your mind where your body is, neither ahead of it nor behind it. This is the number one tip and a super important one before actually beginning with any groundwork or action. It will need your maximum focus and attention to do – be in the present.
Being present in the moment gives you the chance to witness the infinite beauty of life around you. It’s the kind of difference one feels watching a movie in low resolution on television and in high-definition in a movie theatre.
When you are living in the moment, you actually witness all the nitty-gritty of that moment, It’s almost as if you are witnessing this magically beautiful life in slow-motion and in real-time together, which in turn, gives you the chance to make the most of each moment and every opportunity at that moment as it presents itself in front of you.
2. Be active, energetic and enthusiastic about living your life to the fullest. Being active is not just good for health, it’s a must for living a healthy and happy life. All good things take place when you put in the hours and the effort. So push yourself to move and move often. Give your body that adrenaline rush, learn something new every day, and practice to be good at it. Put your mind and body to work and don’t be complacent. Don’t expect anyone else to be your hero. How can you become active? Well, that depends on how you want to engage your time and what fits you best. As an example: go for a jog, exercise, go to events, or pick up a hobby. Or, simply decide that you will not sit in the same place for more than thirty minutes.
3. Be kind, caring, loving, helping others and willing to ask for help when you need it– But before giving all of this to anyone else, you must start by giving it to yourself first. Be kind to yourself and love yourself, right where you are, for better or worse, in sickness and in health. Keep your cup full at all times, and when you’ve mastered that, give the same kindness, care, love and help back to the world. Start with an abundant mindset. It is scientifically proven fact that humans derive happiness by giving or being of help to someone. A beautiful by-product of kindness, care, love, and help is when you give it unconditionally, it returns back to you.
4. Always be there for yourself, be the person who will never leave you: Last but not least, always be there for yourself. Hold your own hand tightly – you are never going to leave yourself, no matter what. There will be times when you’re not at your best, but let the confident mature person inside you take control. If you need help on the way, ask for it. All you have to do is to position yourself uniquely, look out for what you want, ask for help when you need it and the universe will start working towards making your wish come true.
Remember, we are all alone but we are also all together on this journey called life. If you follow these four simple lifehacks in your everyday life, you ’ll be able to overcome the fear of being left alone and live a beautiful life that is mindful and free of fears.