Fear Series: How to Overcome Your Fear of Loneliness

From Fear to Freedom
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Do you feel overwhelmingly needy at times? Do you sometimes feel you’ve been rejected by just about everyone and fear you’ll be alone for the rest of your life? Do you make long-term decisions based on getting acceptance from others? Is social media standing in for real human connections in your life? If so, a fear of loneliness could be negatively impacting your life.

Or maybe you just feel an existential loneliness you can’t shake? Even though you’re surrounded by friends and loved ones, you still feel, well, lonely. For me, loneliness felt like, “Sure, they say they love me, but will they really be there for me?”

If you’ve experienced loneliness, you’re not alone. Loneliness is a part of being human. In fact, 25% of people experience painful loneliness at least every two weeks, and that percentage is even higher for teens and adolescents.

But as painful as loneliness can feel, there’s actually a gift that loneliness gives us. You heard that right. It's a huge gift to feel lonely.

Single woman sitting on a swing contemplating sunset

A few years ago, I went through a major period of loneliness. And I am someone who likes being alone! But even though I have learned to enjoy solitude, it doesn’t mean I don’t ever feel lonely.

I was able to learn so much about myself when I went through this major period of loneliness. Instead of letting the loneliness spiral me out of control, like I would have years ago, I was able to harness that time for incredibly powerful growth.

And that’s what I want for you too. Because if you go the other way and turn that loneliness toward yourself, it can destroy you.

So go ahead and ask yourself: Do you want your fear of being alone to run your life? OR do you want to turn that loneliness into a powerful embrace of solitude and an opportunity for phenomenal growth?

If your answer is the latter, today, I’ll break down the symptoms of a fear of loneliness, what causes this fear, and what you can do to manage and utilize a fear of being alone.

A Fearless Living Introduction: Overcoming Fear

What does it mean to be afraid? What do you fear most? At first, what comes to mind might be something like snakes, the dark, or heights. But those aren’t the types of fears we focus on at Fearless Living.

At Fearless Living, we focus on emotional fears. The fears that cut deep into our lives and hold us back from living up to our true potential. These emotional fears cause us to make poor decisions, consciously or unconsciously, that drive us further and further away from our goals, dreams, desires, and living the life our soul intended.™

The 10 most common emotional fears are:

I’m working through all of the most common fears here in the Fearless Living blog, and you can learn even more from my courses inside Fearless You. For a general overview of each type of fear and the difference between common phobias and emotional fears, read: 10 Common Types of Fear and How to Overcome Them.

Do You Have a Fear of Loneliness?

We know that everyone experiences loneliness, but are you afraid of it? Is loneliness a fear that’s running your life, clouding your judgment, and holding you back? What do you do when you feel lonely?

Do you lean into those times of solitude, or do you run from them, become self-destructive, or do everything you can to escape that loneliness, even if it’s just a superficial fix?

Let’s see if you relate to any of the following:

  • Do you use social media as a substitute for connection?
  • Are you in toxic relationships with dishonest, untrustworthy people?
  • In order to avoid being alone, do you accept emotional or physical abuse?
  • Do you excuse the inappropriate behavior of others to keep yourself from being alone?
  • Do you get involved with unsuitable partners whose values do not align with your own?
  • Do you experience overwhelming feelings of isolation and emptiness?
  • Do you make long-term decisions that are based on getting acceptance or approval from others?
  • Do you experience panic or anxiety attacks when you feel alone?
  • Do you feel extremely needy around others?
  • Do you feel like society has rejected you?
  • Do you agree to do something that’s against who you are just to stay connected?
  • Do you find yourself bitter, jealous, or resentful (especially when looking at others on social media)?
  • Do you feel disconnected, alienated, or cut off from others even when you’re in the room with them?

How many of the previous symptoms do you experience on a regular basis?

Often, our “cure” for feeling this way—doing anything you can so you’re not alone—only makes the situation worse. The more you’re on Facebook to find connections, the more lonely you will feel. The more we use social media as our main form of connection, the more our self-esteem plummets. The more we do anything anyone wants to avoid being alone, the more we feel embarrassed and ashamed.

Here’s the truth: Everyone gets lonely. It’s a fact of life. But a fear of loneliness can really begin to obstruct our lives when we make decisions based on that loneliness. I’m talking about getting involved in relationships with people who don’t share your values and probably don’t treat you very well just to keep from being alone. Or choosing a college all of your friends are going to, even if it’s not the right fit for you. Or staying in a job you hate because at least you know your colleagues there.

A fear of loneliness can mean attaching yourself to people when you're feeling needy and desperate, then getting caught up in making choices based on the other person's needs and wants and not considering your own. In other words, you make yourself invisible. At its extreme, it may feel like you literally can't live without other people. Think of parents still living with a 40-year-old child or spouses who can't go anywhere without each other.

What Happens When You Experience Loneliness?

Let’s first talk about loneliness as a phobia. If you hear scientists talk about loneliness, you might hear terms like autophobia or monophobia.

So, what is the difference between autophobia and monophobia? Well, there’s not actually any difference! Autophobia and monophobia both refer to an irrational and persistent fear of being alone. This is a serious condition that ranges in severity, from being uncomfortable being alone to experiencing panic attacks at the thought of being or ending up alone. Severe anxiety disorders can be overwhelming and can drastically hinder your mental wellbeing.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you experience this extreme anxiety on a regular basis and it results in mental health conditions or physical symptoms like chest palpitations, dizziness, and nausea, you should seek the help of a mental health professional. Borderline personality disorder or related mental illnesses can do a lot of harm to a person's life if left undiagnosed and untreated. 

At Fearless Living, we define loneliness as an emotional state when you experience a powerful feeling of emptiness and isolation. It’s much more than wanting company or wanting to be around other people.

This fear of being alone can be a top reason for staying in romantic relationships, even if it’s a very unhealthy one. So many of my clients have had to get over their fear of being alone in order to find the right relationship for them.

Many of us stay in a bad relationship out of a fear of being alone, which means we're not available for the right one when they do come along. So we justify, make things okay, or say the relationship we're in is good enough for now, but we know, deep down, that's a lie.

So, here's the cold, hard truth. If you're in a relationship to avoid feeling alone or lonely—and I bet you already know this—you will still feel lonely inside. The "something is better than nothing" attitude is a very lonely place to be, and it also heaps a lot of shame and disappointment on yourself for not having the courage to leave and make better choices.

When you "settle" for someone you don't have much in common with or overlook someone's bad behavior out of fear of being alone, you never truly heal. You never grow. You miss out on finding that special someone because you're busy sticking with a lackluster or damaging relationship.

Imagine a train station. If a rusting, dilapidated train is already parked in your station, that bright, shiny, healthy train will have to choo-choo right by because your train station is already full.

Even though so many of us spend our whole lives running from being alone, it is necessary to embrace if you want to become authentically you. You’re stifling your growth if you don't spend time alone.

For some being in solitude is their greatest fear, but that is where the gift lies. The good news is that a fear of loneliness is curable, and it’s something you can move beyond so long as you have a willingness and a desire to commit to yourself. Let’s find out how.

How Do I Get Over My Fear of Being Alone?

Choose to Heal

You must decide to heal. No one else can do this for you. Making this decision requires courage and fortitude, and it’s the first step toward overcoming your fears.

You might have been able to put this off for a very long time because you've surrounded yourself with people. You might have a loving spouse and family, but you already know that doesn’t mean you aren’t battling a fear of loneliness.

Before you can begin your journey, the first thing you must do is choose to be willing. Willing to try. Willing to face your fear. Willing to say yes to becoming wholly you.

You must make the decision to be willing to get comfortable in your own skin. You must make the decision to get comfortable learning and growing while in solitude. You must make the decision to show up for yourself every day, especially when it’s hard. And I guarantee it will get tough.

Willingness is the first step and an ongoing theme at Fearless Living.

Pay Attention to Moments of Loneliness

Pay attention to the time in which you feel lonely. When do those feelings pop up for you? When do you feel most alone?

Watch for this when you're with people and without people since loneliness can occur when you are surrounded by others.

What is it you want from the person before you? What is the reason for your feelings of loneliness? What triggered your fear?

Remember—I want you to always have the power of choice. I want you to have the opportunity to decide for yourself. If you refuse to be alone and always have to be with people, your options become limited. I want you to grow to be able to be with people or be alone based on what works for you, not what your fear decides for you.

I want you to be in charge of your life. Don’t make decisions based on avoiding your fear of being alone.

Now, before I go further, does this mean I want you to separate from those you love? Of course not. I have clients who are joined at the hip with the love of their life. But, and it’s a big but, they don’t feel like they can’t breathe if they are separated from their mate. Sure, they love to be with the one they love, but they don’t have to be. They can choose to be together or decide to do something alone. That’s healthy togetherness.

So, start to make note of any time your fear of loneliness takes away your choice—every time fear tells you to find somebody, anybody, to do something with so you’re not alone. Practice asking yourself: What excuses do you make to connect with another? What triggers that desperate feeling? Noticing when you feel a sense of loneliness coming on will give you some space to make another choice, instead of automatically reacting from fear.

As a single person, you may notice that there are times you feel alone when you’re surrounded by couples. That’s normal, especially if your desire is to find a mate—a sexual and loving partner; a partner who has your back, no matter what. Of course, feeling whole and complete before you mate will make you a healthier partner.

Be sure to take the time to deeply consider what you need in a relationship. Do you understand what you’re looking for in a partner? Are you getting involved socially and going to places where you could meet a healthy someone? Are you even available to find love, or are you stuck in a toxic relationship to keep yourself from being alone? Remember the train station.

Continue to pay attention to when you feel lonely and what might trigger that loneliness. These moments are key in helping you understand what your needs are and how to overcome your fear of being alone. And if you’re looking for love, it will help you become a more healthy you, so you can find a love that aligns with who you really are.

Name Your Unmet Needs

Stop and ask yourself: What needs of mine are not being fulfilled?

We all have needs. The need to feel safe, connected, and seen. The need to be touched, understood, and supported. The need to feel loved, satisfied, and creative. According to Abraham Maslow, we have physiological needs, safety needs, love needs, esteem needs, and a need to self-actualize.

Yet, in our society, needs are rarely discussed or addressed. For so many of us, our own needs are something we rarely consider. This is because, if you're like me, we grew up surrounded by people who didn't prioritize their own needs. Our parents and role models, mine included, believed that sacrificing their needs was how to be a good person, and now I understand that couldn't be further from the truth.

In order to be your best, fearless self and be able to be present for other people, your own needs must be met.

I used to believe that it was other people’s responsibility to ensure my needs were met. I’d get deep into a relationship with someone and think, or even say, “If I feel needy, it must mean you don’t love me.”

I still remember the time a man I was dating begged me, “What do you need?” I didn’t have a clue.

I thought the other person should know what I needed. But in reality, I wasn’t willing to take responsibility for my own needs because I had no idea what they were. I never took the time to understand what the word “need” actually meant because it felt so selfish to think about my needs and what I wanted. Boy, how wrong I was.

You and I have a right to have our needs met. But what I know now is that’s not going to magically happen. Identifying and honoring your needs is an important step in claiming your sovereignty. And that is critical to knowing you’re safe to be alone.

By the way, no one can do this for you—not your friends or family or lovers.

Taking the time to understand what your needs are and figuring out how to get them met will empower you to see yourself as someone who cares for themselves. And once you start caring about you and see yourself as valuable and worthy, being alone won’t feel so lonely.

Instead of being stuck in a fear-driven relationship, you will decide to prioritize your needs, whatever they may be. Once you take responsibility for your own needs, and only you can do that, the power dynamic changes in your relationships, giving you equal footing, which means you never have to feel less than again.

Not sure what your needs are? Well, that’s normal, but you can change that. Continue to note any time you are triggered. What absolutely gets under your skin? What sends you spiraling? Chances are, in those moments, one of your needs is not being met.

Research says connection and belonging are the most important needs we have as humans. Do you feel like you belong? Do you have a tribe that makes you feel connected?

Start by identifying and naming your needs. The simple act of naming your unmet needs ensures you are awake and aware of what’s going on inside of you. It’s a critical aspect of feeling safe to love yourself more than you need to be loved by anyone else.

By the way, you and I are ultimately responsible for getting our needs met, but, and here’s the trick, we can’t meet ALL our needs by ourselves. We need each other, but keeping our relationships healthy is vital to feeling respected, capable, and loved, whether we’re in a group, being a couple, or alone.

Want to learn more? Read my guide on How To Love Yourself: 7 Self-Love Tips You’ll Love.

Spend Time Alone With Yourself

What is keeping you from believing you can make it on your own? What is stopping you from claiming your sovereignty? Who told you that being alone means no one wants you? Who said that feeling lonely was to be avoided at all costs?

If you’re like me, you can’t name all the people and situations in your life that added up to believing that being alone meant there was something wrong with you. Loneliness was a curse and proved you were ugly, stupid, or a loser.

I was taught having a man love me was paramount to happiness. I was boy-crazy from the age of four, and I’m not kidding. I was that little girl who would die without love.

I could go on about why I think I felt that way but answering that question never helped me feel okay with being alone, and, in turn, find solace in solitude.

By the way, there’s a big difference between solitude and being alone. It’s okay to be alone. Let’s say that one more time. It’s OKAY to be alone.

In fact, it’s more than just okay—it’s necessary.

Spending time alone is so, so, so important to your wellbeing. Being alone is the only time you can truly reflect and gain awareness because it’s how you learn more about yourself.

Being alone does not have to equate to loneliness. When fully utilized, being alone becomes solitude. It’s a chance to go within, to discover how you work, what you yearn for, and who you are. It’s a chance to become comfortable in your effort to be authentic in the midst of aloneness.

Maybe the idea of spending time by yourself is a lot for you right now. Be sure to take a deep breath. Anchor that breath to your being and feel the breath move through your body. When you do that, I bet you don’t feel lonely even if you’re alone, right?

Because you are in touch with yourself, grounded in your body, anchored to the earth by your breath, reminding you that at the heart of it, you are never alone. If you believe in God, or the Source, or Universal Light, (I don’t care what you call it), you already know this to be true. But that belief may not be soothing you enough to break free from your fear of loneliness.

I invite you to recommit to connecting with whatever higher power you believe in. God is a balm on our deepest fears, reminding us we are enough, we are loved, and we are safe.

Too many of us do everything we can to avoid being alone because we’re scared of what we may find. We keep ourselves surrounded by people, even if those people bring us down, because we don’t want, under any circumstances, to be left alone with ourselves. It may even feel dangerous.

Because what happens when we’re alone with ourselves? We have to answer the tough questions we may not want to face. We are no longer distracted by others, so we hear the voices in our head, the yearnings in our heart, the desires in our body. We cannot avoid ourselves any more.

For many of us, that’s frightening. Yet, I have good news.

Being willing to sit with those voices, whether it’s through mindfulness meditation or journaling, allows those voices to have their say—they are no longer repressed, angry, or ignored. They are set free to express what has been hidden, but in a healthy way.

When we are willing to be with ourselves, we quit being afraid of what we’ll find because we find our heart, our light, our soul.

We connect with the deepest part of ourselves. This allows us to begin to love ourselves exactly as we are, and even decide to enjoy our own company.

Now, maybe you’re thinking, “Rhonda, I do spend a lot of time alone. I’m alone in my car on the way to work. I’m alone in the shower. I’m alone as I cook dinner. I’m alone when I’m washing the dishes and doing laundry.”

Sure, that may, in theory, be true. But let’s check in. Are you alone being present with you? Or are you alone thinking of anything else but yourself?

Because it matters how you’re spending that time. When you’re alone, do you do anything you can to fill the space so that you’re not alone with your own thoughts? Do you keep busy jumping from one task to the next? Do you play music or podcasts to distract yourself?

When are you truly alone, spending time with your own thoughts? When do you take the time to turn off the distractions and stimulation to get to know who you really are, what your fears are, what your needs are, what your dreams are, and more?

Self-reflection is a key part of growth, and it’s critical to your Fearless Living journey.

It may be scary, but spending time alone is important. Start small if the idea makes you uncomfortable. Practice being alone with yourself for five minutes. And then for ten minutes, and continue adding to that until you grow to be comfortable in that solitude.

Because within that solitude is where the gift resides. It’s how you learn from yourself. It’s how you forgive and grow and learn what your needs are. It’s how you make progress on all of those fears that are holding you back—not just a fear of loneliness, but your fear of failure, change, not being good enough, etc.

Make an Effort to Connect With Like-Minded People

True connection and true belonging comes from spending time and building relationships with like-minded people. Because, as I’ve discussed throughout this article, you can still feel completely alone if you aren’t surrounded by kindred spirits. The people you want to have around you are those who support you, understand your boundaries, and build you up instead of pull you down.

Connecting with like-minded people is how you make real connections that aren’t based in fear—that desperate NEED to be surrounded by people.

Stop reaching out to people who are toxic or unhealthy to your growth. It only leads to disappointment and even more loneliness.

How can you do this? First, identify the toxic people in your life. Who are you around when you become triggered by a situation or something someone says? Which people make you feel alone even when you’re spending time with them? Which people continually bring you down? Which people have trouble accepting your clear boundaries? How do you feel after leaving a social situation—did the people you spent time with make you feel good or bad afterward?

On the other hand, which people in your life share common values with you? Who supports you and lifts you up? Who cares about needs and boundaries, both their own and yours?

Make an effort to spend more time with the positive influences in your life. As you assess your relationships, you may realize that too many of them are actually toxic. This is when the gritty, honest work begins.

Admit that you’ve spent so long letting your fears lead you that you’ve attracted all the wrong people, or that you’ve desperately kept them around just to ensure you didn’t have to feel alone. But as we’ve now learned, that’s just another type of loneliness.

So, it’s time to get back out there. It’s time to put in the work to build new, strong, positive relationships that make you feel a sense of belonging. Revisit your values. What values are important to you? What are some places where you could find people who share the same values and interests as your own?

If spirituality is important to you, spend more time getting involved in your local church or fundraising events. If nature and sustainability are important to you, join a community garden, spend time on a farm, or start going on community hikes in your neighborhood. Plus, there’s always the Fearless Living community, which is filled with like-minded individuals just like you who want to live fearlessly and continue on a path of healing, growth, and self-development.

Cracking Your Fear of Loneliness With Fearless Living

Fear is driving you to stay in isolation, but safety will never get you to freedom or fearlessness. Managing your fear of loneliness is only one of the journeys you can take with the community at Fearless Living. I have in-depth courses available inside Fearless You for all 10 of the most common emotional fears, including Fear of Failure, Fear of Not Being Good Enough, Fear of Change, and Fear of Success.

The How to Overcome Fear Series is available to all Fearless You members, and when you become a member, you get access to dozens of other courses, lessons, and live sessions, all designed to help you live the life your soul intended.™
Continue following the Fearless Living blog for free weekly content on everything from how to start living your dream life to how to find and follow your soul purpose.

From Fear to Freedom
From Fear to Freedom GUIDE topaz enhance sharpen hiresDOWNLOAD GUIDE

Do you feel overwhelmingly needy at times? Do you sometimes feel you’ve been rejected by just about everyone and fear you’ll be alone for the rest of your life? Do you make long-term decisions based on getting acceptance from others? Is social media standing in for real human connections in your life? If so, a fear of loneliness could be negatively impacting your life.

Or maybe you just feel an existential loneliness you can’t shake? Even though you’re surrounded by friends and loved ones, you still feel, well, lonely. For me, loneliness felt like, “Sure, they say they love me, but will they really be there for me?”

If you’ve experienced loneliness, you’re not alone. Loneliness is a part of being human. In fact, 25% of people experience painful loneliness at least every two weeks, and that percentage is even higher for teens and adolescents.

But as painful as loneliness can feel, there’s actually a gift that loneliness gives us. You heard that right. It's a huge gift to feel lonely.

Single woman sitting on a swing contemplating sunset

A few years ago, I went through a major period of loneliness. And I am someone who likes being alone! But even though I have learned to enjoy solitude, it doesn’t mean I don’t ever feel lonely.

I was able to learn so much about myself when I went through this major period of loneliness. Instead of letting the loneliness spiral me out of control, like I would have years ago, I was able to harness that time for incredibly powerful growth.

And that’s what I want for you too. Because if you go the other way and turn that loneliness toward yourself, it can destroy you.

So go ahead and ask yourself: Do you want your fear of being alone to run your life? OR do you want to turn that loneliness into a powerful embrace of solitude and an opportunity for phenomenal growth?

If your answer is the latter, today, I’ll break down the symptoms of a fear of loneliness, what causes this fear, and what you can do to manage and utilize a fear of being alone.

A Fearless Living Introduction: Overcoming Fear

What does it mean to be afraid? What do you fear most? At first, what comes to mind might be something like snakes, the dark, or heights. But those aren’t the types of fears we focus on at Fearless Living.

At Fearless Living, we focus on emotional fears. The fears that cut deep into our lives and hold us back from living up to our true potential. These emotional fears cause us to make poor decisions, consciously or unconsciously, that drive us further and further away from our goals, dreams, desires, and living the life our soul intended.™

The 10 most common emotional fears are:

I’m working through all of the most common fears here in the Fearless Living blog, and you can learn even more from my courses inside Fearless You. For a general overview of each type of fear and the difference between common phobias and emotional fears, read: 10 Common Types of Fear and How to Overcome Them.

Do You Have a Fear of Loneliness?

We know that everyone experiences loneliness, but are you afraid of it? Is loneliness a fear that’s running your life, clouding your judgment, and holding you back? What do you do when you feel lonely?

Do you lean into those times of solitude, or do you run from them, become self-destructive, or do everything you can to escape that loneliness, even if it’s just a superficial fix?

Let’s see if you relate to any of the following:

  • Do you use social media as a substitute for connection?
  • Are you in toxic relationships with dishonest, untrustworthy people?
  • In order to avoid being alone, do you accept emotional or physical abuse?
  • Do you excuse the inappropriate behavior of others to keep yourself from being alone?
  • Do you get involved with unsuitable partners whose values do not align with your own?
  • Do you experience overwhelming feelings of isolation and emptiness?
  • Do you make long-term decisions that are based on getting acceptance or approval from others?
  • Do you experience panic or anxiety attacks when you feel alone?
  • Do you feel extremely needy around others?
  • Do you feel like society has rejected you?
  • Do you agree to do something that’s against who you are just to stay connected?
  • Do you find yourself bitter, jealous, or resentful (especially when looking at others on social media)?
  • Do you feel disconnected, alienated, or cut off from others even when you’re in the room with them?

How many of the previous symptoms do you experience on a regular basis?

Often, our “cure” for feeling this way—doing anything you can so you’re not alone—only makes the situation worse. The more you’re on Facebook to find connections, the more lonely you will feel. The more we use social media as our main form of connection, the more our self-esteem plummets. The more we do anything anyone wants to avoid being alone, the more we feel embarrassed and ashamed.

Here’s the truth: Everyone gets lonely. It’s a fact of life. But a fear of loneliness can really begin to obstruct our lives when we make decisions based on that loneliness. I’m talking about getting involved in relationships with people who don’t share your values and probably don’t treat you very well just to keep from being alone. Or choosing a college all of your friends are going to, even if it’s not the right fit for you. Or staying in a job you hate because at least you know your colleagues there.

A fear of loneliness can mean attaching yourself to people when you're feeling needy and desperate, then getting caught up in making choices based on the other person's needs and wants and not considering your own. In other words, you make yourself invisible. At its extreme, it may feel like you literally can't live without other people. Think of parents still living with a 40-year-old child or spouses who can't go anywhere without each other.

What Happens When You Experience Loneliness?

Let’s first talk about loneliness as a phobia. If you hear scientists talk about loneliness, you might hear terms like autophobia or monophobia.

So, what is the difference between autophobia and monophobia? Well, there’s not actually any difference! Autophobia and monophobia both refer to an irrational and persistent fear of being alone. This is a serious condition that ranges in severity, from being uncomfortable being alone to experiencing panic attacks at the thought of being or ending up alone. Severe anxiety disorders can be overwhelming and can drastically hinder your mental wellbeing.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you experience this extreme anxiety on a regular basis and it results in mental health conditions or physical symptoms like chest palpitations, dizziness, and nausea, you should seek the help of a mental health professional. Borderline personality disorder or related mental illnesses can do a lot of harm to a person's life if left undiagnosed and untreated. 

At Fearless Living, we define loneliness as an emotional state when you experience a powerful feeling of emptiness and isolation. It’s much more than wanting company or wanting to be around other people.

This fear of being alone can be a top reason for staying in romantic relationships, even if it’s a very unhealthy one. So many of my clients have had to get over their fear of being alone in order to find the right relationship for them.

Many of us stay in a bad relationship out of a fear of being alone, which means we're not available for the right one when they do come along. So we justify, make things okay, or say the relationship we're in is good enough for now, but we know, deep down, that's a lie.

So, here's the cold, hard truth. If you're in a relationship to avoid feeling alone or lonely—and I bet you already know this—you will still feel lonely inside. The "something is better than nothing" attitude is a very lonely place to be, and it also heaps a lot of shame and disappointment on yourself for not having the courage to leave and make better choices.

When you "settle" for someone you don't have much in common with or overlook someone's bad behavior out of fear of being alone, you never truly heal. You never grow. You miss out on finding that special someone because you're busy sticking with a lackluster or damaging relationship.

Imagine a train station. If a rusting, dilapidated train is already parked in your station, that bright, shiny, healthy train will have to choo-choo right by because your train station is already full.

Even though so many of us spend our whole lives running from being alone, it is necessary to embrace if you want to become authentically you. You’re stifling your growth if you don't spend time alone.

For some being in solitude is their greatest fear, but that is where the gift lies. The good news is that a fear of loneliness is curable, and it’s something you can move beyond so long as you have a willingness and a desire to commit to yourself. Let’s find out how.

How Do I Get Over My Fear of Being Alone?

Choose to Heal

You must decide to heal. No one else can do this for you. Making this decision requires courage and fortitude, and it’s the first step toward overcoming your fears.

You might have been able to put this off for a very long time because you've surrounded yourself with people. You might have a loving spouse and family, but you already know that doesn’t mean you aren’t battling a fear of loneliness.

Before you can begin your journey, the first thing you must do is choose to be willing. Willing to try. Willing to face your fear. Willing to say yes to becoming wholly you.

You must make the decision to be willing to get comfortable in your own skin. You must make the decision to get comfortable learning and growing while in solitude. You must make the decision to show up for yourself every day, especially when it’s hard. And I guarantee it will get tough.

Willingness is the first step and an ongoing theme at Fearless Living.

Pay Attention to Moments of Loneliness

Pay attention to the time in which you feel lonely. When do those feelings pop up for you? When do you feel most alone?

Watch for this when you're with people and without people since loneliness can occur when you are surrounded by others.

What is it you want from the person before you? What is the reason for your feelings of loneliness? What triggered your fear?

Remember—I want you to always have the power of choice. I want you to have the opportunity to decide for yourself. If you refuse to be alone and always have to be with people, your options become limited. I want you to grow to be able to be with people or be alone based on what works for you, not what your fear decides for you.

I want you to be in charge of your life. Don’t make decisions based on avoiding your fear of being alone.

Now, before I go further, does this mean I want you to separate from those you love? Of course not. I have clients who are joined at the hip with the love of their life. But, and it’s a big but, they don’t feel like they can’t breathe if they are separated from their mate. Sure, they love to be with the one they love, but they don’t have to be. They can choose to be together or decide to do something alone. That’s healthy togetherness.

So, start to make note of any time your fear of loneliness takes away your choice—every time fear tells you to find somebody, anybody, to do something with so you’re not alone. Practice asking yourself: What excuses do you make to connect with another? What triggers that desperate feeling? Noticing when you feel a sense of loneliness coming on will give you some space to make another choice, instead of automatically reacting from fear.

As a single person, you may notice that there are times you feel alone when you’re surrounded by couples. That’s normal, especially if your desire is to find a mate—a sexual and loving partner; a partner who has your back, no matter what. Of course, feeling whole and complete before you mate will make you a healthier partner.

Be sure to take the time to deeply consider what you need in a relationship. Do you understand what you’re looking for in a partner? Are you getting involved socially and going to places where you could meet a healthy someone? Are you even available to find love, or are you stuck in a toxic relationship to keep yourself from being alone? Remember the train station.

Continue to pay attention to when you feel lonely and what might trigger that loneliness. These moments are key in helping you understand what your needs are and how to overcome your fear of being alone. And if you’re looking for love, it will help you become a more healthy you, so you can find a love that aligns with who you really are.

Name Your Unmet Needs

Stop and ask yourself: What needs of mine are not being fulfilled?

We all have needs. The need to feel safe, connected, and seen. The need to be touched, understood, and supported. The need to feel loved, satisfied, and creative. According to Abraham Maslow, we have physiological needs, safety needs, love needs, esteem needs, and a need to self-actualize.

Yet, in our society, needs are rarely discussed or addressed. For so many of us, our own needs are something we rarely consider. This is because, if you're like me, we grew up surrounded by people who didn't prioritize their own needs. Our parents and role models, mine included, believed that sacrificing their needs was how to be a good person, and now I understand that couldn't be further from the truth.

In order to be your best, fearless self and be able to be present for other people, your own needs must be met.

I used to believe that it was other people’s responsibility to ensure my needs were met. I’d get deep into a relationship with someone and think, or even say, “If I feel needy, it must mean you don’t love me.”

I still remember the time a man I was dating begged me, “What do you need?” I didn’t have a clue.

I thought the other person should know what I needed. But in reality, I wasn’t willing to take responsibility for my own needs because I had no idea what they were. I never took the time to understand what the word “need” actually meant because it felt so selfish to think about my needs and what I wanted. Boy, how wrong I was.

You and I have a right to have our needs met. But what I know now is that’s not going to magically happen. Identifying and honoring your needs is an important step in claiming your sovereignty. And that is critical to knowing you’re safe to be alone.

By the way, no one can do this for you—not your friends or family or lovers.

Taking the time to understand what your needs are and figuring out how to get them met will empower you to see yourself as someone who cares for themselves. And once you start caring about you and see yourself as valuable and worthy, being alone won’t feel so lonely.

Instead of being stuck in a fear-driven relationship, you will decide to prioritize your needs, whatever they may be. Once you take responsibility for your own needs, and only you can do that, the power dynamic changes in your relationships, giving you equal footing, which means you never have to feel less than again.

Not sure what your needs are? Well, that’s normal, but you can change that. Continue to note any time you are triggered. What absolutely gets under your skin? What sends you spiraling? Chances are, in those moments, one of your needs is not being met.

Research says connection and belonging are the most important needs we have as humans. Do you feel like you belong? Do you have a tribe that makes you feel connected?

Start by identifying and naming your needs. The simple act of naming your unmet needs ensures you are awake and aware of what’s going on inside of you. It’s a critical aspect of feeling safe to love yourself more than you need to be loved by anyone else.

By the way, you and I are ultimately responsible for getting our needs met, but, and here’s the trick, we can’t meet ALL our needs by ourselves. We need each other, but keeping our relationships healthy is vital to feeling respected, capable, and loved, whether we’re in a group, being a couple, or alone.

Want to learn more? Read my guide on How To Love Yourself: 7 Self-Love Tips You’ll Love.

Spend Time Alone With Yourself

What is keeping you from believing you can make it on your own? What is stopping you from claiming your sovereignty? Who told you that being alone means no one wants you? Who said that feeling lonely was to be avoided at all costs?

If you’re like me, you can’t name all the people and situations in your life that added up to believing that being alone meant there was something wrong with you. Loneliness was a curse and proved you were ugly, stupid, or a loser.

I was taught having a man love me was paramount to happiness. I was boy-crazy from the age of four, and I’m not kidding. I was that little girl who would die without love.

I could go on about why I think I felt that way but answering that question never helped me feel okay with being alone, and, in turn, find solace in solitude.

By the way, there’s a big difference between solitude and being alone. It’s okay to be alone. Let’s say that one more time. It’s OKAY to be alone.

In fact, it’s more than just okay—it’s necessary.

Spending time alone is so, so, so important to your wellbeing. Being alone is the only time you can truly reflect and gain awareness because it’s how you learn more about yourself.

Being alone does not have to equate to loneliness. When fully utilized, being alone becomes solitude. It’s a chance to go within, to discover how you work, what you yearn for, and who you are. It’s a chance to become comfortable in your effort to be authentic in the midst of aloneness.

Maybe the idea of spending time by yourself is a lot for you right now. Be sure to take a deep breath. Anchor that breath to your being and feel the breath move through your body. When you do that, I bet you don’t feel lonely even if you’re alone, right?

Because you are in touch with yourself, grounded in your body, anchored to the earth by your breath, reminding you that at the heart of it, you are never alone. If you believe in God, or the Source, or Universal Light, (I don’t care what you call it), you already know this to be true. But that belief may not be soothing you enough to break free from your fear of loneliness.

I invite you to recommit to connecting with whatever higher power you believe in. God is a balm on our deepest fears, reminding us we are enough, we are loved, and we are safe.

Too many of us do everything we can to avoid being alone because we’re scared of what we may find. We keep ourselves surrounded by people, even if those people bring us down, because we don’t want, under any circumstances, to be left alone with ourselves. It may even feel dangerous.

Because what happens when we’re alone with ourselves? We have to answer the tough questions we may not want to face. We are no longer distracted by others, so we hear the voices in our head, the yearnings in our heart, the desires in our body. We cannot avoid ourselves any more.

For many of us, that’s frightening. Yet, I have good news.

Being willing to sit with those voices, whether it’s through mindfulness meditation or journaling, allows those voices to have their say—they are no longer repressed, angry, or ignored. They are set free to express what has been hidden, but in a healthy way.

When we are willing to be with ourselves, we quit being afraid of what we’ll find because we find our heart, our light, our soul.

We connect with the deepest part of ourselves. This allows us to begin to love ourselves exactly as we are, and even decide to enjoy our own company.

Now, maybe you’re thinking, “Rhonda, I do spend a lot of time alone. I’m alone in my car on the way to work. I’m alone in the shower. I’m alone as I cook dinner. I’m alone when I’m washing the dishes and doing laundry.”

Sure, that may, in theory, be true. But let’s check in. Are you alone being present with you? Or are you alone thinking of anything else but yourself?

Because it matters how you’re spending that time. When you’re alone, do you do anything you can to fill the space so that you’re not alone with your own thoughts? Do you keep busy jumping from one task to the next? Do you play music or podcasts to distract yourself?

When are you truly alone, spending time with your own thoughts? When do you take the time to turn off the distractions and stimulation to get to know who you really are, what your fears are, what your needs are, what your dreams are, and more?

Self-reflection is a key part of growth, and it’s critical to your Fearless Living journey.

It may be scary, but spending time alone is important. Start small if the idea makes you uncomfortable. Practice being alone with yourself for five minutes. And then for ten minutes, and continue adding to that until you grow to be comfortable in that solitude.

Because within that solitude is where the gift resides. It’s how you learn from yourself. It’s how you forgive and grow and learn what your needs are. It’s how you make progress on all of those fears that are holding you back—not just a fear of loneliness, but your fear of failure, change, not being good enough, etc.

Make an Effort to Connect With Like-Minded People

True connection and true belonging comes from spending time and building relationships with like-minded people. Because, as I’ve discussed throughout this article, you can still feel completely alone if you aren’t surrounded by kindred spirits. The people you want to have around you are those who support you, understand your boundaries, and build you up instead of pull you down.

Connecting with like-minded people is how you make real connections that aren’t based in fear—that desperate NEED to be surrounded by people.

Stop reaching out to people who are toxic or unhealthy to your growth. It only leads to disappointment and even more loneliness.

How can you do this? First, identify the toxic people in your life. Who are you around when you become triggered by a situation or something someone says? Which people make you feel alone even when you’re spending time with them? Which people continually bring you down? Which people have trouble accepting your clear boundaries? How do you feel after leaving a social situation—did the people you spent time with make you feel good or bad afterward?

On the other hand, which people in your life share common values with you? Who supports you and lifts you up? Who cares about needs and boundaries, both their own and yours?

Make an effort to spend more time with the positive influences in your life. As you assess your relationships, you may realize that too many of them are actually toxic. This is when the gritty, honest work begins.

Admit that you’ve spent so long letting your fears lead you that you’ve attracted all the wrong people, or that you’ve desperately kept them around just to ensure you didn’t have to feel alone. But as we’ve now learned, that’s just another type of loneliness.

So, it’s time to get back out there. It’s time to put in the work to build new, strong, positive relationships that make you feel a sense of belonging. Revisit your values. What values are important to you? What are some places where you could find people who share the same values and interests as your own?

If spirituality is important to you, spend more time getting involved in your local church or fundraising events. If nature and sustainability are important to you, join a community garden, spend time on a farm, or start going on community hikes in your neighborhood. Plus, there’s always the Fearless Living community, which is filled with like-minded individuals just like you who want to live fearlessly and continue on a path of healing, growth, and self-development.

Cracking Your Fear of Loneliness With Fearless Living

Fear is driving you to stay in isolation, but safety will never get you to freedom or fearlessness. Managing your fear of loneliness is only one of the journeys you can take with the community at Fearless Living. I have in-depth courses available inside Fearless You for all 10 of the most common emotional fears, including Fear of Failure, Fear of Not Being Good Enough, Fear of Change, and Fear of Success.

The How to Overcome Fear Series is available to all Fearless You members, and when you become a member, you get access to dozens of other courses, lessons, and live sessions, all designed to help you live the life your soul intended.™
Continue following the Fearless Living blog for free weekly content on everything from how to start living your dream life to how to find and follow your soul purpose.

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