For when you lose something (or someone) important, and face the fear of being alone…

person standing on brown wooden dock
Photo by Gabriela Palai on

The fear of being alone is such a thing.

Sometimes it’s clearer to know the story of how you are in relationship with someone or something else. A parent, daughter, friend, partner, school, work.

The roles and responsibilities are clear. You can be who they need you to be. You can do what needs to be done.

But what happens when you’re alone? If you’re so used to knowing who you are in relation to something else, it can be scary and lonely to be alone. This could look like losing a job and the identity, daily structure, and meaning you had tied to the job. This could look like losing a partner, and losing the hopes, dreams, expectations, and time you had tied up in that person.

When your stories are all about yourself in relation to something else, you might feel a horrifying emptiness when you face loss of something you hold dear, which provided you with so many of your stories and identity.

This is one very painful part of reality.

Once the grief and sharpness of the pain has dulled, it offers an opening; an opportunity to redefine yourself and your stories. The chance to tune back into the parts of yourself that might have quieted in the time you were in connection to this other thing. Maybe that’s remembering you hated the long commute, or giving yourself permission to go camping after years because your partner had hated it.

Can you look that fear straight in the eyes and acknowledge it? It’s okay to be afraid to be alone. What is that fear saying? What does that fear want?

Your body is pretty much wired for survival. So there’s no need to judge or shame the part of you that is afraid to be alone.

When you’re ready, can you explore your own stories?

Sometimes part of the fear of being alone is the need for external validation and appreciation. The need to be understood. Sometimes a job or a person can provide these things, and when they’re not there, it can be terrifying.

What if you can write the whole truth for yourself. Know who you are and feel comfortable with your own inner voice.

When you can write the full truth for yourself, it might change the way you feel about it.

Instead of needing someone else to be your guide, witness, or mirror, you might find…

Even though no one else understands, you understand. And you may no longer need the understanding and validation from an external source, because you know why you feel the way you do. You can honor and embrace yourself in your wholeness.

The first step might just be acknowledging the fear.

Look it in the eyes and ask for its name. What is the fear of being alone really about?

Write the stories the fear shows you. These might be memories from the past. There could be good reason for them to exist. With gentleness and compassion, allow the fear to show itself and honor it by documenting what it has to say.

See if this shifts anything. Writing the truth can be surprising, especially when it’s about something you typically push away.