Updated: Dec 18, 2019
It takes great courage to follow your dreams, but it really takes all the courage you got to admit your fears to the world. Many of you reading this article might have this fear but very few will admit it. Specially if you are having a history of failed relationships , you will surely relate to what I am saying. Relationships mean all kinds, the one which you have with your family, friends, relatives and partner. This fear is prominent more in those people who have witnessed a death in the family.
Death of a loved one takes a toll of its own on you. You hardly realize it, but it impacts the decisions you take in a big way. Because sudden demise of a loved one in the family brings your world down. It shatters you. You are stuck up with the though 'why me?' because people around you do not realize or understand your pain, your loss. Some might even take years to understand what they are going through and how the event has impacted their life.
You really need to connect the backward dots to understand things. But that is what is life and destiny. You cant control events but surely you can control their impact on you. Powerful events leave a powerful impact.They change you in a way no learning can. But it really matters how you are letting these events define you and impact your life. Either you can come out as a winner or a loser.
Once a loved one leaves your life, a void is created and you are desperate to fill that void. Some people are lucky to have a strong circle of family and friends who fill this void and help them overcome the situation. But some others who are not blessed with good supportive peers, might have a great difficulty dealing with everything alone. Such people are more likely to develop the FOA( fear-of-abandonment).
How will you know whether you have FOA? Well, there are some behavioral patterns listed below, if you see them in you, you will know:
1. Constant feeling to have someone to be with you all the time
2. Difficulty in concentration on the important tasks
3. Giving lot more importance to others in your life than your own self
4. You find yourself the only one who is in constant touch with all people in your life
5. Always accommodating yourself as per others
6. Worrying that you will lose your friends or family if you do not act according to them
7. Being treated like a doormat in relationships
8. People assume that you are always available and don't bother to check your schedule
9. Your friends or partner always get a feeling that they deserve better than you
10. Your wishes and priorities always take a backseat when it comes to closed ones
11. You always answer back on messages to even those who don't bother to reply you
12. You have a feeling that everyone will abandon you because you are not good enough
13. You overreact to rejection as you cannot handle it
14. You feel like it is your responsibility to entertain those around you
15. Your worst fear is ending up all alone in life
If you can relate to any 10 of the above then you have FOA. All your decisions are ruled by attachment. Hence this is keeping you stuck up and you are unable to move forward or make a progress in life. Attachments make you weak whereas Connections make you powerful. Stay connected but don't get attached to people. You can however attach yourself to a goal instead. Making a change in your outlook is an inward process. It takes lot of grit and determination to change from within and change for better. Not for anyone but yourself. FOA can make you a doormat who is never valued but only needed. Stop being an option to people and become their choice instead. Following is the step by step guide. The journey is difficult but it is worth it.
1. Make yourself unavailable- It hurts being lonely. Specially when you also have FOMO. You just crave to have a good time. But do not make that plan or that phone call.Wait for people to miss you, let them take initiative to make plans, call you. Always being available makes you less valued. Play hard to get.
2. Always have a schedule- Plan your day in advance. Prioritize your tasks. If you are out of work currently, build hobbies or allot time to learning skills. Keep busy. Even if you are home alone, keep busy in work or learning. Don't give in to the urge of calling others and asking for their time. I know it is tempting to just have a good conversation, to feel reassured that you have your people, but you will lose your importance overtime. Avoid it.
3. Make them check your dates- Your time is precious and valuable. Do not give it just like that. Never immediately say yes to any plan made by friends and family even if deep down in your heart you are craving for their time. Let them know subtly but firmly that you have your tasks and priorities. Take time to decide. Weigh your priorities first. Do not postpone your urgent and important for anyone, not even your spouse and kids. No, you cannot do today's things later. Specially when it comes to career or your own growth and development activity, they have to be done today itself.
4. Start enjoying solo hobbies- Being lonely is not an option, it is a situation but solitude is a choice. Read books, update your knowledge, learn new language, enjoy painting, learn cooking, do cleaning, learn make up, start a new diet, start writing in a diary or join some class. But focus should be on self development. Once you start enjoying your own company, you do not need anyone else. If you cannot spend time with yourself, how can you expect others to spend time with you? Yes some people are over sensitive or over emotional, why not start maintaining a dairy or journal where you can pour in your feelings? A book cna be your best friend and it can keep your secrets!
5. Avoid social media- Unless required, practice staying away from phone. You will find out that the time spent away from phone can be your most productive time. Use internet only for learning. You do not have to know what others are doing as long as you know what you are doing. You do not need to be everywhere doing everything. All you need is to do one thing at a time with great focus. Social media is a major reason for anxiety and depression in young children and young adults. Practice keeping your phone away for as much time as you can.
6. Know when its over- Not everyone can stay in your life forever and this is a bitter pill to digest. Specially when you have tendency to attach yourself to others. Let them go! You are only meant to learn and grow from people you interact with. People either come into your life as a blessing or a lesson, both are good. But each of them leave when you have received a blessing or learnt a lesson. Learn the right time to identify when its over. Move away with ease. It is not you, it is not them. It is a game of life, time and destiny. Those who are meant to stay will find their way. If you force people to overstay their time in your life, it will only get toxic.
7. Meet new people- It is difficult to let go of people specially, if you are dependent on very few. Well, but its better to be alone than have wrong people around you. You know in your heart that some people are toxic, jealous or selfish but you continue to give them chances because you are heavily dependent on those few people. Yes, its not easy to make new friends who will be willing to go out with you each weekend. But why not have some event or activity to go to every weekend ? Plan your weekends in advance so that you do not feel lonely.
8. Keep distance- Your innermost self and your life should not be an open book. Leave few chapters closed. Not everyone can peek into your life. Unless you can trust someone, do not let them enter your personal space. Work on letting go of your need of emotional intimacy. One person cannot take place of another. Emotions need to be guarded and controlled. If you let them flow , they will flood like a river not knowing when to stop. Respect yourself enough to keep a respectable distance. Not everyone has time for your drama.
9. Have a routine- Though it is boring, but routine gives direction and meaning to life. It could be a fitness routine or regular temple visits or regular reading time. It will give a sense of purpose. You will have quality life. Some people are lucky to have a stay at home mom they can always depend on and hence feel secure. Others are lucky to have a sibling or a partner. But if you see yourself lacking in all three, or maybe your family does not have time for you, then following a routine will also give sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.
10. Focus more on what you have -Lastly, whatever you focus on, grows. Yes, feelings are something difficult to master your control on. But when you are feeling anxious, freaking out on people leaving you alone, this is the dark time to overcome. Write down your strengths, talents, opportunities and goals. Always keep reading and re-reading your goals so that your heart and mind know your priorities.
Abandonment is hurtful. People can abandon you but your hopes, dreams, goals and ambitions will never abandon you. Most importantly, your purpose and higher calling will never make you feel alone. Purpose will make your life meaningful and if your purpose is in alignment towards betterment of the society then, it will give you a sense of fulfillment that nothing else can.
Let go of fear-of-abandonment and live a full meaningful life. Life is great and god is great.