For years I feared being alone. I’d go anywhere, do anything to avoid being alone. Consequently I tried to do too much, give too much and accepted too much unhealthy treatment from others because of my fear. Many of you know what I’m talking about.
My greatest fear wasn’t to be alone physically; it was being alone inside my head. Being alone meant enduring endless reruns of my worst failures, fractured relationships, fear of abandonment, and constant frustrations. Therefore I stayed busy, volunteered for more work, more activities, more of anything that would keep my mind occupied. Sound familiar?
So how do you learn to be alone without continually enduring nights of restless remorse? How do you learn to be at peace within yourself? Is it even possible?
Fortunately the answer is yes! Yes you can learn to like being alone if you so choose. You can learn to be at peace with yourself and let go of the toxic fears that haunted the hallways of your heart. Here’s what I discovered and hopefully will help you too.
- Unresolved fear clouds every current thought and feeling. Fear is a healthy emotion, but when it’s given too much authority in our lives, it becomes toxic. Consequently when I looked at my failures and fractured relationships, fear convinced me that everything was my fault and that failures like these could never be forgiven.
- Fear hijacks your emotional and mental processing. The lens of fear creates doubt in our current relationships or thwarts any effort to try anything new. Fear lingers like a leopard in a tree ready to pounce on any healthy thought, strike it down before it gets a chance to influence your heart. Toxic fear leaves us doubting our ability to be someone worth admiring, or be a man loving.
- Fear depletes our mental, physical, and emotional energy. It’s never ending reruns dominate our day to day thinking so much that leave no reserve energy for attempting anything new, being creative or working toward any dream we may have once had.
So how do you overcome such fear?
First by recognizing that fear has been given too much authority in what you believe, think, and feel about yourself. Your fear has become so powerful it’s now toxic. So toxic that you don’t know what is real or imagined; what is normal fear and what’s unhealthy.
One of the best ways of deal with toxic fear is to work with a healthy friend or mentor. Together write down each and every fear, grade it’s influence from a 1 -10, one being very little and ten being toxic fear.
Then ask and answer these key questions: “Is this fear normal or common to most men? If so what does healthy fear look and feel like? If it’s not healthy, how do I reduce or resolve this toxic fear?” Answering these questions with your friend or mentor’s guidance begins the freeing process. But remember this is a process, not an overnight miracle.
Secondly, let go of your fear by learning to forgive yourself and others. Learning to forgive yourself will also enable you to truly forgive others. Here are the key thoughts and actions needed to forgive yourself.
- Forgiveness is a CHOICE. It’s a choice you will have to remind yourself of daily. In the beginning, it may be 100 or 1,000 times a day. You have chosen to forgive. You have chosen to let it go. You have chosen to set yourself free from this failure. You are worth forgiving! You cannot earn it, because that places your own forgiveness in the hands of someone else. Even if you did everything they asked of you, you still may not “FEEL” forgiven. Additionally, it gives someone else control of your life. That never turns out well!
- Forgiveness is NOT a feeling. Once you have chosen to forgive yourself or others, you may feel better, but don’t allow your feelings to be the measure of true forgiveness.
- Forgiveness is often NOT forgetting. Our brains are too complex to just erase a memory, but the process of forgiveness will affect your feelings.
- Forgiveness is a PROCESS. It’s a process that takes daily discipline. You will need to remind yourself daily that you have chosen to forgive yourself or another person. Anytime the thought crosses your mind, anytime an emotion triggers the memory, remind yourself that you are forgiven. As you do, each day the emotions surrounding the memory of your failure will begin to subside. Eventually, you may recall the memory, but it won’t be laden with all the emotional baggage. It’s the emotional baggage that is toxic to our hearts!
- Forgiving is NOT EASY. It takes time, persistence, perseverance, and patience.
After you have chosen to forgive and worked through the daily process of forgiving, you will be able to recall the memory past failures, but you will not be imprisoned and haunted by your fears.
Learning to forgive ourselves is essential letting go of the highly toxic fear that haunts your heart. It will take time, trying, and perhaps failing a few times. But if you persevere, being alone with your thoughts will become a welcomed and cherished time.
If today’s blog was encouraging to you, take sure you sign up to receive blogs every Tuesday and Thursday. TransformingFamilies.org was created to enable you to discover and develop authentic, healthy intimacy in all your relationships.
FYI: I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you would like to improve your relationships, or you want someone to talk to, e-mail me at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, and we’ll schedule a time to connect. My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed man.