In this series on fear, I started by talking about how fear contributes to isolation and loneliness. And that facing fear can be a challenge because it defies rational thought and disguises itself in many forms. Finally, I discussed conquering fear by exercising courage muscles on a regular basis.
I’d like to wrap up this series by bringing all these concepts together by offering a list of ideas to overcome loneliness by facing fear.
- Talk to strangers. Build a habit of talking to people you don’t know on a regular basis. Consider starting by saying hello to someone you don’t know daily. Add small talk when you feel more comfortable until you feel comfortable starting conversations with people you don’t know on a regular basis. Some people will resist, others will be welcoming. Whatever their response, you have nothing to lose since you had no relationship with them to start with.
- Unveil you fears. When you find yourself feeling stressed, angry or hateful, ask yourself what you are afraid of. Sometimes this can be a challenging task. Silent reflection, meditation or a conversation with a trusted friend are often helpful.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Many of us find ourselves so engaged with our spouses, significant others or a single close friend that we become overly vulnerable to their imperfections. If that person has a bad day or makes a mistake we find hurtful, we have nowhere to turn and forgiveness becomes much more difficult.
- Build your relationships. Make an effort to keep all your relationships moving forward. Share your fears and desires with people you trust, and be generous to those you care about.
- Practice patience, tolerance and empathy. Remember that arrogance, anger, intolerance and apathy are indications of fear. When others act in this way, respond with empathy rather than intolerance. Impatience and intolerance of others robs us the opportunity to get to know them.
- Accept conflict without embracing it. Disagreement is natural and healthy, but remember that if someone disagrees with you, it does not mean one of you is wrong. It just means you see things differently.
- Make relationships a priority. Remember that relationships are where the deepest challenges of our personal character are revealed. They are magnifiers of our spiritual shortcomings and the ultimate showcase for our spiritual strengths. They are a source of the deepest passion in life and bring greater joy, happiness and fulfillment to life than money, success or any material wealth.