The Quest for Confidence: Accepting Abandonment

Accepting Abandonment
Last week, in our quest for confidence, I encouraged you to embrace failure. This week, I’m going to talk about one of the other fears that holds you back: The fear of abandonment.

Abandonment is one of the greatest fears that we hold in our hearts. This is because we are social creatures who are designed, by nature, to need to gather with others. We fear abandonment because it means the loss of social protection and social acceptance. But if we allow that fear of abandonment to rule our lives, we allow it to prevent us from becoming our best selves.

Everyone Experiences Abandonment

At some point in your life, you will be abandoned. Maybe it will be by a lover, a teacher, a parent, a friend, or a job. Regardless of the source, it will happen, and it will hurt. You will wonder what it means and why it happened. Sometimes you get answers to those questions. Many times you don’t find out for years and sometimes you never find out why.

Abandonment Is a Diligent Housekeeper

Abandonment clears out everything in your life that wasn’t working and makes room for new things. However, she’s ruthless. She doesn’t care how attached you happen to be to that person or thing that she’s clearing out. She simply takes it away from you. She leaves you no choice in the matter except to decide whether you will continue to cling to what she took from you or will let it go and receive the new with open arms.

Why We Fear Abandonment

Abandonment is a powerful force that brings about life-altering changes. It gets you questioning your identity and your beliefs in ways that few other things can. And it hurts on a level few other things do. It sweeps in like a hurricane, destroying everything in its path, and forcing you to rebuild something new.

What Abandonment Does Tell You…and What It Doesn’t Tell You

We all need to be loved. We all need to feel wanted. Abandonment shatters us precisely because it calls into question our lovability and our desirability. We fear that abandonment tells us we aren’t lovable and we aren’t desirable.

Abandonment tells us that things need to change. It doesn’t tell us who needs to change or what changes need to be made. It simply tells us things need to change. It’s up to us to figure out what kind of change needs to take place and how to make those changes happen.

Rewriting the Story of Abandonment

I encourage you to go back into your personal history. Every time that you were abandoned by someone, re-examine that story and rewrite the story you’re telling yourself about why it happened.

Even if you know, for example, that your wife left you because you weren’t being the husband she needed at the time, I encourage you to go back into that story. She didn’t leave you because you weren’t lovable. She left you because she couldn’t love you because you weren’t being real with her about who that person was. You were covering your real self over with behaviors that weren’t lovable.

If your parent left you when you were a child, like mine did, go back and revisit that story. Your parent didn’t leave you because you weren’t lovable. They left you because they didn’t trust themselves enough to be the parent you needed them to be and they thought they would be making room in your life for someone who was. In other words, they didn’t leave because they didn’t love you. They left because they loved you so much they didn’t want to hurt you. That means you are lovable, they just weren’t capable of giving you that love.

Purging the Old, Welcoming the New

Abandonment is your chance to purge the old life you were living and create a new life, one that’s better, one that’s got higher quality friendships and relationships in it. Open your arms to the new things that are about to make their way into your life and celebrate them. Open your arms to welcome the new vision of you that abandonment will bring. Open your arms to the new people that will come into your life because the old are gone. And, most of all, open your arms to the new direction your life will be taking because of all the change and growth.

Developing Gratitude for Abandonment

It’s hard to let go of the past. It certainly was for my grandfather. He lamented the abandonment of his wife and daughter for 50 years. The bitterness of that pain blinded him to the love of the people that were brought into his life because his wife and daughter left. He wasn’t able to fully enjoy those relationships or to experience the joy they were meant to bring because he was too busy looking backwards to see what was right in front of him.

Whenever you’re abandoned, say thank you for it. The universe is working hard to bring something better into your life. It’s preparing a space for people who will be there in ways the other people weren’t. But if you’re going to fully enjoy this new life that’s waiting for you, you’re going to have to let go of what was so you can fully embrace what is.

Join 40 Day Writers Facebook Group

If you are ready to overcome your fear of abandonment, let go of your past experiences, and put your work out there so you can start developing the confidence you need to succeed, I encourage you to join the totally free 40 Day Writers Facebook Group. It’s a friendly, confidential place to get the feedback and support you need to start developing your confidence just by showing up, sharing what you have, and engaging with the other writers in the forum. I hope to see you there.