The Impact of Believing that You’re Alone Part 1
Many of us have the core belief that we are alone in this universe. As I’ve witnessed with many clients, that core belief has a negative impact on how we address our needs, take care of ourselves, set boundaries, and relate to others. People that believe that they are alone tend to be very independent. They have difficulty acknowledging their needs and asking for help. At the same time, they can be very resourceful, responsible, efficient, and excellent problem-solvers, skills that they have developed as they believe that they need to take care of everything on their own and have difficulty trusting others to be as effective as them. They are often frustrated that others are not the same as them or seem to not put in the same effort as them. This judgement can get in the way of relationships, especially with an intimate partner.
These independent people are also usually exhausted as others take advantage of their helpfulness and dependability, and because of their lack of awareness of their own needs and limitations, they often lack boundaries and have difficulty saying “no”. They tend to be resentful and irritable as they are often over-extended and overly responsible, particularly with intimate partners and children.
There are a number of ways to counter this faulty core belief. One way is to shift our focus to how others show up for us, rather than focusing on how they don’t show up for us. When we focus on how others don’t show up for us, it reinforces the belief that we are alone and we are prone to see more evidence of that belief. When we focus on how others do show up for us, it fosters a sense of gratitude and feeds the possibility that we are supported, and not alone.
Does the core belief that you’re alone seem familiar to you? Try keeping a journal, and at the end of the day record who showed up for you in that day, in small or big ways. Partners, family, friends, co-workers, or even strangers. What did they say or do that helped you feel supported or seen? Notice how your attitude shifts as you regularly gather evidence that you are indeed supported.
Shari Derksen, MA, is a Registered Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists and specializes in the areas of relationship issues and intimacy, as well as many others. For more information on Shari, her work, or other articles she’s written for Living Well click here to link to her full bio page.