Overcoming the Fear of Loss: 5 Steps to Get Unstuck

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” ~Norman Cousins

Of all the things that scare us, loss can seem like the most terrifying. At times, I’ve thought about it with such dread that it’s felt overwhelming.

Whenever I quit a job I hated in that past, I felt stuck between two loss-related fears: the fear of losing my passion by staying, and the fear of losing my financial security if I walked away and didn’t find something else.

Whenever I considered leaving a bad relationship, I felt paralyzed by two similar fears: the fear of losing my chance at fulfillment by staying, and the fear of losing the comfort of companionship if I walked away and didn’t find someone else.

I haven’t only worried about the potential for loss as it pertains to big decisions. I’ve worried about losing people I love, pleasures I enjoy, and circumstances that feel comfortable. I’ve dreaded losing my youth, my health, and my sense of identity.

And then there are the everyday losses: If I don’t do this, will I lose someone’s respect? If I don’t do that, will I lose my own? If I don’t go, will I lose some as of yet unknown opportunity? If I don’t stay, will I lose my sense of comfort and security?

I might even go so far to say that whenever I fear something, loss is at the root of it. I suspect I’m not alone.

Loss Aversion

Economists have identified loss aversion as a major factor in financial decision-making, in that most people would rather avoid losing money than acquire more. The psychological impact of losing is thought to be twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining.

According to Ori and Ram Brafman, authors of Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, we often make poor decisions simply to avoid loss.

One example they offer involves Captain Jacob van Zanten, once a well-established and respected pilot who headed the safety program for KLM—a Dutch airline marketed as “the people who make punctuality possible.”

In the spring of 1977, on a flight from Amsterdam to the Canary Islands, van Zanten learned that a terrorist bomb had exploded at Las Palmas airport, where he was supposed to land. Along with a number of other flights, his was diverted to a smaller airport 50 miles away.

After landing the plane safely, he started worrying about a number of problems that would result from failing to take off soon.

The government had instituted a mandated rest period between flights for pilots, which meant he could be imprisoned if he took off after a certain hour. Staying overnight meant putting the passengers up in a hotel, which would be costly for the airline.

Waiting much longer meant losing time, money, and his reputation for punctuality.

Ultimately, van Zanten took off in a thick fog—despite knowing the risks, and not receiving take off clearance—because it seemed like a now-or-never moment. He didn’t see the Pan Am 747 across the runway until it was too late—and 584 people died as a result.

The pressures and potential consequences of lost time piled up, and van Zanten acted against his better judgment, hoping to evade them.

Loss Aversion in Everyday Life

We all make irrational decisions everyday simply to avoid losing.

We buy things we don’t need (or groupons we won’t use) because a sale’s ending soon. We grab an item of clothing because there’s only one left and someone else might take it—even if we aren’t really sure we want it. We keep gym memberships we aren’t actively using if we know we won’t be able to get that same rate again.

And then there are the bigger things.

We turn down opportunities that could be rewarding to avoid the risk of losing something else that feels good enough. We use our time in ways that feel unfulfilling because we fear losing time on a decision that might be wrong. And we fail to invest in ourselves, even though we’re aching to expand, because it can feel painful to part with our money.

I waited months to create my Tiny Wisdom eBooks because it would require a large investment. If I hadn’t taken that risk, I wouldn’t have earned the money I’m now using to revamp the site, and take acting classes—something I’ve wanted to do for years.

We can’t ever know for certain that a risk will payoff, but we can choose to recognize when the fear of loss motivates our actions, and make a conscious effort to overcome it. If we don’t, it can severely limit our potential for growth, happiness, and fulfillment.

Overcoming the Fear of Loss

I first recognized this fear, and it’s associated irrational thoughts and behaviors, when I felt devastated after a man I wanted to break up with broke up with me first.

I realized I didn’t make the decision myself because I preferred a bad relationship to being single. I also understood that I would have been far less affected if I’d made the choice to walk away, and that my feelings completely transformed because I felt out of control—like I lost something, and it wasn’t my choice.

Since then, I’ve developed a little system for identifying this fear when it takes hold—and a few practices for overcoming it so that it doesn’t overcome me.

1. Ask yourself, “What am I scared of losing?”

This may seem like an obvious question, but I’ve learned that it’s all too easy to go through our days, making choices, without recognizing the underlying feelings that motivate them.

Whenever you have a choice to make, recognize in what way you’re motivated by the fear of losing something, whether it’s comfort, security, control, money, companionship, or something else.

Once you understand what you’re scared of losing, you can…

2. Ascertain if you’re seeing the whole picture.

There was a time when I worked 60+ hours/week to hold onto a job I didn’t even want. I was the last remaining US employee after a massive layoff, but I didn’t feel ready to lose that job.

After several months of working long hours from home, I realized I’d never feel ready. It wasn’t until I finally got laid off that I started planning for this site.

My logic was faulty—that it was best to stay with the sure thing, because I wasn’t ready to do something else—because the reality was that I needed the time and space to figure out that something else.

In other words, loss was necessary to set me up for gain; it wasn’t the other way around.

If you’re making a decision, or avoiding making a decision, based on the fear of what you might lose, ask yourself if you’re losing more by not doing what you really want to do.

When you attempt to see beyond the fear, you’re better able to recognize if you’re keeping yourself stuck—and if you’d benefit from letting go of what you think you need.

3. Use loss aversion as motivation to pursue what you really want. 

In a post on Money Ning, Emily Guy Birken suggests we can benefit from the fear of loss by charting our progress toward a goal. Just as we don’t want to lose time and money, we don’t want to lose momentum.

If you hang a large calendar on your wall, and put a star on every day when you do something positive—like exercise, practice a new hobby, or send out a resume for a new job—you’ll create a psychological need to keep that streak going.

Birken writes, “Your disappointment in seeing a day without a gold star is greater than your happiness at any single day’s work.”

Of course, you have to know what you really want first.

4. Regularly assess your intentions and motivations.

This ties into the last one. Sometimes we think we want something because we’ve wanted it for years—and then we feel scared to lose that dream and all its related rewards.

But sometimes, as we grow and learn about ourselves and the world, our wants change.

A friend of mine racked up massive debt studying law, only to realize a couple years into her career that it didn’t fulfill her as she hoped it would. She’d built her whole life around this possibility—and she had close to $100,000 in student loans.

She could easily have felt stuck, as if she’d lose too much if she walked away. But she did anyways. She moved to Chile and became a Pilates teacher, and though she ultimately realized she’d need to return to law for a while longer to pay off her debt, she’s released the emotional fears associated with pursuing a different path.

And because she’s experienced the joy of doing something else, she now has a compelling motivation to do it again: She knows what she stands to gain is greater than what she stands to lose.

If you’re forcing yourself to do something and a part of you feels it isn’t right, ask yourself, “Do I actually want this right now?” There’s a chance you do, and you’re just feeling frustrated and discouraged—but there’s also a chance you don’t anymore. Only you can know for sure what you really want.

5. Change how you see the inevitability of loss.

The reality is that loss is inevitable.

We will all lose relationships, situations, and states of being that we enjoy and love. Even if we practice non-attachment, on some level we will get comfortable with people and circumstances.

You could say that this is what makes life beautiful and meaningful—since nothing lasts forever, each moment presents unique possibilities worth fully appreciating and savoring.

Or you could say this is what makes life tragic—that everything is fleeting, and eventually it all slips away.

How we choose to see things dictates how we’ll experience them. Would you rather see everything as precious or pointless?

If we can choose the former, we can recognize that every loss provides opportunities for future gains—new relationships, experiences, and ways of being that may fulfill us in ways we can’t possibly predict.

Of course, this can only happen if we trust in our ability to recognize and create these new connections and situations. We all have the potential to do it.

Some losses feel devastating when we experience them—and sometimes, the gain isn’t proportionate to the loss.

But somehow, we survive in the wake of almost every storm. Whether we thrive is up to us. That’s a choice we need to make proactively, not in response to what we fear, but in response to what we genuinely want to feel and do in this life.

So I leave you with this question: Why are you afraid of losing? And are you ready to trust in yourself and your abilities so that you can get unstuck?

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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  • Ja

    I’m afraid of feeling down, and the uncomfortable anxiety, the anticipation of sinking into a cycle of depression. Recently my girlfriend and I split up, she initiated it. So I’m also afraid of losing and never finding love again, even though it has already gone. I don’t know how to move on.

  • Kim

     some articles on this web can help you. You will overcome it soon, don’t worry!

  • Elle

    Ahhh…I understand. My boyfriend of two years just left me 3 months ago, I felt like you did.  But it gets better…trust me.  Read the articles on here, they helped me a lot 🙂 You will be fine!!

  • Shiul Yana

    Awesome written!
    I had this fear of losin my dad since he passed away recently.
    I made me stuck for some times til I realized that I hv to push myself out of my comfort zone, where I was hiding behind the world.
    I’m still trying my best now thus I believe only the best meant to be in our each life, so if there’s any loss we had there must be a good reason behind it.
    I’m ready to move beyond my fear and thank u for this nice blog 🙂

  • i’m afraid i will never know what it is i genuinely want… that my dreams will never find me. 

  • ggn

    Thank you, I woke up today without any pain and I freaked out. I thought, it couldn’t be that I’m already okay that our relationship is over, it’s only been five days. I realized that I’m the one hindering my moving on. I was upset at myself over it. I hope that I’m able to do it because he and I need this very much. 

  • virgomoon

    I so needed to read this today! This is me!

  • ggn

    This is fueling my desire to move on so much more now, I just hope he forgives me too, I’ll learn to forgive him, I just hope I stop loving him sometime soon because then it’ll truly never be over. 

  • Test

    Any particular articles you would recommend?

  • ibeasinger

    Wow!! Talk about timing!! I just feel like I must not be doing it right because it hurts so bad! I tried walking away once  and got drawn back in by the “pressure” of being the dumpee instead of the dumper. Well, I’ve been dumped again (silence is as painful a way of dumping someone that I’ve experienced!) and as much as I want to see it as a blessing .. it really, really hurts! And I don’t know what hurts more .. losing him physically (apparently he was already gone mentally if he could walk away the second time and in silence yet again!) or the loss of all that I had hoped it would be and suspect that won’t ever be a part of my life .. love, companionship, etc.  I’ll keep rereading and rereading this!! Thank you!

  • Sugarpencil

    I can relate. Held off leaving job for six years due to finance worries. Now have no money coming in but doing PhD in a subject I love. And I trust in myself that opportunities will arise.

  • ana

    Dear Lor, thank you so much for this post – so much needed today! thank you for your wisdom and for sharing it!

  • Again, Lori, your insight evokes Anais Nin’s “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

    Too often fear blocks us from moving forward, comfortable in our pocket of predictability. Yet, as you say, the anticipated discomfort “…can severely limit our potential for growth, happiness, and fulfillment.” All too often we associate change with loss, and loss with pain. Yet there is no change without “growing pains”. If it comes too easily maybe it’s not enough a challenge to elicit our best.

     “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” says Neale Donald Walsh. I believe in that. Time to start tearing down to rebuild. Ouch.

    ~ Mark

  • The section on “Loss Aversion in Everyday Life” had me thinking about an episode of NBC’s old drama series “American Dreams,” where JJ tells his disabled little brother ‘Fear holds you back.’ I’m not sure….but I think it was the one where the little brother was going to get surgery to repair his polio and he was afraid of the surgery and possible also not very confident in his ability to ever be able to walk without braces. I didn’t pay attention to a lot of the dialogue but that particular scene stood out as one of the more memorable moments on that show.

  • Chris

    You’re not alone. My girlfriend left me 4 days ago after getting clear on some life changes during a 2 week meditation retreat. 

    Be kind to yourself.

  • You went deep again, Lori. May I join you and dig a little deeper?

    You asked the questions: What are you afraid of losing? And are you ready to move beyond that fear to get yourself unstuck?

    I would ask slightly different questions. I would pose the queries:

    WHY are you afraid of losing?

    CAN YOU DISCOVER HOW to move beyond your fear to get yourself unstuck?

    As I think more about this, it seems to me that we are not so much afraid of LOSS, as we are afraid of not getting BACK what we lost, or the equivalent of that.

    The successful, balanced people I know don’t lose or fail any less than anyone else. But what drives them to build on their losses, is their ability to BELIEVE that what goes down will again go up, and that the upturn will be better than what they had before.

    They are not always right about that. They don’t always win again right after a loss. But they don’t get defeated and they look at a failure as the path towards a solution. As cliché as it is, winners see failure as the creation of new opportunities. They really do!

    So how did they get that way? How did they learn to move past their fears?

    Somehow, some way, either by being born that way or being taught it, or by convincing themselves through trials and errors, these risk takers developed FAITH. At their core belief they expect losses to be only temporary and that everything will work out.

    When it doesn’t, when they reach a dead-end on a particular path, their attitude is: There are always other paths, other options with more gains to be found.

    I think the way to amass FAITH (if you weren’t born with it or taught it) is to never give up and keep generating more and more possibilities until those possibilities turn into probabilities and eventually WINS – sometimes BIG wins, sometimes LITTLE wins, but wins just the same. Yes, you have to be willing to stay in the game and keep playing.

    And now we’re back to your question, Lori. Are you ready to move beyond that fear to get yourself unstuck?

    Good post! We need these reminders.


  • Ja

    This is how I’m feeling. I felt OK afterwards, but I’m finding myself sinking back into negative thoughts and not being able to let go. I feel like I’m going backwards. I really hope this will get easier, it’s the first time I’ve experienced it so I’m in the dark.
    I don’t know how to stop dipping in and out of clinging on or “forgetting” that I am not attached anymore.

  • Ja

    I’ve been reading TinyBuddha for a while and now is when I fully appreciate the impact these articles have. Sometimes they give me a good start to the day but at other times I only feel OK when reading them only yo fall again soon after.

    I feel like I was better 2 weeks ago and now I’m sliding down a slippery slope. I know it’s a mind pattern, I just forget that all too often. I go to bed present and wake up trapped again.

    Perhaps this being my first relationship is making it more difficult to deal with, where as my ex girlfriend has more experience than I do – she know’s how to recover and when to move on. I was holding on until the last moment – and am still doing so every now and then. The memories really draw you in, and I desperately want it all back.

  • Sheppie Dunbar

    Thanks Lori…  This is a GREAT one

  • Fear-Fear of Loss, It’s very powerful I know it’s stopped me a few times. I’m trying to change my perspective and understand that things and/or people don’t actually belong to me everything is part of the universe and we are sharing time together. For that time and the lessons learned I am grateful.

  • ljj

    Enjoyed the post! FYI, the book title in the opening is supposed to be Irrational, not Rational.  

  • Hi Ja,

    I think I can relate. I remember my first break up. It felt like I lost a limb at first–like a part of me was missing. I know it might not seem this way right now, but things will get easier with time. Do you have people you trust who you can talk to about what you’re feeling? If I were to go back and do things differently, I’d let people in a lot more.

    You are in my thoughts!

  • You’re most welcome–and I am so sorry for your loss. I bet your father would be proud that you are focusing on moving forward and living your life to the fullest. =)

  • I know that feeling Julie! I’ve recently been putting a lot of thought into what I want to do, beyond writing. It’s funny–for a long time, I felt so sure I wasn’t doing what I was meant to do because I wasn’t writing. But now that I write for a living, I feel like there’s something else I want to be doing, too–something else more active. So I signed up for some classes recently, and I’m pretty excited about that. Still, a part of me wonders if I’ll always wonder what else there is, or on what other levels I could be satisfied.

  • You’re most welcome. Isn’t that an interesting thing–when we feel uneasy with a feeling of pain being going? I think pain be comforting in some ways. When the pain’s gone, it feels like we’ve let go for good….if that makes any sense.

  • That’s wonderful that you followed your passion! What is the subject you love?

  • You’re most welcome Ana!

  • Pocket of predictability–I love that. And how true. I know I’ve felt comfortable in that place before. But every time I’ve identified what I really wanted and then took a step in that direction, I’ve felt alive and free. I try to remind myself when I feel scared that it’s worth pushing through the fear to know those feelings.

  • I’ve never seen that show before, actually. I’ll have to check it out…

  • You’re most welcome. I can imagine that would be painful, not having an actual conversation, but rather just silence. I’m sorry you had to go through that! I had an ex check out mentally first once. I found out after we broke up that he’d grown emotionally close to this other woman (who he began dating weeks after our break up). That crushed me, because it wasn’t cheating, and yet it was. It was emotional cheating. I will say this though: When we broke up, I thought I’d never know love again. Many years later, though, I met someone who is a much better match for me (who I’ve been with for three years now). I never believed it would have happened, but it did, as soon as I was fully open to it. I think that’s pretty common–once we’ve healed and fully forgiven ourselves (in my case, that took a lot time) we’re open to love again.

  • I’m glad this helped!

  • Thanks so much for pointing that out! I loved that book. I thought it was very insightful about the irrational choices we sometimes make.

  • That’s beautiful–about us sharing time together. =)

  • You’re most welcome Sheppie!

  • This is all so insightful and helpful Irving! I think you hit the nail on the head about faith–knowing that even though a specific loss may be permanent, we can “fill” the void of a loss with something equally fulfilling. I may change the ending to reflect your suggestions. Thanks so much. =)

  • Gaminuniverse

    My boyfriend of 2.5 years just left me 2.5 weeks. First few days, I cried a river. I cried everywhere, bus, restaurant, my room or even in front of my friend’s parents. I loved this guy and wished to be with him forever. I felt really bad and devastated. I spent my first week get rid of all sadness. 

    After my first week, I looked at myself in the mirror. I said to myself. I cannot bring the sweet past back. I lost it. I have to accept the truth that I have lost it. My options are to stop the lose here or to lose my present and future. I chose the first option. I have to move on. You can find a lot of suggestion how to move on from the internet. Read other people’s stories to realize that braking up is a normal thing. It happens. The pain in your chest is what other people feel and it eventually goes away. If you don’t hold on it. I work a lot on self-development. In case my ex come back, we can have a better and stronger relationship, if not, I will definitely find a better man. 

    You said you are afraid of losing and never finding love again. This feeling is something you create yourself. This is what I’m working on myself. I have to get rid off the idea that “he is the one, no one is better than him.” I hang out with friends, spend a lot of time outside and say yes to every party invitation. I’m even put myself on an online dating site. Not because I want o find a bf there but to help me open my eyes “Look! there are a lot of hansom and nice guys out there!” 

    Remember, the world has more than just to be with her or not to be with her. It’s a process. Don’t let negative feeling you created by yourself for yourself bother and stop you. Be positive and smile. And you will see your life is getting better!

  • Sundancebleu

    Thanks Lori, I have to read this at least one more time.  I am striving to live life without so much fear, and your post helped me to focus my attention on that goal at a slightly different angle.  – Roger

  • Susie

    Thanks for your beautiful, encouraging words Lori. I especially loved (and try to live by) seeing everything as ‘precious’ instead of ‘pointless’.

  • Ja

    Thank you Lori!
    It feels like someone has died. I’ve been speaking to my aunt a lot, she’s been very helpful. Feels like fate that she knows what to say and when to say it

  • Ja

    Thank you Elle for encouragement, I appreciate greatly. 🙂

  • Ja

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me, it’s helped me a lot and I’m sure I will keep coming back to re-read what you have written until I don’t need to anymore.
    It certainly was a sweet past, we were very close and it also lasted about 2.5 years.

  • Chime

    I recently discovered this site and LOVE it. The articles are helpful and make sense!

  • You’re most welcome Susie! My apologies for my slow response. I didn’t see the newest comments on here until today.

  • You’re most welcome Roger!

  • I’m glad you’re enjoying it Chime!

  • Thank you so much for your words. This really gave me a sense of direction and hope.

  • You are most welcome. =)

  • Navdeep Sharma

    Thanks for the great content
    I am actually in a difficult situation. I do some non-sense things in my daily life just because of the fear of losing things or the things like my health my money and many more. This fear compel me to do things. may this is some kind of anxiety. please help me to overcome from this situation

  • Unknown

    Hey Hi… I was looking for something like this from months. I have a problem, and it is really killing me. From a long time, I have always seen people praising me, I have seen myself ahead of others in knowledge, visions and people looking a genius in me. And that started causing problem, and it is getting out of control for me. I am getting so conscious about things I do, targets I make, or I can say, what ever I do, has some sub conscious intent that I should not lose my reputation of genius. And I know, I am not a genius, but this is really killing, I always feel uncomfortable, and pressure in doing my stuffs. Please suggest me, I feel this is fear of loss of reputation. Is it, and what can I do for it.

  • Hi there~ I can understand why this would be stressful for you, since you’ve received a lot of praise for your intelligence and skills. It may help to think about all the other things, besides your brains and achievements, that have built your reputation: your integrity, your kindness, the way you work with others. Even if you occasionally fail to achieve at the highest level, people won’t all of a sudden see you as a fraud. They’ll realize you are human, just like the rest of us!

    Incidentally, I’ve read that the fear of others thinking you’re a fraud (not as smart, talented, etc. as they think you are) is pretty common—and it seems more prevalent among highly successful people. I don’t know if it helps to know you’re not alone with this, but you’re not! In fact, it’s something I struggle with as well. Especially as a perfectionist, I want to continually excel. Whenever I don’t, I try to see it as a challenge to work on my fears. I know I can only be happy if I choose not to stress about what others think!

  • adam.p

    Yeah well said, I’ve just realised this fear of loss has actually possibly caused losses to occur…could that be possible?

  • Absolutely–if, for example, you’re so afraid of losing a relationship that you obsess about that possibility instead of actually being in the relationship.

  • Joan James

    My names are joan jane am from USA i want to use this
    opportunity to thank my great doctor who really made my life a
    pleasurable one today. This great Doctor brought my husband back to
    me, i had 3 lovely kids for my husband, about 3 years ago i and my
    husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left
    me for one lady. i felt my life was over and my kids thought then
    will never see their father again. i tried to be strong just for the
    kids but i couldn’t control the pains that torments my heart, my
    heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love
    with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and i always wish he
    will come back to me, until one day i met a good friend of mine that
    was also in a situation like me but her problem was her ex-boyfriend
    who she had an unwanted pregnancy for and he refused to take
    responsibility and dumped her. she told me that mine was a small case
    and that i shouldn’t worry about it at all so i asked her what was the
    solution to my problems and she gave me this great man phone number
    and his email address. i was doubting if this man was the solution, so i
    contacted this great man and he told me what to do and i deed them
    all, he told me to wait for just seven days and that my husband will come
    crawling on his kneels just for forgiveness so i faithfully deed what
    this great man asked me to do and for sure after four days i heard a
    knock on the door, in a great surprise i saw him on his kneels and i
    was speechless, when he saw me, all he did was crying and asking me
    for forgiveness, from that day, all the pains and sorrows in my heart
    flew away,since then i and my husband and our lovely kids are
    happy.that is why i want to say a big thanks to Doctor okogie. This
    great man made me to understand that there is know problem on earth that
    has no solution so please if you know that you have this same problem
    or any problem that is similar, i will advise you to come straight to
    this great man. you can email him at

  • Howard G Wright

    As men tend to measure themselves by status and income, which in the western world are very closely linked, it follows that fear of losing one, initiates fear of losing the other. In the past, this fear has paralysed me to the point whereby I have knowingly allowed myself to be bullied, coerced and manipulated by weaker and less able business associates and by people whom I mistakenly perceived as superior. The irony is, that by behaving in this manner, I was creating the very losing environment I was seeking to avoid. It was a path of self-destruction. And it very nearly cost be my business, my home, and my marriage. It wasn’t until I had my back to the wall, and I seemingly had nothing to the lose, that I came out fighting and proved my worth. And there lies the rub. For self-worth, and self-esteem, are emotive behavioural patterns that are learned and adopted at an early stage in our lives. If a child is brought-up on a demotivating diet of blame and constant criticism, instead of loving support and encouragement, the fear of loss is that much greater. For without foundation of a confident positive-self, any loss, whether it be of status or of a financial nature, will impact much harder – to the point where self-worth is totally stripped away. A way of preventing this from happening, is to detach ourselves as much as possible from traditional stereotyping and media-driven self-worth mechanisms, and instead place our faith in the Universe, our family, and importantly, in our in-built moral code. Because, the loss of our human potential through fear of loss, is the greatest loss of all.

  • Howard G Wright

    As men tend to measure themselves by status and income, which in the western world are very closely linked, it follows that fear of losing one, initiates fear of losing the other. In the past, this fear has paralysed me to the point whereby I have knowingly allowed myself to be bullied, coerced and manipulated by weaker and less able business associates and by people whom I mistakenly perceived as superior. The irony is, that by behaving in this manner, I was creating the very losing environment I was seeking to avoid. It was a path of self-destruction. And it very nearly cost be my business, my home, and my marriage. It wasn’t until I had my back to the wall, and I seemingly had nothing to lose, that I came out fighting and proved my worth. And there lies the rub. For self-worth, and self-esteem, are emotive behavioural patterns that are learned and adopted at an early stage in our lives. If a child is brought-up on a demotivating diet of blame and constant criticism, instead of loving support and encouragement, the fear of loss is that much greater. For without foundation of a confident positive-self, any loss, whether it be of status or of a financial nature, will impact much harder – to the point where self-worth is totally stripped away. A way of preventing this from happening, is to detach ourselves as much as possible from traditional stereotyping and media-driven self-worth mechanisms, and instead place our faith in the Universe, our family, and importantly, in our in-built moral code. Because, the loss of our human potential through fear of loss, is the greatest loss of all

  • julie

    I have been goung thru turmoil trying to find the right job. I quit a job I was at for 3 years to accept another job that I thought was better. It wasn’t. My new boss was horrible to work for. Quit that job and took two other jobs for lower pay out of desperation.Quit those too and now feel like such a failure. I am now jib hunting again but I feel like I’ve destroyed my reputation. I hate the corporate world – the politics, backstabbing and bad bosses never ends. But I’m now in such a state of panic and regret quitting my job that I was at 3 years – I’m depressed, scared and feeling such shame. I admit I made mistakes and all I want is a job where I can work in peace and get stabilized and settled. I can get past the panic and shame – I am beating myself up for quitting and feel like a fool. How do I climb out of this misery that I brought on myself?

  • Hyo


    Thank you so much for writing this post. I have been giving myself a headache over the paralysis of following my dream to be an Occupational Therapist. the fear of debt and the job market frightens the heck out of me and the idea that I may grow and want to do something else later in life frightens me too as I feel the pressure of debt. the story about your friend was so powerful. We aren’t stuck, not even by something so concrete seeming like money. Just like her, I could live frugally and not allow money concerns control me.


  • Shaun McEoghain

    @howard g wright. Your post really chimed with me. I am in that position right now. Your word give me light.

  • Dennis

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s really helpful for me now. I experienced exactly the same during the last 2 years and feel my big decision is coming. Decisiveness is the word that constantly comes back to me, it resonates inside.

  • You’re most welcome. I’m glad this helped!

  • Sam

    Howard, are you able to share exactly how you “came out fighting”. I am in a very similar situation, and feeling lost as to what to do..

  • Angel

    We just can’t make out what is the best thing for us and then we are left without answers and into delusions if you can help me please do

  • Tudor TM

    First time I finally notice this on the web. Whenever something happens to me, whether good or bad, I get this strange felling. I know that what I’ve gotten myself put into (such as watching a very good anime or starting an activity out of my comfort zone) will end eventually. And I usually cry because I know I will never experience something this different in my life. These kind of things are what I hate. I would call it the fear of the ending of something, Untill I saw this blog. Anyway, I can’t help but cry and many of my friends/relatives don’t understand me. I guess I will just have to do with my fantasy world where there is no end to anything :,( . Well, I’ve just finished watching a wonderfull anime series and am now crying in my bed. Don’t judge me.

    p.s. I am a male. Is it something that happens often to others?

  • Yusuf Zaman

    Hi Lori, I am a 16 years old boy! and English is not my native language ! I read what you post and it was awesome it helped me a lot but i thought about my problem and I can’t find my solution by myself so therefor I want to say the basic problem that I have right now . I am under a very big pressure right now I am in a different country and the situation comes that i should study in this country and I don’t know the language and the people and I am studying in a very hard school and somehow with lots of pressure i am carrying myself in this school and I am really tired of this ,there is also easier schools that i can go but somehow I cant decide in fear of losing my respect for myself ( that I am a loser and I can’t carry it on ) I don’t know why I can’t give up by knowing that I don’t want it . I hope you understand what I said, and once again thanks for this meaningful post .

  • Hi Yusuf,

    I’m glad this was helpful to you! I can only imagine how stressful this has been for you. I think anyone in your situation would be struggling, given that you’re away from home, you don’t speak the language, and you’re in a hard school.

    I don’t think you’re a loser at all; I think you’re just having a hard time because you’re dealing with some difficult stuff. I’m sure if you try to be kind to yourself you will be better able to make the right decision for yourself going forward.

    Sending good thoughts your way…


  • silentwatch

    I dont have words to express my gratitude. i was searching for an answer why I didnt get the love i wanted. and i was doubting myself whether to move towards QUIT or CONTINUE..

    “Yes, you have to be willing to stay in the game and keep playing.”
    is enough .. let your words be golden
    thanks a lot

  • silenetwatch

    So happy that this article and comments below helped me to laugh again it is more than one month now..
    I feel so happy and i wont be as fearful losing her as i was till yesterday..
    thankful for everything- ms. lori, Buddha- the sage, my searches..
    we live in a world of sharing.. yes we can make a change in someone’s lori just did with me…

    hope this will continue beyond winning

  • Per

    I suppose the irony, at least for me, lies in the fact that the very things I fear losing are things I keep myself from having. I hold on to things that I cannot change, things that happened in the past, but at the expense of the here and now. I really see myself in the last point, the inevitability of loss, and it causes me to see how things end, as all things must, rather than enjoying them. Time spent with friends, enjoying a good movie or book, it all pales knowing that that moment will pass and it`ll never come again. In a nutshell, happiness is replaced by a lingering bitterness and sadness.

    So what do I fear to loose?

    I suppose its comfort, safety and the conviction that I am better off alone than taking the risk of actually meeting someone, being with someone else than myself. I have made decisions that I have come to regret in the past, who hasn`t by the way, and that despite the fact it was what I wanted, but I just could not accept the reality of it. This probably sounds pathetic, but someone I was romantically interested in turned out to share similar feelings towards me, but I had convinced myself that it was impossible. How could someone possibly fall in love with me?
    It had become a mantra of sorts, and when it happened and I realized it, I simply froze up and became distant and cold. Although I wanted to, I could not bring myself to let her get close. I felt threatened and afraid of what it might mean.

    I just found this page and started reading, as I still feel stuck in the past and I can`t seem to move forward with my life, so I apologize for this wall of text and me rambling like I am.

  • UtilityRoom

    Hi Julie:
    I am in the same boat as you are. I recently left my position of 15 years to another company thinking the job will be better. It wasn’t. The stress of the position caused me to be ill and affected my health. I wasn’t able to sleep anymore. I had to quit w/o another job lined up. I took a chance to broaden my horizons but it did not pan out. Now I am regretting that I have left my job of 15 years. Right now, I am stuck and also beating myself up on a daily basis as to why I made a bad career decision in the first place… I have messed up my career and don’t know what to do next.

  • Hamideh

    Thank you hundred times, I was crying when I found your website, you make me feel peace, god bless u

  • You’re most welcome. I’m so glad the site has brought you peace. =)

  • Omar

    It’s a fantastic article that brings together all the thoughts a person could come a
    cross. It relieved me a lot, though I didn’t finish reading it. It attacks the
    core of the problem, and enlightens a person’s mind and thinking. The funny
    thing is that when I clicked on the web link at the author box, I faced by what
    the article describes when a decision has to be made, and that is: should I
    subscribed and take the course or not (indeed I need it badly!) or leave it?
    The dispute arises because I bought so many courses and packages of the
    same nature and paid for them (I took the decision and invested), but I always
    quit or never started. I made the decisions in the past to enroll and invest,
    but I didn’t go on and continue. Now I am faced with the consequences of my
    laziness and procrastination. And here I am again with a similar situation. I
    am really afraid to repeat the same again. At the same time I am stuck with
    what, I don’t know!! I am hesitated. I know at this moment I should think
    as: what would I lose if I didn’t take the course and evolve? It is
    clear to me and I live it now, and still could not realize it!! But, will I
    take the action required? I know by heart that I need to change. At the same
    time, I know by heart I can’t do it by myself alone, and at the atmosphere I
    live in.

  • Sealifewithlove

    Fear- ugh, well my one standing fear is losing my boyfriend.. Iv only ever held relstionship in which my partner would threaten to leave- granted all extremely unhealthy young toxic relationships.. My current relationship is the healthiest and going on three years.. But we have had our ups and downs and whenever that topic of “I don’t know if I can do this any more” has happened my anxiety and fears rush back.. Almost like PTSD.. And the pain that came with separating from someone after so much dedicated time and emotion.. Unlike other relationhips in this one he tell me we are fine and to relax.. But it’s never enough and I don’t know how to be content in the moment or accept that it is actually okay, or that if it isn’t i will be okay, single or paired. Not sure what to do and I just feel it gets worse as I get older. Ur page is inspiring and touching.. I’m glad iv found it. Iv never commented on a page before.. Hoping that maybe someone will reply with a few words! Thank you for your time!!

  • ArTpA

    Hey there,
    If you think its anxiety you should seek medical help. Get your anxiety diagnosed. But for an advice, please don’t start with any medication because anxiety is behavioural condition and not a medical illness. If you need help, mail me: transformforever

    Hope it helps

  • Gayantha Ekanayake

    omg , that last sentence ………………………. i just saved it to my computer. thank u.

  • Hanina

    What an amazing article!!

    I’ve once experienced the loss of people that were really important to me. They didn’t die or anything like that, I just moved to another country and I tried really hard to keep in touch but they just didn’t seem to care or to miss me.
    From then on I was always affraid of losing people I love.
    Right now I’m 18 and it’s my last year of 6th form, afterwards we’re all going to uni/moving to different cities/countries/…
    I’m just so scared of the future or actually it’s more the fear of losing the present.
    I’m again moving to another country for a year. What if we don’t manage to stay friends. All these people have become such a big part of my life in the last two years.

    Also I noticed that I’m sometimes not even scared of literally losing something/someone but never experiencing a moment/a feeling like that again.

    I hope there aren’t too many errors in this, English is not my native language.

  • Digvijay Nilekar

    Hello there,
    I read your article.
    I find it very helpful and motivational.

    I am going through a breakup of 3 years of relationship. My parents are the reason behind this breakup. Being an Indian, opposing and interference of parents in their child’s relationship is a very common thing.
    I am suffering from depression and I have complex state of emotions containing anger upon my parents, fear of lost of my beloved girlfriend, fear of future, loss of interest in life.
    There is no one who can help me, understand my emotions, give me some emotional support.

    I sometimes have a feeling that I will never find someone who will love me like my girlfriend.
    My quarrel with my parents has made me so much disappointed and this lead me to bitterness towards them.
    I feel like have lost my interest in life. I have lost interest in work, do my hobbies, chat with my friends anymore like I used to.

    I relate your article exactly to my current situation. It helped me to resolve my complex and stucked state of mind. You are right. Every single word. I realized what I am afraid of.
    Well, I am still afraid with relationship issue because here in India, there is a practice called ‘Arranged Marriage’ which I don’t feel good about. But anyways I will figure out a solution over this issue.

    But, your article made me feel better.
    Thanks a lot !!
    Love you.

  • Charnley

    What if your loss is greater? What if your loss is a life? Or more, a safe place? I am a caretaker but if I ever want to persue my dreams then I might loose who I hold dear. I have tried several times before but it just ended in disaster each time. How do I move on and no longer fear loss if I am so convinced it’s certain? Financial is one thing, having someone you care for suffer without your protection is another… and I can’t simply leave or put the burden on another… I’m in a tough place…