Loneliness is a silent assassin for some of us.
Some people feel the absence of humans more keenly and quickly, but there are many of us who quietly noodle along, contentedly solo, seemingly all gravy but living with the absence of human connection.
During lockdown in London, this was very much me. I felt very comfortable in my own company, and became super insular, feeding my soul by simply walking up and down Portobello Road and getting to see and interact with humans from afar. I managed to still maintain my close friendships virtually but the people I saw IRL were usually Amazon people or staff at the local grocery store.
I was lonely. I missed humans, but I didn’t consciously realise it for a while. Then sadness came my way and I finally let myself feel and acknowledge my loneliness.
After I acknowledged it, I then did everything I could to change it, and made sure I saw my people more.
Our social well-being is up there with all of the other key things we need to thrive. The World Health Organisation states: ‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’
Our social circle matters. Our connection to our community matters. It is a very important component of what we need to thrive.
Now I am adapting to a different life, one that means that I have a partner, and therefore human contact in abundance, but I am also in a new place, trying to find my tribe and create a new community.
Moving country is a trip for sure, full of magical new things, but also full of sadness for the people and places you have left behind. I am both delighted to be experiencing new things, and also missing my community and my people. I feel a longing for connection and at times, loneliness.
I’m determined to prioritise my social well-being, now knowing just how much it matters, and make sure that I make new friends here IRL.
Here are some of the things I am planning to do:
- Try out the local co working space; look out for the person who has her eyes darting up and down from the laptop, and keeps getting coffee haha.
- Go to a few local classes; look out for the person getting there early and staying late, starting conversation as we grab our yoga mats.
I’ve written before about a more positive definition of resilience. Which is really to know ourselves and our emotions well enough to know what we need, and then take the steps we need to take to get ourselves to more stable footing. What I have just described to you above my friends, is resilience in action.
When we deny ourselves the opportunity to feel what is real to us, we deny ourselves access to authenticity. Authenticity starts with our ability to be honest with ourselves first, and continues when we become whole enough within ourselves to be honest with others.
Developing resilience is about developing flexibility
For me that has meant developing a toolkit that enables me to be able to know how to get back to myself, based on whatever comes my way. I highly recommend starting to consider what you might need in yours.
I can’t tell you what you need, that is something that only you can figure out. My toolkit looks a little like this:
Stillness: Finding the means to connect to my body, for me that means using a gentle breath meditation.
Structure: I need my days to follow a set structure to thrive, before that I operated in chaos.
Support: I have my team assembled that support me in different ways on different things, and I am always adding new members (see above haha).
Self love: The conversation that I have with myself when no one else is around and the way that I look at myself in the mirror. The way I forgive myself if I get something wrong.
My invitation to you all is to take a moment think about your social well-being. Do you get to spend time with a variety of people who light you up? Do you need to add a few more in, and create the space to meet new humans?
How can you feed and water your community this week?