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I remember years ago saying to a friend “I just feel like a fish out of water… like I don’t belong.”
Her response…”Don’t we all?”
I found her words surprising as she was the epitome of the suburban lifestyle that I clearly was not. She was married… I was divorced. She had two kids and a dog… I had a dog. She was part of the couple’s parties and school functions… my friends were downtown, out of town, and just a few nearby.
So when I heard her response it got me thinking…
Is disconnection amidst everyone in today’s society? Does social media, the news, and at times the frenetic energy of our world become too much to keep up with?
The thing is, everyone wants to feel part of SOMETHING. It’s the common thread of being human. We cannot thrive in isolation…community is vital to our survival.
Maybe you are new to town and long for the feelings of home and the security that provided.
A good friend of mine recently moved out of state with her husband and children. On a recent visit with her, I asked “Are you lonely?” It was just a hunch. I hadn’t really thought about how much time she spent each day without friends popping over or the ability to make a quick road trip to see her parents.
The question was barely out of my mouth when she quickly and loudly replied “YES!”
In that moment I held deep compassion for her. My vision was of her as the lucky one with the lucky life and the perfect house and family… when in reality, like everyone, she was dealing with her own feelings of isolation.
Fortunately, she’s not one to sit around feeling sorry for herself. She’s the type who makes things happen! After I left, she called excited to tell me she was invited out for dinner with a group of women from the neighborhood… or shall I say the ladies from Wysteria Lane (anyone remember the show “Desperate Housewives?!”… yes, the area is right out of that show!)
Funny thing is, that “voice” I talked about earlier… the one who says “you don’t belong” “you aren’t part of the cool club” or “you are just a fish out of water here” began piping up in her head. She was so worried they wouldn’t like her or that she wouldn’t get invited back! I reminded her that she seemed to have amnesia regarding they rock star she was and still is. I mean this is my friend who begged me to stay “one more hour” at the dance clubs years ago… who was up for anything fun… who still blares Justin Timberlake in the car. She is the epitome of the “cool girl”… and yet she still is so hungry for community and friends that those parts of her that doubt her awesomeness still have the ability to appear once in a while.
The good news is I received an update and the night was fabulous… and yes, she’s invited back. 🙂
Perhaps you are in business for yourself and are “lonely” for interaction with others besides your clients?
My friend Lisa Attonito heads up the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee and is an angel! She creates different “mastermind” type of groups to share information, collaborate, and grow professionally.
I was fortunate enough to be invited into one of these groups and I have to tell you that this is one meeting I look forward to each month! Not only have I connected with some pretty great women, I have found a nurturing environment to brainstorm ideas, collaborate on projects, and get inspired on a regular basis.
The best part? We meet at the “sunny table”… and it’s seriously a table that is filled with sun! Just check out the picture from our most recent get together.
So if you are feeling invisible or alone in any area of your life… you are the one who can create change! Try these ideas:
1. Like to cook and enjoy going out for dinner at someone else’s home instead of the restaurants? Create a dinner club!
2. Inspired to get out of the same old weekend routines? Think like a kid and create an “adventure list.” Try out the amusement park, rent a jet ski for the lake, go horseback riding, try out zip lining, or the trampoline fun park. You’ll begin to create your ideal community of friends the more you move towards activities that are a “heck yeah!”
3. Create a mastermind group of industry leaders in your community. Invite people of all ages to share their experiences and learn from their wisdom.
4. Be of service to your community by volunteering for something you are passionate about. Birds of a feather flock together!
5. Simply say “hello.” When you are out on your next walk through the neighborhood make a point of waving and simply saying “hi there! Great landscaping”…or whatever you think of! Just start a conversation and see where it takes you.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this one quote that I love as it’s the best tip of all to feel more connected:
“The most basic and powerful way to connect is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we give each other is our attention…” – Rachel Naomi Remen