Lonely in a crowd.  Seeing everyone else chat and interact and feeling like I live in a glass bubble.  The feeling of being different, out of step, longing to feel included…how can I see anything good in feeling so isolated and alone?

I started my own group that included others.  I did it, we had a group of about 10 bloggers that truly connected.  It was awesome.  Then someone came on and divided and some bloggers went off line to never blog again that I know of.  I felt devastated.  The place I thought I belonged was gone.  I puzzled for a long time why it fell apart.

It was a loose group of connected people, a delicate balance easily pulled apart when conflict arose.

Then I realized that what I learned from aloneness is to recognize other people feeling alone too.  I felt compassion for those that felt shutout, left out, outside, neglected.  I knew what it was to be alone in a crowd so I can recognize someone else that is also feeling alone.  I also came to understand that NO ONE and I mean NO ONE can help me feel connected without my cooperation.  I needed to change to break through that glass bubble wall.  I also discovered that all those people that I thought were so connected and included also felt lonely.

I practiced connectedness.  I chose toddlers.  Yup, I hung out in a nursery school class as a ‘volunteer.’  I brought their lunches.  The children would cheer and the teachers encouraged them to thank me.  I sat with them after school and read stories while they crowded all around me.  I connected with all these amazing small persons.  I took this practice and started applying it to bigger people.  A bit scary from time to time, well actually most of the time.  I worked at stepping up and stepping into situations that scared me silly but did it any way.  I joined seminars and workshops that discussed how to help students feel connected.  Guess what?  The same skills that help a teacher connect with students help me connect with people.

Greet each person.

Notice and compliment achievements.

Encourage others when they are struggling.

I learned to connect when I allowed myself to feel vulnerable.  I learned a bunch of stuff from Brene Brown on the power of vulnerability.

So what good was my feeling of aloneness?  That feeling encouraged me to move forward and make the effort to break down my personal barriers.  I am aware and watchful for others that are feeling lonely or shut out.  I step out of my bubble from time to time and make the effort to connect.  I start with the people closest to me, family and friends that are already dear to me.

Yup, it was a real stunner for me to realize I was creating my own aloneness for self protection.  I learned it is better to be alone than with an abuser.  I learned that I am worth knowing as a person and the only was people can get to know me if I practice and work at vulnerability.  I learned to love myself and love doing things alone.  Sewing, photography, painting are all solitary activities.

Now I am still alone but I am not lonely.  I can connect if I choose to but sometimes being alone is a lovely time to be with me.


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