Have you ever found yourself in a room with a big group of people but you feel completely alone?
How about when you're attempting to connect with your partner but they're busy with the kids, work, or distracted with everything and anything else but you?
Does it ever feel like everyone around you seems to have a partner and you're the one and only single friend?
Let me tell you this, I have said YES to all of these scenarios in my life. Many times over.
I have often found myself thinking "I am an outsider at this party. No one gets me. Everyone else is talking to someone and here I am standing out from the rest all on my own."
I have also been in a marriage where I felt completely alone. Many nights he would work late. When he came home he would dedicate his spare time to his hobbies and not even attempt to spend time with me.
And the single friend. Yep, I was that girl after getting a divorce a few years ago. Looking around at all my married friends and their new families, here I was starting over when they all had their "person." All I longed for was a partner to fill this void.
I kept playing this tape over and over in my head "It's just me. I'm all alone and no one even notices!" I was just dying for one person to reach out and say, "Rachele, I see you. What's wrong?" I was waiting for someone to reach out to me. I was waiting for someone else to break the ice in all of those above scenarios.
And you know what that made me? The victim to my own loneliness. I was victim to my own story that I kept playing over and over again in my head.
And you know how I turned the page? How I began to cure my loneliness?
Ugh. Even the mention of that word makes me think of that "ugly cry" I do when I actually open up about myself. But I did it. Many times. In front of other people too!
How did I manage to step out of my comfort zone? I hit my bottom. My separation from my ex shook me to my core. You'd think, based on what I said earlier about feeling alone in my marriage that I would have seen it coming but I was blindsided. I was going through the absolute worst emotional pain I have ever had in my life and doing it away from my family.
So what did I have to do when I felt lonely? Cuz boy oh boy did I feel lonely through this time in my life. I had to ask for help and I had to express what was going on for me. I discovered that this expression of vulnerability was always received with open arms and I was always met with vulnerability back! I realized that the moment I opened up, my friends and family did too. This was first step in bridging a deeper connection.
I can't even count how many times I did the "ugly cry" on my friend's shoulders. This expression of raw openness is what helped me create the deepest connections I've ever felt. I feel blessed to say that I now have friends whom I consider family and family I consider friends.
I can happily report that now, when I enter a party even though I consider myself an introvert, I intentionally open up and share the truth of what is going on for me. I am genuinely curious about the people I am connecting with and naturally dig deeper than small talk.
In my relationships since my ex-husband, I express my needs and make sure to state when I am feeling like I'd like to have some quality one-on-one time together. I also willingly share my heart because I can say I now know that vulnerability also creates intimacy. Which is a key ingredient in any successful relationship.
The last scenario was my biggest accomplishment. I chose to be honest and vulnerable with myself. I realized I was comparing my life to my friends in relationships. Yet, where they are in their life has nothing to do with me and how "successful" in life I am. I had to become my own best friend (more to come on this topic..). Since I discovered how to do this, I now feel empowered and deeply grounded in who I am. Nothing can shake that.
I am who I am and I love who I am, ugly crying and all!
My deepest desire is for you not to have to hit rock bottom or go through a trauma in order to be able to express even just a pinch of vulnerability. My suggestion? Start small and start with a friend or family member whom you have known for years. You'd be surprised how your new expression of self can transform a friendship into the deepest level of sisterhood that you perhaps have never experienced before. This is a beautiful thing. Your heart will thank you for doing this.
Love who you are and express who you are.
Trust me. You will cure that lonely feeling in an instant.