Have you ever felt alone in a crowded place?
I certainly have and I've spoken to many who experience it frequently. Sometimes pushing ourselves just to go out swimming in the social pool is hard enough. This can make it even more heartwrenching to feel unwelcomed and lost out to sea once we've mustered up the courage to jump in. Those age old fears of rejection come bubbling up. Questioning our worthiness of occupying space. Feeling like the kid that no one wants to talk to at the lunch table.
Personally, I genuinely love my own company. I work and play closely with people in my various roles, so I value and prioritize my alone time. But when there are people all around me but none who seem to want to connect on a deeper level, it's a shock to my nervous system.
I frequently remind myself we don’t all go out to socialize for the same reasons. Sometimes we go out to connect with others and sometimes we go out to disconnect from our stressful lives in the company of others. Both are valid reasons. We can only show up as far as we're able to show up for ourselves.
It's not our obligation or even desirable to try fit into a crowd like a jigsaw piece. But there are containers that we belong in, like a drawer with different but similar items. And it's worth searching for the right containers to jump inside. We'll know when we've found those containers because we'll feel energized and nourished rather than depleted and drained.
For me, I find that the best social interactions are made with others out in quiet, wild, natural spaces, or around a table when we're relaxed and eating food, or after a moving performance or interactive workshop with people who are on a similar wavelength as myself. It's helpful to focus on having quality connections vs. a large quantity of them. And the more time we spend caring for and getting to know ourselves the more secure we feel no matter where we are or who we're with.
May we always find solace that no matter what,
we're never alone because we've got ourselves.
You are always worthy of taking up space.
You bring value to the places show up to.
Your energy is precious and those with whom we share it are blessed to receive it.