March 31, 2011
For this week’s audio podcast, click here.
Sometimes I feel like I’m all alone. Even though my relationship with my wife Michelle is amazing, the love I feel for and from my girls is profound, and there are so many incredible people in my life (family, friends, and clients) – I still find that in my darkest moments, I feel like there’s no one who really gets me, knows what I’m going through, or even cares enough to truly have my back. Do you ever feel like this yourself?
I’m facing some pretty intense challenges in my life right now. Earlier this week, I was standing in the center of the circle at my men’s group and I allowed myself to really get vulnerable about what’s been going on and the underlying pain and fear I’ve been feeling. As I fell to the floor and sobbed uncontrollably, I realized that two of my deepest fears have been – “I can’t handle all of this myself,” and, “I’m all alone.”
As I allowed myself to both feel and express the intensity of these painful fears, two amazing things happened. First of all, I felt liberated (which is what almost always happens when we express ourselves vulnerably and authentically). Second of all, I felt the acceptance, support, and love of the men in my group in that moment, which reminded me (both mentally and, more important, emotionally and experientially) that I’m not, in fact, alone – there are so many incredible people in my life who do have my back.
We’re never truly alone, even when we feel that way. Most of us have important, loving, and caring people in our lives who are there to support us – if we’re willing to open up, ask for, and receive their help. And, regardless of how many people are around us, what our current relationship, family, or work situation may be, or any of the other external circumstances in our life – each of us has access to a higher power, whether we call it God, Spirit, Source, or anything else.
One of the deepest and most basic fears of being human is the fear of loneliness – no one to be with us, love us, accept us, support us, and take care of us if and when we need it. Although this fear seems very real and there’s nothing wrong with us for feeling it, the paradox is that we aren’t ever really alone – we’re surrounded by love and support all the time, from others and, of course, from God. The idea that we’re alone is simply a “story” we tell ourselves, especially when things get difficult, scary, or both.
Here are some things you can do to let go of this “story” of being alone when it shows up in your life:
1) Open Up Vulnerably – Acknowledging, owning, and sharing your deepest truth is one of the best ways to liberate yourself and connect with other people in an authentic way (hence, reminding you that you’re not alone). So often we think that if we really let others know how we feel, what we fear, and what’s truly going inside our head and our heart, they will judge us, reject us, or not understand us. In most cases, the exact opposite is true.
2) Ask For Help – As the saying goes, “the answer is always ‘no’ if you don’t ask.” When we have the courage and vulnerability to ask for the help and support we need, a few important things happen. First of all, we’re liberated from the pressure of trying to take care of everything ourselves. Second of all, we give other people the opportunity to contribute to us and be of service (which most people love to do). And finally, we’re able to tap into the energy, brilliance, and creativity of other human beings – which is almost always helpful and is also a good reminder that we have access to a great deal of love and support.
3) Allow Yourself To Be Supported – Being “supportable” is something many of us, myself included, struggle with. Even if we’re vulnerable enough to tell the truth about how we really feel and ask for the support we truly want, it takes a certain amount of maturity, self respect, and humility to allow other people to support us. Even if it’s scary and feels uncomfortable at first, practicing and expanding your capacity to receive the support of others is both generous (as it allows other people to make a difference) and wise (you don’t have to work so hard and struggle so much).
4) Have Faith – Faith is the belief in things not seen or proven. At some level, our ability to grow, expand, and evolve in life is directly related to our ability to live with a deep sense of faith – in ourselves, others, and a higher power. In our lowest moments, when it feels like we truly are alone and that things will never turn around, work out, or go the way we want them to in life, our faith is what can pull us through. Waiting for a “guarantee” or until we think we’re “ready” or “deserving” of support sets us up to fail and creates more fear and anxiety. Having faith in ourselves, others, life, and God is what can remind us, in an instant, that we’re not alone – because we’re not!