In the early days of HeartStories, when I left my corporate job with a dream in my heart to empower and connect women in authentic community, I had NO idea how lonely it would feel. Somehow, it never occurred to me that this crazy-social girl would end up sitting alone at my desk 95 percent of my days, without much connection to the outside world. All the while, planning, dreaming, and creating ways to get women more deeply connected with their closest friends. (I never dreamed she would begin to write either, but that’s another story.)
The irony is that I needed to live it to understand it and serve others in it.
I needed to know, deep down in my core, what it felt like to feel isolated and alone with my dream. I needed to be well acquainted with the feeling that there might not be a single person in the entire world who really knew or understood what I was going through. I needed to know what it felt like to get to my lowest low. To slide down the wall in my office into a puddle of tears on the floor, looking in the eyes of my precious pup, sincerely thinking, she was the only one who knew.
I needed to feel alone.
And then, I needed to experience what it feels like to do the hard work of learning to lean on my tribe. I needed to learn to ask for help, even when I wanted to be the one giving. I had to learn to give, even when I had nothing left to give. I needed to feel the sting of the “good time friends” and see the faces of the survivors, still standing beside me in the wreckage of yet another a “failed” project. I had to practice showing them my cards. The ugly cry, the anger, the hurt and despair.
I needed to feel alone, to understand the significance of feeling surrounded.
Because there will always be times we are alone. You might be in your office, your kitchen, or on an airplane alone.
But being alone, doesn’t have to mean feeling alone.
The difference is the knowing, that you’re not really alone. That you have a tribe that gets you. It’s knowing you have friends who are for you, no matter what. And you can only know that, by doing that hard work of showing up vulnerably with each other, over and over again.
You can do anything if you know someone’s got your back.
Someone who understands, and cares about what you’re going through. It’s true in marriage, business, entrepreneurship, illness, grief . . . anything you can think of, it’s always easier together. Over the last five years, if I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned this.
Life feels bearable, together.
So find your people and dig in. Show up, insist on seeing them and supporting the whole of who they are. And allow them to do the same. Feeling alone is the hardest part of any journey, no doubt.
But feeling alone is a choice.
It’s entirely up to you.
to more love,