I often ask people who have gone through a divorce or a death,
what do you want for yourself this year?
The answer a lot of the times is… I want to learn how to be alone.
Most of us who have experienced loss aim at getting good at being all by ourselves.
Well, I am not here to help you learn how to be alone or how to stop loving.
I am not here to help you get good at living in an empty house.
I am here to help you re-emerge into living.
Learning to be alone should not be a wish you want granted.
Actually, it is easy to learn loneliness after loss.
You can get very good at it.
I actually love being alone more than being with people.
And if I am not careful, the older I get the more alone I will be.
And that’s not good for our health.
It is not good for our mind.
It is not good for the soul.
So today we are going to talk about how to start connecting again after loss.
And no, this is not about going out on a date or finding a romantic partner again.
This is simply about being with other people.
The first step should be to try and be with people in groups, where you can just listen in without having to say anything.
Find a group where there are no expectations of you.
It could be at your local church.
It could be in a school meeting for your kids
This step is about being in the presence of people.
Nothing more nothing less.
The reason I am asking for this is because as I wrote here, loss can be very isolating. And the longer we wait to reemerge the harder it is to remove the isolation that takes place.
The second step is to make sure you have access to dogs, cats or any animals you enjoy. Even if it’s once a week, connect with a pet somewhere, at a local rescue shelter or at a friend’s house.
When we talk to a pet we actually use a very loving kid-like voice. It is about fun. A different part of you will come out when you interact with a pet.
I can write a whole thesis about pets, but for today’s letter I just want to ask you:
To find a pet to love even if it’s not yours.
The third step is about sharing your feelings with people who get the journey you are on.
It could be in a private facebook group. Or on email with someone you trust. Sometimes when we share how we feel with someone else in writing, it is even better than having a journal next to our bed.
We get an immediate witness for our feelings.
Find a facebook buddy where you get to help each other with a few words every night.
The last thing I want to ask from you is to plan a movie night with a couple of friends you feel comfortable with, friends who get where you are at today.
They might be new friends, or friends you made through a support group.
Going to see a movie will decrease the expectation of you being present, but still get you out of the house and with other people.
Above all, it is important to not get used to being alone.
Find connection points during this next week even if it feels difficult.
What is the human connection step you will take this weekend?
With so much love,