“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.”
– Mark Twain
Recently I shared this quote as part of a module in The Hurray House Method inside my new membership program, The Hurray Clubhouse. The Beta members of this group are discovering how to stop apologizing for their emotions while learning to love themselves inside, outside, and underneath™. It’s an exciting and deep exploration into love, and as with anything I teach: it all starts inside.
Please note this is a series of blogs on Connection During Covid. This is part 1 of 3.
I believe that words matter so I wanted a more positive way to relate to Mr. Twain’s quote. If loneliness is the worst, what is the best? I was surprised to see that we don’t really have a great antonym for “loneliness”. But when I thought about it, the answer was so clear. The opposite of loneliness is connection.
We are all in need of connection – especially right now. Covid and the crisis surrounding it has literally shut us up in our own homes and disconnected us from physical connection with friends, loved ones, colleagues, and even neighbors in our communities. We are seeking connection with others. And yet, we also have an opportunity for deep connection that starts from the inside, out. True and deep connection starts within.
Here’s what I mean. When I moved from NYC (my home for over 16 years) to rural Oklahoma in the Fall of 2019, I was devastated by loneliness. I moved from a hustling and bustling city, filled with millions of strangers and friends, events, networking gatherings, co-workers, and energy. The extrovert in me was filled up with the light of others. I was the person who went out for an event, casual cocktail, business dinner, or some kind of retreat or wellness gathering at least 4 nights a week. Plus I was in a choir once a week. Plus I had friends around every corner. Plus I was a regular at the yoga studio. Plus I worked in a co-working space where we’d hang out and gather around. Plus plus plus. I was always connected.
But not in Oklahoma. In OK I was suddenly feeling very disconnected from my friends, colleagues, and neighbors. As a person who deals with an anxiety disorder this caused a lot of stress and I was constantly battling difficult feelings of sadness and worry. I asked for divine guidance on what to do, and the answer came up as: connection. The depression and anxiety I was feeling tempted me to lock myself indoors and give up. The cure was connection. And I knew it didn’t just mean getting out to interact with other people. I knew true connection needed to journey from the inside, out.
My way of saying hurray is to start on the INSIDE, then work my way UNDERNEATH, then to OUTSIDE. FYI, this is what I mean:
- Inside: relationship with your emotions, self talk, divine connection, your “inner” life. Your self image.
- Underneath: relationship with your physical body and what’s underneath your clothes. Your body image.
- Outside: relationship with those around you, your work in the world, how you present yourself to the world, your “outer” life. Your public image.
So I started with Inside, and worked my way out from there. I began to connect with my feelings and divine guidance and really see, feel, and understand what was going on inside of me. I forgave myself for any misbeliefs around my safety, lovability, or feelings. When I lovingly worked through that, I moved underneath. I honored what my body needed and connected to it with breath, movement, baths, and rest. I put on gorgeous, well fitting lingerie!
And finally I moved outside. I did my hair and makeup (a practice that really helps me feel my most me) and made a promise to “dress like me no matter what”. As in, not be afraid to show up and dress up like the NYC lady I am, even in the dusty streets of rural Oklahoma! At the time, one of the most difficult things was finding connection with others because I didn’t know anyone! As an experiment, I challenged myself to interact with one new person a day. It got me out of my home and into connection with others. I chose a shop on Main Street and walked in and simply introduced myself. This is simple but it was not easy! I gave myself little pep talks like “they’re going to love you!” and “meeting new people is fun!”, and took a deep breath before heading inside the store. And you know what really helped? All the inside work I did beforehand. I had addressed my feelings and fears, I had wiped away the worry, and I had lovingly called in divine guidance. That is why I start from the inside first.
Connecting inside first is important, because when we get to know, understand, and love ourselves first we are more able to know, understand, and love others. Connecting with ourselves makes connection with others even better. Hurray!
I practice this “inside to outside” connection all the time. It’s something that you can practice, too! And now during this Covid crisis we are all physically holed up in our homes and need new ways to connect. I think these simple connection ideas can be useful for just about everyone. I hope they bring you some hurray.
This particular blog post will focus on the very first step: INSIDE. Look for parts 2 and 3 for Underneath and Outside connection suggestions!
How to Connect INSIDE
We start here, on the inside, because the relationship with yourself and a form of divine guidance is the first building block in our foundation of how you be, do, and live. If we focus on outside connection first, we are ignoring the most important relationship opportunities that we have: the relationships with ourselves. Our relationship with who we are, and to our faith is critical to examine and nurture because our relationship with our bodies, and with other people are all based on it. To connect to yourself inside, you can try out the following practices.
- Set a date. Maybe it’s a coffee date, or a fancy dinner for one. Maybe it’s simply a chunk of time you have dedicated to do some inner work. Maybe it’s signing up for a course and creating the space to walk through this kind of work with real intention. Either way, making the space and time for connection with yourself will provide the room for exploration.
- Gather your tools. Maybe it’s a journal and pen, maybe a guided meditation, maybe it’s coursework or a book. Decide how you want to walk through some connection with yourself and gather your resources and tools to do so! (Hint: some are below!)
- Practice compassion. Connecting with your inner life can bring up a lot of worries, fears, or old stories. I highly encourage you to drop any judgement of being “good or bad” or “right or wrong”, and be open to observation. Trust that whatever is coming up is doing so for your highest good and the highest good of everyone involved. Use a lens of love and connect with your thoughts, feelings, and worries with compassion.
- Be Open. In the process of connecting with yourself, you may uncover some new and even surprising things. Be open to what you find! Get to know the goofy and silly sides of you. Lovingly venture into the darker, messy, less “presentable” part of you. Take it all in as one big creation that is the glorious, beautiful, perfectly imperfect, YOU.
- Call in guidance. If you have a particular faith or feel supported by a higher power or guide, call that energy into this inner exploration. You may be solo as a person, but you are never alone. Ask for spiritual support as you go through this connection, knowing that connecting with divine guidance is a form of inside connection and will support you when connecting to your emotions, thoughts, and more.
One of the best places to start is with my INSIDE resources page on this very website! At the top of the page are some of the most powerful resources to try, and below that are blog posts categorized by what you may need right now. Take a look at the top six here, and explore further when you’re ready. Which one calls to you now for some inner connection?
- Self Forgiveness Tools
- Uncover Your Confidence
- Own Your Perfect
- How I Deal with Anxiety
- Hurray Affirmations
- Four Simple Gratitude Practices
Additionally, you may find this inner exploration helpful. I hosted this meditation right as things started shifting and we started to be more home-bound during Covid-19. It’s a sweet guided visualization and group meditation on feeling at home, safe, grounded, and at peace.
- Guided Visualization and Meditation: Hurray Home Meditation
Want to explore more? These blog posts have resources for you to read, use, and put into practice when learning to connect INSIDE with yourself, your emotions, and your heart. See which work for you, or spark a new way of being within you.
- Why Values Matter
- How to Set Hurray Goals
- From Hurry to Hurray
- Spring Clean Inside, Outside and Underneath
- Hurray for Truth or Dare with Yourself
- How to Lovingly Reveal Yourself
- Hurray for Four: Ways to Keep Promises To Yourself
- How to Date Yourself
- How to Awaken Your Inner Muse
- Say Hurray for Your Morning Routine
- Say Hurray for the Journey
- How to Find the Silver Lining
- Self-Care with the Elements
- Giving Thanks for the Tough Stuff
- How to Have a Hurray Vacay Anytime, Anywhere
Remember: we are currently experiencing an especially stressful and strange time during the Corona Virus. Collectively, and personally, we are in need of connection because we are physically and emotionally separated. It can feel lonely right now. You may feel worried and stressed, or even bored! That means we need even more connection than before. Connection is a cure for loneliness, and it starts on the inside.
PS: Looking for a virtual community that helps you connect inside, outside, and underneath™? Check out the Hurray Clubhouse and join us when the doors are open or sign up for the wait list!
Your Turn: How do you connect with your feelings, heart, and faith? How do you explore inside of you? What deeper level of connection will it serve you to make room for during this pandemic, and beyond? Which practices do you want to add into your regular rituals? Try out some of these practices and let me know your thoughts on my Instagram!
Credits: Photos were taken by the lovely Becky Yee. These photos were taken in Paris and Puerto Rice on Hurray Vacay trips. No airbrushing my face or body, ever. Hurray!