How has your year of authentic connection been?
Very few gay men seek out and then read articles about loneliness unless they’ve come to the realisation that they’re lonely. The stigma and shame we feel is real, and it takes a lot of courage to even engage with the subject.
I’m proud of you for opening this article. I recognise and admire your courage. Now that you’re here, let’s start getting you connected to yourself, those most important to you and to your community.
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Well, 2021 is all but done. There’s very little to do now but enjoy the festive season surrounded by the people who see us and love us, and we see them and love them in return.
Or is there?
Perhaps we’re feeling that we’re finally at ease within ourselves and are working to put who we are in all our glorious, messy humanity into the world.
Or are we?
2021 has been the year of authentic connection here at The Loneliness Guy. With 2021 about to be relegated to the history books, now’s a great time to review how we went against the connection intentions we’ve set throughout the year.
Ready? Let’s do it!
What’s this all about?
The first blog post of 2021 was all about how we’re making this year our year of authentic connection. It’s time to use the awareness of our loneliness that we developed in 2020 and to use it to become more connected to our selves, those most important to us and to our communities (ie: according to the three pillars of connection) this year.
In that post, I said that we’d be checking in on our progress and reflecting on what we’ve learned a few times throughout the year. Now that 2021 is ending, it’s time to review our progress and make some ‘connection corrections’ and set new connection intentions if we need to.
These connection corrections are an opportunity to celebrate our successes, kindly and honestly reflect on where we’ve not achieved much – or anything – and reset our intentions in a way that doesn’t have us dissolving into a bout of self-loathing and wanting to give up.
Before we start, if you’ve not read the first blog post of 2021, how about jumping off this post to read it? Then, you’ll know what I’m talking about and then come back to this post. Go back and review ‘2021 – your year of authentic connection’ in its blog form or in its podcast form. I’ll be right here when you get back.
Let’s reflect on our progress towards our goal of how we wanted to feel connected according to the three pillars of connection: to our authentic selves; to those most important to us; and to our communities.
We can also review aspects of loneliness and how we seek the authentic connection we need from my content over the last few months.
- The loneliness of change – with Justin Oberste, MA AMFT (blog)
- How to have kick-ass boundaries – with Kevin Moran (blog)
- How to make friends as a gay man (blog)
- Belonging and loneliness (blog)
- How do you numb? (blog)
The connection review
Now we’re getting down to the review (continued below...)
I invite you to spend a little time now in a quiet place and write down, with a pen and paper (remember – this part is important!), your answers to these questions.
1. How connected to your self have you felt? How have you been actively choosing to put your authentic self into the world?
2. How connected to those most important to you have you felt? How did it feel to reach out to them?
3. How connected to your community have you felt? How are you defining community?
4. Have you been setting weekly connection intentions?
5. If you’ve not actively done connection, what have you chosen to do instead?
Final question: do you feel more connected?
How was that review? Did you find it helpful? Did you allow yourself to celebrate your wins (even if they didn’t feel like them at the time?) Did you celebrate the times that you were courageous and did connection? Did you celebrate the times when you chose to be more you in a social situation?
It’s OK if you feel like you’ve not made any progress or haven’t made the kind of progress you wanted to. If this is you, what support have you asked for to help you meet your intentions? Have you set any connection intentions for any weeks over the past three months or over the past year?
Indeed, have you realised that if you've not acted on your intentions to do connection in 2021, you've chosen your loneliness?
Moving beyond our loneliness requires us to do more than simply read or scroll our social media feeds. It requires us to interact with other people and this can be terrifically difficult. But that's why I'm here.
If your answers have made you uncomfortable, remember that making changes within yourself by yourself is possible. However, when it comes to loneliness, this completely misses the point. My experience shows that when we’re focused on connection and putting our authentic selves into the world, we find that the changes we want to make are so much easier when we have a team around us.
For a small monthly fee, you can join the growing community of other gay men who are all prioritising their connection according to the three pillars of connection. I’ll be helping the group to set weekly connection intentions, sharing my own and then helping to keep them accountable in a supportive way. Come and join us and get the help and support you deserve as you work out how to give the world the authentic, beautiful human you are.
As for me, remember that I’ve been right here with you in making 2021 my year of authentic connection. I’ll be reviewing my 2021 in the upcoming episode of my podcast for gay men ‘Connection over Coffee with The Loneliness Guy’ in Ep. 36, available from Thursday 23 December 2021.
Where to now?
Connection is the antidote to loneliness. Join the mailing list (free) or become a premium member (monthly charge) and let’s stay connected as we work to de-stigmatise loneliness and promote authentic connection for gay men.
Premium members join an exclusive group on Facebook in which we have regular video chats and help and support each other as we put our real, authentic selves into the world to get the connection we need. We’d love for you to join us!
Thank you for reading this post. I hope that you’ve found it helpful.
I’m now asking for YOUR help.
Sharing my work really helps it reach more gay men and helps us all to de-stigmatise loneliness and promote authentic connection for gay men globally.
You may not feel lonely and have just the right amount of authentic connection in your life, but sharing this article could really help a friend or relative who may be quietly struggling with the thoughts and feelings of loneliness and disconnection.
Indeed, I'm looking to build an evidence base to test the hypothesis that people who share content that de-stigmatises loneliness and promotes authentic connection for gay men globally make better lovers.
Please share this post by email, a message in a chat app or by sharing my post on social media (hit a social media icon below to share) and let me know if the hypothesis is true.
~ Thank you ~
Important notice: All views expressed above are my own/the authors and are intended to support, challenge and inspire gay men to consider the issue of loneliness and increase awareness of the need for authentic connection with themselves, with others and their communities as an antidote to chronic loneliness. They are not intended to, nor should they, replace the advice of a licensed helping professional. Please consult the Resources page if you feel that you need the services of a licensed helping professional where you are in the world.