• Phil McAuliffe

My theme for 2022: Let it happen

I love a good plan

‘Letting it happen’ is a real challenge for me



Hello!


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.


I wish to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, who are the traditional custodians of the land on which this article was written and published. I wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of Canberra and the surrounding region. I would also like to acknowledge and welcome other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may be reading this article.


~ Phil


* * * * *


I hope you're well! It’s so lovely to be back here in this first blog post for 2022. I took some time off over Christmas and New Year to spend some time with my family and friends. I also took some time away from producing content on The Loneliness Guy to replenish myself after an intense 2021. It was time well spent.


I’m back and ready to jump into 2022. Are you ready too?


Let’s do it!


Living with intentions


I’m a firm believer in the power of living with intentions.


‘What’s that?’ I hear you ask.


Simply, setting an intention is like setting a course in your GPS and then navigating your way to it. Intentions are awesome: you can set them for any point in the future and then work your way towards them.


For me, I set my intentions simply and for a week at a time. Typically, my intentions are something like:


  • Average 7 hours of sleep each night over the week

  • Approach difficult conversations with kindness and honesty

  • Reach out to a friend at least once a week

  • Nail the basics (i.e.: eat, drink, move, sex and toileting before doing anything else) (yes, I get so caught up in what I’m doing that I need to remind myself to take a sh*t sometimes)


For those of you who’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll know that in 2021 I encouraged you to unleash the power of intentions when it comes to doing connection. If you did that, you’ll know the power of intentions, too.


Critically, we need help to reach our intentions. When we ask for help or support, and then receive the help and support provided, we have a beautiful opportunity to connect.


The problem


As 2021 ticked over to 2022, I was reflecting on what my intentions for 2022 were going to be.



It occurred to me – rather suddenly – that I am great at asking for help and support, but often dismiss the help, support, advice or whatever that’s offered to me. I often refuse the opportunity to connect that someone has provided to me.

There are a few layers to this, but suffice to say that if the help, advice or support offered or provided did not align with my values, then I felt very comfortable saying no. Boundaries matter, after all (and it's important to have kick-ass boundaries, as we learned from Kevin Moran). But if the help, advice or support provided was not the same as what I would’ve done myself, or would absolutely align with the intention, I’d say no. I’d brush it away.


I was controlling how I was seen. I was controlling what others thought of me. I was controlling how they helped me. I invested much in the belief that I was the helper, but not worthy of being helped.

That’s a powerful realisation, isn’t it? (continued below)

 

 

Cue Tame Impala


I was leading a coaching call as part of my work with Mike Campbell’s Development Academy in the first week of January and found myself giving advice to a man who was working hard to reach a breakthrough and have a higher level of self-awareness to help things make sense for him.

The difficult truth for those of us who have ever done work on ourselves is that we quickly learn that we can’t force insights to happen. Forcing an outcome rarely makes the desired outcome happen any faster.


I found myself saying that, frustratingly, sometimes we need to set the intention, do what we can to achieve it and then let it happen.

The Australian band, Tame Impala, has a song called ‘Let It Happen’ and it’s been in my head for weeks now.



So that’s me for this year: I’m letting it happen.


I intend to continue to put myself into the world in a way that I feel aligns with who I am in a way that will continue the work I’ve been doing for the past two years de-stigmatising loneliness and promoting authentic connection for gay men globally.


What happens after that is something that I’ll let happen and trust myself to ride the wave thereafter.


That’s a bit scary for me, but I feel it’s something that’s going to be awesome.


You here for it?


Do you also need to let things happen in 2022? Let’s go together!


* * * * *


If reading this post has made you uncomfortable or made you think and you need some help, remember that I’m here to help. I have resources on my page if you need crisis help right now. I’ve also built a team of amazing coaches and human connection experts to help you make sense of your loneliness and to help you towards connection. These coaches and connection experts can be found here and can help you learn from your loneliness and help you towards feeling connected.


Also, 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 help the group to set weekly connection intentions, share my own and then help to keep them accountable in a supportive way. Contact me on socials or send me an email if you’d like to know more and get the help and support you deserve as you work out how to give the world the authentic, beautiful human you are.


Want to chat more about letting it happen? Join me for a coffee and a chat in the upcoming episode of my podcast for gay men ‘Connection over Coffee with The Loneliness Guy’ from Thursday 10 February 2022.





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!




STAY CONNECTED



 

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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.



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