2021: Your year of authentic connection - second progress check
How is your year of authentic connection going?
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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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. We’re now seven months into 2021 and – after some time away from this blog – it’s a great time to review our progress and make some ‘connection corrections’ 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.
Now that you're back, let’s reflect on our progress towards our goal of how we want to feel connected according to the three pillars of connection: to our authentic selves; to those most important to us; and to our communities by the end of the year.
I invite you to spend a little time now in a quiet place and write down, with a pen and paper, 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 actually do it, or skim through it? 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. 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?
I want to leave you with two thoughts:
1. If your loneliness is serving you and you're using the awareness of the emotion to learn what it's trying to tell you, keep learning. But you're not less of a human for feeling lonely; you're a human who's experiencing loneliness (as we all do). However, if you know that you're lonely and why it is so but aren't doing connection - imperfectly or otherwise - then you're choosing your loneliness over authentic connection. It doesn't have to be that way. You deserve to be seen, heard and to feel that you belong, too.
2. 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’m right here with you in making 2021 my year of authentic connection. I’ll be reviewing my progress in the upcoming episode of my podcast for gay men ‘Connection over Coffee with The Loneliness Guy’ in Ep. 25, available from Thursday 22 July 2021.
Where to now?
Connection is the antidote to loneliness. Subscribe to my website through either a basic subscription (free) or premium subscription (monthly charge) and let’s stay connected as we work to de-stigmatise loneliness and promote authentic connection for gay men.
Premium subscribers 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.
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).
~ Thank you ~
Important notice: All views expressed above are my own 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.