by Frank Macri
In the LGBTQ community, it can be hard to know who you truly are. When we come out, especially later in life, we often wonder, “Who am I? Why am I here? Where do I really belong?” For even the most successful LGBTQ leaders, it’s easy to feel alone, lost and disconnected.
Loneliness has become an unspoken epidemic in our community, and it is costing us our health. Studies have found that loneliness increases the likelihood of certain diseases, including heart disease, arthritis and Type 2 diabetes.
This is why it is essential to have deep connections within the LGBTQ community. When we have meaningful relationships, we thrive professionally, personally and spiritually. And it’s these relationships that allow us to show up as the fullest version of ourselves and get the most out of what life has to offer.
Here are three simple ways to overcome loneliness:
1) Say “yes” to connection.
Sometimes, we subconsciously push away connection without realizing it. A few years ago, I struggled meeting LGBTQ people. I was fed up with dating apps and so passionately wanted to find my tribe. One day, I found a men’s running group that was meeting that afternoon. I arrived at the park and saw the men standing in a circle from afar.
My body froze, and suddenly I had the desire to go home. Then, I realized why I was suffering with loneliness all along. It wasn’t that there was a lack of people. It was that I was afraid of rejection. I worried the members wouldn’t like me.
I needed my faith in connection to outweigh my fear of rejection. When I made this shift in my mindset, I approached the group and was quickly delighted by how many wonderful people I met.
Connection is everywhere, and it’s important to say “yes” to it whenever we can. Before you begin your day, invite connection into your day. You will start noticing how many opportunities there are to connect with new people.
2) Surround yourself with conscious LGBTQ leaders.
Loneliness doesn’t mean socially isolated or single. You can have plenty of people in your life and still feel an emptiness in the pit of your stomach.
Loneliness is often a feeling we get when we are around those who don’t see our worth. As speaker Jim Rohn said, we are the average of five people we spend the most time with. This is why it’s essential to surround yourself with those who welcome, embrace and celebrate who you are.
A tribe of conscious LGBTQ leaders can elevate you to achieve more in your life. Invest time and energy into cultivating relationships with people who support you when you’re down, celebrate you when you’re up, and inspire you along the way.
3) Do something different and adventurous.
We are making choices every day that shape how we feel. Loneliness often comes from a series of choices we make that generate apathy or boredom.
In order to break this habit, give your social life a “wake up” call and do something new. For example, if going to bars every weekend hasn’t been working, put yourself in a new environment for a weekend. All it takes is one bold move to open yourself up to world of new connections.
One adventurous person I know who applied this is Mike Gillerman, a gay man living in Los Angeles. At first, Mike had a belief that he was always going to be alone. After experiencing a spiritual awakening, he realized he needed to make some changes.
He started by booking a plane ticket to Seattle and attending the Namasgay Summit last fall. Through attending, he walked away realizing how much he is connected to so many amazing, inspirational LGBTQ people.
If you are called to have more meaningful connections while exploring who you really and what you have to offer to the world, join us at the next Namasgay event. Tickets and scholarships are available at www.namasagay.com.