Facing doubts about my year of connection

My search for meaningful connection

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Doubts. They have a strange way of creeping up on you.

Only a few days ago I was feeling a real sense of excitement. It felt like I was on the edge of a brand new life – the start of my year-long experiment – which was going to bring me the solutions I was desperately seeking.

I had it all planned out. Each month over the coming year contained themes and activities that I would complete. They would be the door through which I would travel to enter a brand new world. A world that promised me genuine connections and acceptance, all wrapped up in a pretty pink bow. A world in which I truly belonged.

And then, out of nowhere – bam! The doubts about the project, and in particular the first theme of understanding and accepting myself, showed up and snatched away my happy hopes for the future.

‘Understand and accept yourself? Do you really want to accept that you are a middle-aged woman without her own family, who, because of her differences, rarely gets included in social activities and is scared of her own shadow? Really? Is that what you want for yourself? Aren’t you just accepting that you’ve failed?’

In the space of a few moments, my feelings about the experiment turned from hope to one of doubt and fear. I started questioning what I was about to do, my reasons for doing it, and whether it would work. Was I accepting defeat by doing this? Am I focussing on the wrong things?

Nobody else I know feels the need to take on a project like this. They all seem content with what they’ve got.

‘Why would they do an experiment? They don’t need to because they have succeeded. They are achieving what they want in life. They belong. They matter.’

In a word, I started feeling resentful. Resentment over a whole range of things. Resentful that I felt I needed to do this experiment. Resentful that I hadn’t done something about it sooner. Resentful that I have to work so hard at something that seems to come so naturally to others.

But you know what? I’m fairly certain that this won’t be the only time these doubts will rear their ugly heads. I have a feeling they will pop up regularly to keep me company over the coming year, and probably when I least expect it. Just as they have shown up whenever I’ve tried to do something new in the past.

I realise that I can’t let them stop me and I need to be ready for them.

Yes, I’m different. I haven’t achieved what most other people have, and I’m probably very different to most others around me. But doing this is not a sign of failure. Quite the opposite. I can either continue to stay well within my comfort zone, living a life where I constantly feel sorry for myself, getting upset when I feel like I’m missing out on all the things that others are doing. Or I can find a way of managing this more effectively and try to achieve a sense of belonging regardless, or perhaps because of, those differences.

Who knows if it will be successful. But I want to at least give it a go.

And when those doubts start making their appearance again, I will need to remember these words and keep them firmly at the front of my mind.


The Connected Outsider

I have always felt like an ‘outsider’ in life for a number of reasons, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realise just how many other women feel this way. I recently turned forty which has forced me to do something about this, and my blog posts tell the story about my search for meaningful connections – not just with other people, but also with myself and even the world around me.