Last year, my two youngest children were in a school production of Winnie The Pooh. I’d all but forgotten the deep wisdom to be gleaned from the pages of A.A. Milne’s Tales of Winnie the Pooh, but the lessons came flooding back to me as I listened to my littles sing their hearts out.
Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore and the rest of their forest friends explore a number of deep truths within the pages of this classic collection of children’s books, giving us memorable lines like:
Rivers know this; there is no hurry. We shall get there some day. – AA Milne
You are braver than you believe. Stronger than you seem. And smarter than you think. – AA Milne
The things that make me different are the things that make me. – AA Milne
And then this little gem:
Let’s talk about that one for a moment, shall we?
I think we may be reaching a crisis level of “sitting in our own corner of the forest.” In fact, it’s like we’re playing a giant game of hide-and-seek but no one is seeking!
So many of the women I talk to through my work are starving for deeper relationships. Most of them have plenty of friends, but feel like there is no one in the group who really knows them.
They worry that everyone else already has a tight inner circle and they’ve somehow missed the boat.
They feel like it may be too late for them to develop real and lasting relationships with people who can help them wrestle with the big questions in their lives.
They think back to the last time they really felt known (which almost always was in college) and mourn the loss of those friendships, concluding that it’s just not possible to re-create them.
They’ve quietly resigned themselves to going it alone.
Maybe you’re feeling this way, too.
If you are, then let this statement settle into your bones.
You are NOT the only one.
You are in all likelihood surrounded by people every day who also feel alone. People with stories to share and wisdom to offer. People with hurts to be healed and dreams to be fulfilled. People who share your passions and interests who are waiting to be invited in.
Social media can make us feel like a spectator – like we’re watching everyone else’s life unfold online while we sit in the audience. But you’re not in the audience; you’re in the show. You actually have a life. And it will be richer and more fulfilling if you live it connected to other people.
You are one shared story away from connection.
You are one conversation away from feeling understood.
Be the one who bravely reaches out and starts that conversation. Get out of your corner of the forest.
I hear time and again “I just don’t know how to meet the kind of people I want to meet.” My answer is always the same.
BE the kind of person you want to meet.
Go do the things you love to do. Make the things you like to make. Start the conversations you want to have. People will rise up to meet you (or they won’t and you’ll find others who will). But if you set the tone and stay the course, eventually your tribe will emerge.
Who’s in your tribe? These are your people – the ones who just seem to get you, the ones who accept you as you are while helping to make you an even better you. You’ll know them when you meet them. They may not look the way you expect them to look or be where you think they’ll be, but when you find them your connection will run deep and you’ll feel it to your core.
Maybe it’s time to seek. Or maybe it’s just time to let yourself be found.
*A version of this post first appeared on this blog in October 2015.