Start with the self

Joey Garcia

Everything is going wrong in my life. I don’t have any real friends. I reach out to people but they don’t reach back. They don’t seem interested in spending time with me. I never married and have no kids. My parents are deceased. I am completely alone and feel like no one will ever love me or care about me. I work remotely for an out-of-state company and just found out I will be laid off at the end of June. I feel frozen and unable to deal with finding another job. Please help.

Here I am, reaching back to you. I can’t become your best or only friend. I can’t hang out with you to save you from your loneliness, either. But I can tell you things a caring friend would tell you. Like this: You are in charge of creating a life that brings you joy and fulfillment. That doesn’t mean you will never feel sorrow, stress, heartbreak, fear or frustration. The process of creation includes every emotion—ask any maker who is willing to be honest. And yes, there are times in life when it seems everything is topsy-turvy. It’s hard to face and endure, and yet it’s also a juicy invitation to muster the courage to find one thing—no matter how teensy—that is exactly as it should be. Focus your attention on that thread of goodness. Do it until you remember that empowering feelings are possible for you. Be sweet to yourself. Cook a favorite farm-to-fork meal, take a hike to your happy place (or a reasonable facsimile), read an inspirational book like Danielle LaPorte’s “White Hot Truth: Clarity for Keeping It Real on Your Spiritual Path from One Seeker to Another.” Or be still and experience your divine connection to Source. Small gestures of self-compassion are reminders that we are not alone. Each of us lives in a world of our own creation and in a world we co-construct along with our billions of brothers and sisters on the planet and all of creation. Learn to travel between the two worlds as needed.

One good thing about your job situation—it’s an opportunity to decide whether you want to work among others instead of remotely. It might be nourishing to spend your day among co-workers. But if you are not included in their conversations or outings, and want to be, you will suffer. You can remove the want and be free. Or determine reasons for the exclusion. Self-study can help. Poor hygiene or emotional issues like neediness or an obsession with boring conversation topics pushes others away. A more likely culprit: Trying to connect to a tribe that doesn’t recognize you as one of their own. Think of fairy tales and rom-com film plots, like the pauper attempting to win the affections of a princess or a nerd trying to hang out with the jocks. Films and fairy tales have endings not frequently experienced in real life. In reality, isolation turns into invitations when we connect to our true tribe. In the meantime, pour energy into belonging to yourself. Becoming your own best friend is one of the kindest, most compassionate acts of service you can perform.

Meditation of the week
“People talk about physical fitness, but mental health is equally important. I see people suffering, and their families feel a sense of shame about it, which doesn’t help,” says the actress Deepika Padukone.

Are you certified in mental health first aid? Learn more at

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