Inside: Episode five of The ALIP Podcast: Rebranding Middle Age. We are wired for community and need each other.
“We learn from an early age that ‘masked and armored’ is the safe and sane way to live” writes Parker Palmer in A Hidden Wholeness. We are wired for connection – we need each other. Yet there is an epidemic of loneliness in the world and it’s getting worse.
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Loneliness has the same health impact as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and increases risk of premature death by 29%. A 2021 Canadian survey reported that more than 1 in 10 people are always or often lonely. 3/10 said they are sometimes lonely. And a 2020 loneliness report shared that 52% of Americans feel lonely and 47% say their relationships with others do not feel meaningful.
As an HSP and strong introvert I crave deep heart-to-heart connection. But I’ve also had to learn to move against my instinct to withdraw or isolate and instead make a bid for connection when feeling low, and to risk vulnerability and get creative about forging healthy relationships and community.
We need to grapple with this paradox: We are wired for connection and we need each other. But also, it’s often better to be alone than to remain in unhealthy spaces / relationships.
SOME KEY IDEAS
- There are many factors that contribute to midlife women feeling lonely or disconnected. We all have an internal story of connection or protection – what’s your story?
- Loneliness has many negative health impacts. Loneliness and solitude are not the same thing. It’s possible to feel lonely in a crowd.
- Social support and social connection are not the same thing; they are both important. If we have social support without social connection, we can still feel lonely.
- All of us have a bidirectional Circle of Impact; we need to choose our inner circle(s) wisely. Emotions (including loneliness) are contagious as are mental states, positive or negative.
- Not every relationship is forever.
- Healthy relationships must include healthy boundaries and brave conversations.
- EQ is a predictor of happiness in relationships. 4 key components of EQ: self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness or empathy, social skills.
- Befriend Your Inner Critic Workshop, Sep 6 (registration closes Sep 1): https://www.alifeinprogress.ca/befriend-your-inner-critic-workshop/
- The Brave + Beautiful Membership Community, early registration for Autumn Session runs Sep 4-16 (join the BB early / join the Seasonal Transition Call free): https://www.alifeinprogress.ca/membership/
- The Midlife Crossroad PDF (free / follows season 1 of this podcast): https://www.alifeinprogress.ca/the-midlife-crossroad/
- Boundaries Workshops: https://www.alifeinprogress.ca/workshops-for-your-life-in-progress/
- The Circle of Impact Exercise: https://www.alifeinprogress.ca/the-circle-of-impact-exercise/
The Midlife Crossroad
Midlife can be messy! It’s a time of truth-telling, important transitions, and invitations to growth. Here are 7 powerful truths to help midlife women (re)claim freedom, health and joy amid the messiness.