Moving to Central America has got more perks that I expected. For one, I get to listen to Latin music even when I don’t want to. I speak Spanish every day and I get to use my arsenal of Venezuelan jokes. And last but not least, I have my natural tan back.
In contrast, with my final months in London, which were not all that easy, I feel a relaxed, curious and open to share. It’s refreshing to start again. In the last five weeks I have entered a community of people who are genuinely passionate about their work, exploit their talents, travel and love well.
Hand on my heart I never even dedicated a minute to think about how I was going to adapt, make new friends and, more importantly, grow my tribe. I was more focused on finding a space to write, meditate and work. The social aspect came second on my to do list, but it manifested first.
Back a few thousand years ago, tribal environment gave us humans a better chance of survival. But now with the hustle and buzzle of the cities, the 12-hour working day and emotional detachment, that primal instinct has mutated from wanting to be in a social circle and have peers who will fight with you and for you to protect the tribe, to a few texts, some catch-up dinners every two months and a ghosting feeling of loneliness in a world packed with billion souls.
Science behind being a loner says that this “fantasy” is not limited to the number of friends, acquaintances or even marital status, but to a self-definition which tends to attribute problems in social relationships to others and a feeling of passive victimisation. The ‘lonely’, afraid of rejection, sees social threat where there is none, withdrawing emotional connectivity with others to protect her/himself, and as consequence, neither giving nor receiving the tribes’ support but choosing the front seat of continuous feedback loop of misery.
I spent the best part of 2013 all the way to mid-2016 feeling not just single but deeply alone. The fact is my London tribe disintegrated little by little: people moved away, others had kids and some others just had to leave my life for good.
I did have some saviours, but those 3 years where of great turmoil, I wanted to connect and love but didn’t know how. The fantasy that I was alone became so real to me, that I genuinely believed I was totally unlovable, that there was something intrinsically wrong with me: not enough of this or a little too much of that.
The thing about self-definition, is that you can change it any time you want! I did that on 14th December 2016, right at the beginning of a 3-month trip around Central America. And a year later, I must confess I cherish my moments of solitude and silence, and the thought of my poor years of solitude never shows up. Again, it’s all about action and practices so here they come:
1. I got a life coach: I always ask people, whenever one wants to do well at a discipline, sport, diet or job, what does one do: ask others with experience on the subject, copy patterns and work at it every day. What is the difference between those disciplines and building a new group of friends, find a tribe and self-discovery? None, if I want to do well at something I ask for help.
2. Read and do my research: I have some great mentors, they don’t know me, but I know them and that suffices for me. I listen to their podcasts #MarieForleo #SchoolofGreatness #TimFerriss, read their books and anything they publish online #BreneBrown #MatthewHussey #EstherPerel, I subscribe to their newsletters and totally immerse myself in the world of love they share. I even have a large collection of post-it notes with some gems of wisdom from anyone who has made an impact on my actions, plans and opinions.
3. Manifest and visualise: as part of my goal map for 2017, my new story now reads like this, I’m whole and I am loved by many of the 7 billion people that this planet has. I have fluorescent green cards pinned all over my flat (now stuck to my journal until I find a home) with messages like: I’m enough, what’s meant for me it’ll not pass me by, make more phone calls, go out and show up, be grateful, dance like no one is watching.
4. Collect valuable members for my tribe: this is the most important recruitment I have ever done. I go all in when I talk to people, I ask personal questions, connect, joke, confess some truths and show just as I am. I am a lot more cheerful, and approach people from a place of not giving a f@ck what they think of me.
Being Latina is a perk, I no longer see it as flaw or the reason why I never felt I fitted in, on the contrary, is my one of the most defining characteristics and it makes me feel that I can both stand out and belong at the same time.