Standing Alone

Connecting with like-minded people heightens awareness of our inherent unity. When we’re warmly included—validated—it nurtures a warm sense of belonging; a sense that we’re part of something bigger than ourselves.

There are many times in life when other people agree with our principles, beliefs, and/or choices we make. I suspect that to some degree this “sameness” strengthens our sense of validation.

However, there are times when we find ourself standing alone. Maybe we took a different stance while serving on jury duty, or in the workplace, at home or school, with family, or friends.

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“Be strong enough to stand alone, be yourself enough to stand apart, but be wise enough to stand together when the time comes.” — Mark Amend

When was the last time you stood alone?

© Laurie Buchanan

Find me on Twitter @TuesWithLaurie
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57 thoughts on “Standing Alone

  1. Much of the time right now! At least on a physical level! I have all these amazing online connection in which you Laurie are one! I am grateful for all of those connections yet the “real” life connections don’t seem to manifest as brilliantly for me!

    Learning even while “alone” I am never alone in the grand scheme of Universe!!

  2. Is that a crow in the top photo? I love to watch them. You will see one alone like that, but then if he (or she?), spots something the call goes out. Soon all the crows in the area are calling to one another to either gather or flee. I guess that’s a metaphor. Haha. Be able to stand alone, but know when to gather your friends or tell them when to go, as your second quotation says. I’ve had those moments.

  3. When I saw the bright orange zoning notice on the edge of our woods, I stood alone facing big box behemoth Wal-Mart. But soon my neighbors rallied with me to present a united front in opposition. (If there is a crow image on your photo, it was sort of like that.)

    Recently, I was thrilled to be included in a small gathering of writers last month. I received validation (to the 10th power!) as I begin my encore career of writing. I still have warm, fuzzy feelings thinking about it.

    And YOU, Laurie, validate your readers by always commenting here and on their blogs (read that MY blog), and on top of that spreading the word through tweets and twitters all over cyberspace. An echo chamber of cheer you are, my lady!

    • Marian — Yay for you standing up to a big box store. That takes guts! I had the privilege of reading about last month’s gathering and know that it was like a fantastic booster shot of Writer’s Muse for each of you! 🙂

  4. As a single person after a full life as wife and mother, I’ve learned that standing alone is not the easy way but quite often can become a most satisfying way. Learning to live on my own, with only myself as a late night and early morning companion, I’ve come to terms with my faults and failures as well as triumphs and victories. In the years spent “standing alone” I’ve come to realize that I no longer live from one reaction to the next but have chosen to live a life of action. I act on the decisions I make as opposed to simply reacting to movements set off by someone else. When I decide to do a thing, I stand on my own convictions that it will be the right thing for me and leave no room for blame if that particular action fails or falls short of my expectations. Standing alone insures you will try your best to achieve the best possible outcome, not much insurance for success, but you’ll know you’ve given it your all. Great food for thought.

      • Ann, I don’t learn my lessons easily but I do learn them. Much more deliberation and thought go into my actions than I would like to admit and I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about. “No one to blame but myself” is a hard pill to swallow.

    • Sandi — I know beyond a shadow of any doubt (whatsoever) that you’re a woman of action. Further, that you put your best foot forward in the actions you take. I consider it a privilege to be counted among your friends.

      • Laurie, me-n-you been pals for a long time now and I would have to say
        mutual admiration and respect have cemented that friendship!

  5. I have felt and still do most of the time that I am “standing alone” in my life, in the physical human sense. Even having friends we can still feel alone much of our lives. Yet, as Jeff says we are never really alone. I sometimes feel, not just alone, but invisible. I have begun to realize there can be blessings in being invisible to others 🙂 Learning who I really am, deep inside, and taking ownership of those things which are good about myself, life is much brighter!

  6. This post is very timely to the vaccine conversation in this country. Those who have chosen to say no (and even those whose children have had an adverse reaction and cannot risk getting more vaccines) are being marginalized in this country. So much so that comedian, Jimmy Kimmel, has now coined the term, anti-vaxxers! I am sure these families feel very alone and if we stand by and watch this new form of bigotry take hold, shame on us all.

  7. When have I stood alone? Quite often, I think, whether it’s because I choose to be alone as an observer more than a participant, or because my political stance is opposite of many of my friends or because I feel this irrational, rather insane need to see more than one side of any given topic and so I often feel that I may be perceived as argumentative. Or am I simply indecisive?

  8. I have rarely in my life followed the multitudes, Laurie, and wished as a young person, especially at school, that I could make myself be more agreeable, and follow the pack. But I didn’t, and now, in fact for all of my adult life, I realise that following your own heart, no matter what the topic at hand, is being true to yourself, and is the road to happiness in life.

    Isn’t it a wonderful thing, finding like-minded friends, even if they are mostly blogging friends? We are blessed to live in this age, when friendships can reach across the world. 🙂

  9. I recently starting attending a sharing circle. We discuss the big questions and are called on to share our views. I hesitated to join because I thought writing was my only voice. I hesitated in speaking because I thought my views were unique. I discovered that my contributions were respectively received and that my views were shared. Among those who shared them, were those who, for what ever reason, weren’t able to speak for themselves. My advice: never allow (perceived) peer pressure to silence you; share from a desire to build bridges and to raise awareness.

  10. Always.
    I’m fortunate to have a wide circle of friends I adore, and I’m very social when it’s appropriate, and I love conversations and games and play and communing. But I love those things as a solitary and have felt that way as far back as I can remember. Everything and everyone in my life runs through me as another experience to wrap in my consciousness. I’m close to people but can’t even imagine feeling I was “part” of them. They’ve got that handled.

  11. Hi Laurie, I enjoyed your Post today. There have been many times in my life when I felt very much alone even in a crowd. I’ve recently reconnected with several friends from grammar school. It’s brought so much joy into my life. We started with 10 of us and now we’re 150+. I don’t think I’ll ever feel alone again as we share so many of the same memories!! What a bright spot for a 67 year old!! I miss you!!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  12. Thanks Laurie for this thought-provoking post.
    I live with a rare life-threatening disease which is usually invisible. It affects around 1:100,000 so I don’t meet people with it very often. It is called dermatomyositis and the name is offputting and it’s hard to explain. Recently, however, I broke my foot and have experienced such expressed concern over a relatively minor thing but it is safe, visible and not too confronting. I also tend to carpe diem seize the day with a laugh and a smile so it’s not as though I advertise what’s going on. The main trouble I have is when people have expectations of me and I can’t deliver or if I have some unexpected complication. Otherwise, I’m quite happy just to get on with things.
    I am so thankful for all the wonderful people I meet blogging and the friendships I’ve made. They are making such a difference.
    xx Rowena

      • Thanks very much, Laurie. It has its moments but I don’t want to be the living dead and while I have my quiter periods and need a reasonable amount of rest, I do try to get out and about.

  13. I stand alone with a lot of things Laurie because I always tell the truth and shame the devil.
    A couple of years ago I went to a group therapy session for low self esteem ( I have been to many and it was clear that the other members had not ) The woman who took the session was dreadful at the job it was like being in a board meeting . She had the compassion of a flee and had no idea what low esteem was if jumped out at her and said boo . If she’d been a kind person ,who was new to the game, and it was just her way of dealing with the situation , I may have understood . But when I challenged her for her lack of empathy, she put me down ,using her education as a tool , if fact , refused to speak to me or include me in the discussions .
    I am not one to give in and suffered eight awful weeks in her company . The other group members seemed to think this woman was the best thing since sliced bread …I was alone
    Was it just me or did I see right through her when the others did not … I always go with my heart it’s rarely wrong .
    Cherryx

    • Cherry — Based on your detailed explanation, I would say YOU definitely did the right thing. A person who has the empathy of a flea should never have facilitated the meeting in the first place. Good for you standing up to her unkind methods!

  14. Wonderful and concise thoughts here, Laurie. It is my nature to “go my own way” and of course, it is nice to feel my self among “like-minded” friends. I can’t think of any great examples but one of the traits that I admire in my husband is this one. I’ve seen him stand his ground in a murder trial while serving on the jury receiving the aggravation of the other jury members in return but winning a point that moderated punishment in a questionable intent case (self-defense but with irresponsible behavior afterwards). I saw him stand alone un-armed against a gang of drunken men chasing their dogs onto our property after a treed wild critter at night when it disturbed my family’s peace. People who live here in the isolated rural wilderness where we do tend to such self-reliance.

  15. Hi Laurie,

    So much in this post.

    In one sense I have been alone most of my life, and in other senses I have always had company.
    As a very small child I had my parents, particularly my mum. Being tongue tied was a real issue as a baby, it meant that I could not get my tongue high enough in my mouth to get enough suck to breast feed – so I ended up being bottle fed. That was a real issue for my mum, and might be an influence on my fascination with breasts and their form, and that’s a different story.
    As I grew up,the inability to make an “r” sound, made communication very difficult, and meant that the bullies teased me, and picked on me, which sent me into libraries and books as places of safety. So I formed communities across time and space with the authors of books, rather than communities with living people (few of whom could understand me, and some of whom were very aggressive towards me).

    It seems to me that we are all both alone and together, in many different senses.
    We are all each individuals, with our own personal experiences, our personal stories and meanings and choices and pathways, joys and sorrows, hopes and fears,….
    At the same time no human being can exist alone. We become human, we learn language and behaviour, in a culture of many people. No single human can create language alone, it takes many generations of communities. Every word in language carries the shadows of the experience of the people that have created the word, and used it and given it context and meaning.

    We each carry shadows of those who came before us and who we have interacted with, within us, in many different ways. We carry the shadows of the genetic influences of all of our ancestors in our genes. We carry the shadows of all of the cultures of our past in the cultural experiences of life. We carry the shadows of the authors and their subjects from every book we have read or heard or seen, every conversation we have heard or been part of.
    Because I was not usually invited to be part of conversations, I would often practice listening to many conversations simultaneously, and developed the skill of being able to listen to every conversation in a restaurant, as I sat alone and ate.

    For me, I not only have the shadows of all of the various levels of me that I have been in my past, but also my versions of all of those authors of all the thousands of books I have read or listened to, movies and documentaries I have seen and every speaker I have listened to, in every bar and shop and workplace and meeting and street and house I have been.

    So in this sense I am never alone, I have multitudes within me.
    And in another sense, every real other person I meet is so much more complex than the models I have of the people of my past; that real discussion is often far more productive of real novelty than the internal versions (and both have their uses and power).

    As a hunter, and as a trained observer of zoological behaviour, I see similarities in behaviours between all sorts of animals – alarms calls, distress calls, territorial displays, dominance displays.

    So being alone is never alone in a sense, it is always in a context of being, and being alone can be so in many possible contexts.

    I have been alone in standing as a candidate for election to parliament on a platform of using technology to deliver universal abundance. I started doing that 10 years ago, and have done it at three general elections.

    And I can empathise with everything Sandi says. We live at so many different levels, and need to comfortable with what we are at each of those levels, at least to the degree to which we have awareness, and in my case that means with a confidence that I am so much more than I will ever be capable of consciously comprehending; and I can enjoy making the efforts I do, and reaching the degrees that I do; and I make no claims of perfection, only approximation.

    • Ted — yes, Yes, and YES again to so much that you shared. I think the tremendous amount of book reading you’ve done has served you oh-so-well. In turn, helping to strengthen the fabric of society because of your mindset, heartset, and the action steps you take toward making the world a better place to live. I also resonated strongly with your wise observation: “…a confidence that I am so much more than I will ever be capable of consciously comprehending…”

  16. Standing alone can be scary, but it can be exhilarating knowing you are standing for something. I sometimes feel that I am standing alone in my advocacy of my son in his education and his life. There are more and more support groups out there for autism spectrum and moms dealing with the same issues, but until you find the right support or make the connections with others it is like standing alone. I coincidentally wrote about this on my blog this week, it was a piece I had been sitting on for over a month because I wasn’t sure if anyone else would be able to relate 🙂

  17. Wow Laurie. I love it when I visit your blog only to discover you have written about something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. In my case, it is how I feel like I’m standing apart from my own family that gives me a sense of a lack of validation, a lack of appreciation for the diversity that my perspective represents in my microcosm. Ideological differences can be such a bummer.
    So the quote you ended your post with really made me feel reassured. I CAN stand apart and be strong, and wise enough to know when to stand together 🙂

  18. Laurie, I recently stood alone in standing by a student who was brought up for a disciplinary meeting by the district’s child study team. There was issue with another student, and as it turned out my confidence in the young boy’s story was rewarded with an eventual confession by the other party. There are times in life when vibes lead you to take a risky position believing in the end you will be vindicated. This school situation was such a case.

    • Sam — I loved reading your personal example of standing alone. I absolutely agree that there are times when those “vibes” lead us directly to a bullseye. Bravo — my hat is off to YOU!

  19. Thankfully, within my family I feel secure, it’s out in the world that I almost always have a sense of standing alone…what a joy it is to feel small instances of connection with kindred spirits when I am out and about.

  20. As often as possible. That sounds flippant, but solitude in thought and action is not a bad thing. Another thing that comes to mind is when we practice yoga. We are standing alone to benefit from all that can arrive within us.

    • Roughwighting — I think your observation should be made into a bumper sticker: “solitude in thought and action is not a bad thing.” I love it! And you’re absolutely right about the yoga aspect! 🙂

  21. I seem to stand alone a lot. Perhaps it is being brought up as an only child (my sister got married when I was three) but I feel quite comfortable standing alone bothe physically nd metaphorically

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