My name is Steph Thompson. I live in Brooklyn, and I talk to strangers. On subways, in parks, in cafes, and bars. Wherever I travel, there are those people I learn to trust immediately, because they trust me. And we connect. 

Talking to Strangers is a window onto those connections, a view into those conversations and relationships that get formed when hearts and minds meet. 

Join me in making friends out of strangers. 

  • Talking to Strangers

A Meditation on Love, After Disappointment

Sometimes, talking to strangers can be...disappointing. Relationships with others, like the relationship with ourselves, can be a challenge. We have to believe in the power of love, and persevere. Let these words be of solace to you.

Listen on buzzsprout:


Sit comfortably on a cushion or chair. Close your eyes. Open your mind, and hear me.

People are imperfect. They will disappoint you, because they disappoint themselves. They will lie to you, because they lie to themselves. They will fail to love you because they fail to love themselves.

Breathe. Deeply, in and out. In and out. Relax your shoulders and shake out any tightness in your muscles. Let your body melt into a state of ideal love. Put your hands to your heart and feel, the love. Do not fail to love and nourish yourself with kindness and praise because of the failure of others to love and nourish you.

Tell yourself,

‘I love you. You are worthy.’ When thoughts of shame arise, push them away gently. They have no place in your heart.

Tell yourself: ‘I did the best I could, with what I know, with what I learned about love.’

Love is hard to define, and make rules for.

Speak to yourself kindly, and gently. ‘If I have disappointed others, it was not my intention. I was disappointed. I had expectations that were not met. I often expected more than I was able to give.’

But that happens in love. There is great joy, and great pain. The two emotions are never very far apart. And they can both be difficult.

Speak to yourself, gently and kindly. Forgive yourself for any past transgressions. Feel into the love you have for yourself, and for those who have disappointed you. Forgive, and understand. Love is confusing and raises all kinds of questions for which there are no answers. Life is a chance to figure, every day an opportunity to give and receive love and work through its many complications.

Breathe. Deeply. Breathe in, and out. In, and out. Relax your neck, and your shoulders., your arms, and your hands. Shake out your hands and place them on your lap. Imagine love in the eyes of another, imagine a stranger who touches your shoulder and offers consolation in your moment of need, or directions when you’re lost. Trust that stranger to help and not harm you. Trust that that stranger too needs a touch on the shoulder, and directions if they’re lost.

Breathe in, and out, in and out. Trust. Imagine that your enemy does not exist. That there is no such thing as a person you should fear and loathe. Imagine that people are taught to hate, not that it comes naturally. Imagine that feelings of love for all are right, and natural. Feel the love, and the trust.

Let the fear and the disappointment slip away. Breathe in love, and exhale out all the fear and anger. Breathe in joy and exhale out all the reasons to deny yourself and others joy

There is no reason not to be joyous. Love is an agreement, a pact we make with the world. And with it comes joy if we let the disappointments go, if we have trust and faith that even those we have failed to believe in can offer love, if they are given love.

Breathe in the love, and exhale any lingering thoughts of anger and distrust. Breathe in the love you have for yourself, exhale any misgivings about that love, any thoughts that come up that you are not deserving of that love. Breathe.

Meditate on the power of that strong unshakable love you have for yourself. Let those feelings warm your heart, and fill your mind and body with a powerful sensation of comfort, and joy.

Meditate on the power of your self-love to break through the barriers that prevent you from giving or receiving love from others, that cut through the disappointing things others say or do. Be strong in that joyous love burning in your heart. Let it be a spark to ignite love with even the most foreign of strangers. Let it be a spark that ignites you to seek all that you desire, and not be limited by the fear that others will fail you.

Breathe in the trust of others, breathe out the fear of others. Breathe in love for yourself, breathe out disappointment in the failure of others to love.

Open your eyes. Find something beautiful on which to train your eyes and focus on that beauty. Through the beauty of that object, imagine all the beauty in the world and in others. Focus on the beauty and love that resides in each human on Earth, and focus on the idea of finding that love in everyone you encounter.

Bring your hands to your heart. Close your eyes, relax your body, and thank yourself for the time you’ve taken to forgive yourself and others for disappointing you, thank yourself for committing to bringing great understanding and love to the world, starting with you.


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