Building the Case for Connection
Connection is more powerful than we tend to realize. It’s actually fuel. It gives us energy and builds us up. It fills our tanks and makes us feel more complete - more whole.
We all desire connection. Some of us long for it more deeply than others, but in the end, it’s a basic human need. And for this very reason, the feeling of disconnection, when it arises, can be extraordinarily painful for us to experience - unbearable, even.
Have you ever have a period in your life when you felt separated in that sort of way? -utterly disconnected, and like you were all alone in the world?
I have, and I’m guessing that you have too.
We often experience it, at least in small doses, during our teenage years. Our bodies morph on us, we’re psychologically caught in some sort of bizarre purgatory between being kids and adults, and we go through spans during which - no matter how popular we are - we feel misunderstood and completely on our own.
But for me, the feeling of disconnection really took hold - and I mean really dug its pernicious fucking claws in deep - when I found myself in the midst of a divorce in my twenties.
For some reason, following my husband’s departure, our house didn’t just feel the one-person-more-empty that it should have. No, no, no, no - the place felt downright barren. Seriously, swear to God, it started to echo.
And the thing is, by no means was I on my own in the world. I mean, sure, I was “alone” in the sense that I was suddenly living by myself in a 3-bedroom single family home in suburbia. But I had an amazing group of friends I could reach out to and a family that loved me.
The problem was, despite how deeply they may have wished to provide me with strength and support, not only was most of my existing support network unable to relate to what I was going through, but they could do very little (if anything at all) to lessen the pain I was experiencing or to make me feel less disconnected, less alone. This was something that they couldn’t face for me.
That process of getting divorced proved to be one of the most isolating experiences of my life. But I overcame it. And it was actually connection that got me through it.
You see, I found a friend who was also going through the divorce process, and having that common link and being able to rely on our shared kinship while navigating something we never wanted to experience and couldn’t have imagined transpiring gave us the strength we each needed to get through the pain and uncertainty of it all. We’re good friends to this day.
Unfortunately, sometimes you have to face certain life experiences alone. Because there’s no other way for you to truly learn from them and grow through them. But at other times, finding someone else out there who can relate to what you’re going through, hold your hand, and face it alongside of you can make all the difference.
Struggling through that period of my life showed me firsthand that we are incredibly vulnerable when it comes to the power that connection has over us.
My experience served to teach me how positive and valuable connection can be in our lives. And, in fact, the act of connecting with others can confer significant health benefits. Really. Studies have shown that social connections can serve to improve both our physical health and our psychological well-being.
Connection can even have a beneficial impact on the length of our lives. I know, crazy, right?! Look it up.
Of course, the flip side is also true: a lack of social connection can negatively impact one’s health and well-being. Disconnection can also prove to be incredibly disempowering.
But you don’t have to succumb to it. The beauty of living in this day and age is that so many of us have the choice to reach out and connect in ways that we weren’t able to even ten years ago. And sure, some of those new means of connecting might be a bit superficial in nature. But more than ever before, when it comes to achieving connection, the responsibility lies with us.
And it’s vital that we recognize how powerful and beneficial connection can be in our lives. Because our desire to connect brings us together, and we’re stronger together than we are apart.
So here’s my challenge for you--
Option 1: Reach out to someone whose work or art or actions have resonated with you, and let them know it. Maybe even open up to them and share a bit of your own story, your own truth. If they have their own business, consider writing them a positive review on Google, Facebook, or Yelp.
Option 2: Connect two people in your world/network who you think would benefit in some way from knowing each other (even if just by becoming friends).
But please either choose to connect with someone on a personal level or help to bring other people together. Because we all deserve love and connection.
By giving greater credence to the power of connection and by forging more alliances like these, we can make a positive contribution to the world around us. And given its present state of division and conflict, I think the world could use as much connection and unity as it can get.