I believe that if I want to feel deep connection with others I need to be deeply connected to myself, who I am, and what I stand for or believe. That doesn’t mean I cannot be connected to people who don’t believe what I believe, in fact the opposite. When I know who I am, when I am authentically me, I feel strong and able to listen to other ideas without fear of losing myself. I can be vulnerable and listen deeply without judgement or assumptions, I can be curious and ask questions to try to understand. I don’t have to agree with what I hear, but I hope I can listen with empathy.
Why go through that effort? Because connection is one of the most important things in my life. And without connection, I have a big risk of being socially isolated and all that results from that, such as bad health, higher risk of death, and more immediately — sadness and loneliness. And having connection in our lives leads to compassion, love, empathy, and shared humanity. That sounds good to me.
But making sure you have good connections does take an effort. I know from personal experience how easy it is for me to sit in my office and go a whole day without connecting with anyone. I love being alone and I love my work. But after a day of solitude, I need to reach out. As an introvert, that can be hard. So I remind myself of how good it will feel to see a friend or call a family member to say hi and catch up, or go to an event with others. I’ve even created a reminder to myself in my phone to write down who I connect with, at least one person a day, and how that felt. Writing that down feels like savoring the connection all over again. A letter, a call, a hike or lunch … you get the idea, all count as connection.
- What makes you feel most connected?
- How do you like to connect with others?
- Write about times you have reached out or somebody reached out to you in person, through a call or letter. How did it feel to connect?
If you want more connection what can you do? I give you some ideas in last week’s blog.
P.S. It’s surprising how focusing on your experience of connection—and writing about it—can help you feel more connected and even seek more connection. Come explore your stories of love and connection with me on February 26. Re-experience those moments and get the details on paper. That experience alone is powerful. And our stories help us build stronger connections. Maybe you’ll find a story you want to share with a friend or loved one. Get your spot for Write into Joy here.