I have heard mention that connection is the emotion that we seek the most. We are beings of love and are naturally driven to connect with others.
That must be the reason why, although I read this article written in Elephant Journal nearly two months ago, it has stuck with me. Renee Dubeau wrote about a woman she met at the gym- a complete stranger- whom she connected with, and who shared a story of deep sorrow (2018).
I find it fascinating that two strangers can connect in such a deep and meaningful manner. And this is something that has happened to me in the past. I had a conversation with a taxi driver who spoke about the struggles with his teenage child, sat next to a 90-year old woman on the plane who shared her journey of immigration to this country, and met someone at a cocktail party who told me all about his soulmate. And, I have heard this happen to many others.
It got me thinking about connection. I decided to delve deeper on what it means to connect.
What is Connection?
One of the best definitions of connection that I have found is from Brené Brown who says that “connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment.” (Brown, 2012, p. 145).
Two additional components she included in this concept of connection are love and belonging. She explains that “belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us” (Brown, 2012, p. 145). Love is cultivated “when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from the offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection” (Brown, 2012, p. 105).
But this is increasingly hard in this hyper-connected in the world. Dubeau mentions this as well in her article. She says that “we’re more connected through technology than we’ve ever been before, and yet, we are the loneliest ever” (2018). How can we continue to make connections when we are driven to present a side of ourselves that is perfect, happy, and infallible?
Connecting with Ourselves
I believe that true connection with others is only possible when we learn to connect with ourselves. Dubeau states that she connects with others by sharing her story. Implicit in that is that to share her story, she must be connected with herself to identify the parts within her that will help connect with others. Usually, it is those parts that we least want to share or least want to talk about that helps us connect with others.
Dubeau says that “it is completely normal, healthy, and acceptable to be an imperfect human. Our vulnerability can only help create a deeper connection with people who are brave enough to share their true self with us.”
Brené Brown agrees. When defining connection, and the components that form a part of it, namely belonging and love, she states that “true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world,” and goes on to say that “our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance” (Brown, 2012, p. 146). She clarifies that “we can only love others as much as we love ourselves” (Brown, 2012, p. 106).
How Do We Connect?
We connect with ourselves when we allow ourselves to truly feel and experience what is going on in our lives. That means that we take the time to slow down, put our phones down, get away from technology, and spend time with ourselves. And this doesn’t mean that we indulge in something time-consuming. Even just a moment to breathe can help us feel more centered, and a few seconds to sit still can make us feel calm. When we are more centered and calmer, we are in better touch with who we are, and can better share that with others.
The key to how we act and respond to the outside world is within us. When we are calm and centered we act with more kindness, generosity, and compassion, and that is when we are able to form real connections with others. We are less judgmental, less critical, and more aligned with our humanity. We realize that we are all in this together.
I got an email from The Sacred Science Team on February 6, 2018 that included a quote that I feel describes what it means to find connection with ourselves. I will leave you with it:
Brown, B. (2012). Daring Greatly. New York, NY: Avery.
Dubeau, R. (2018). How a random conversation with a stranger helped me remember my purpose. Elephant Journal. Retrieved from https://www.elephantjournal.com/2018/02/how-a-random-conversation-with-a-stranger-helped-me-remember-my-purpose/