I have heard lots of people say that we need connection now more than ever. And although I personally agree with that, there has never been a time we haven’t needed it! We were created for connection. Without it, we suffer.
Research shows that the foremost pillar of happiness is a sense of belonging and purpose. Cultures that are more communal are more mentally healthy as a whole. And people who are alone often get sick more frequently and die earlier as well. Many people argue that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it’s connection. Being strongly connected with others increases our overall health. Maintaining social connections with others can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher empathy and actually improve our immune systems!
No matter how introverted we might be or how strong we feel we are “to go it alone”, we NEED people. Healthy relationships and connection isn’t just a preference (although it is for me :), it is a NEED.
For many of us, over the last year, we have lost connection with others. I know that for me personally, I have felt incredibly lonely. Loneliness can best be described as having the desire and capacity for more connection. As we discussed at our September Exchange, we know that the world of technology was designed to create MORE connection than ever before, yet somehow, much of the digital age has severed connection. And at the very least, has fostered inauthentic connection. Social media might garnish us attention, but seldom offers us connection.
However, when we gather together in person and open up to other women and are able to express our authentic feelings, we experience connection. When we lose the filters, lose the facades, lose the appearances and offer our real selves to someone else, we experience connection.
As a two on the Enneagram, my natural way of pursuing connection with others was attempting to gain their approval and appreciation. But what I have realized is that it’s NOT about being GOOD enough, it’s about being WILLING enough.
No matter your level of capacity for more connection, I would encourage you over the days and weeks ahead to focus on your WILLINGNESS. Find someone that you trust to give your time, your energy, your honest truth and your authentic YOU. Be vulnerable. And be willing.
In this time of Covid-conscientiousness, look for ways to initiate connection face to face that you feel comfortable with. Look for others that are willing to reciprocate. And if at first you don’t succeed, try again. Reach out. Show up. Be vulnerable. Be willing. Find CONNECTION. It’s what you were created for.
* Research taken from American Journal of Medicine and Briana West