Staying “connected” in a crazy world
This time of isolation has allowed me to ponder some of my thought patterns and I figured that this would be a great place to express some of my findings. The word “stay connected” has been all over the news, social media and everything else and it has made me really consider what the heck that truly means. I believe the sentiment is in regard to staying connected with the people outside your bubble. This made me question what is real connection? How can we cultivate it?
Real connection is something I have only in the last few years totally understood. Somewhere buried deep inside me I understood connection to be any thing that I have in common with a person creates a connection and then that connection can be nurtured or not. This all sounds good until I define what nurture meant to me. Nurturing a relationship to me meant I had to think about what that person wanted and I needed to be able to do that. For instance, if we were deciding about what to do and we each had an idea I would mostly immediately go with what they wanted. This carried over in virtually every aspect of the relationship. I believed if I went along with what they wanted it created connection. In analyzing this I realize that I was not creating connection at all, I was creating a lack of connection.
The reality is, if we each give equally and see one another as we are that is true connection. This
requires both people to participate. When this scale is not equal there is a lack of connection. Now, I understand nurture to be both parties bringing themselves to the party and showing their cards, then together making a game plan. This sort of connection is a remarkable way to exchange love between people. Being a doormat or an authoritarian creates a very false sense of connection one that will not withstand any real conflict. This deeper connection can withstand so much more. As I write this, I am fully aware of how easy this is to type and honestly how much work I still have to do.
My default is to follow the wants of the other person and I find myself doing it without even recognizing. As I begin to recognize moments where I am doormat, I can physically feel myself getting smaller in the space, my confidence decreases, my posture gets weak and my drive to do anything decreases. This is not the person I am nor want to be.
Once I noticed this default starting to happen I was given some advice, ask myself the question “what do I want” it is NOT “what should I want/do”. Asking the question connects you to yourself and allows you to live for yourself instead of the people you feel you have to serve. Do you know how often I have asked myself "what do I want right now". . .not very much. When I started this practice, I couldn’t come up with anything. However, the more I practice the more I come up with things. I want to go for a walk, I want to have some tea, I want to call a friend, I want help from someone. IT IS HARD, however, when I ask for what I want even if the person is not able to meet those wants, I feel more confident, able to fill the space I am in and usually there is some compromise to be made.
I am taking this time to re-establish the connection with myself and then and only then reaching out to connect to my people. I want to bring my full self and I want the same in return. Each giving and receiving. What this looks like for me right now in lock-down is a lot of long walks around the neighborhood, finding a good secluded nature spot to just think, biking around, then communicating and catching up with my friends. Being an extrovert, I recognize now more than ever how much I need to have meaningful conversations with friends.
The point of all this is to say, yes, stay connected to your people and use this strange time to reconnect with yourself. Connection is a human desire and often starts with connecting to yourself, it allows us to be present and fully who we are when interacting with friends. So, what do you want right now?
I want to read your thoughts on this topic. I want someone to write a guest blog post. I want to continue to learn about myself.
Stay calm, stay safe, and stay home
I will leave you with the wise words of the amazing Brené Brown
"I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”