You know how important connection is to relationships and a fulfilling life—you wouldn’t be here otherwise. Connection is one of those things we talk about in a vague way as if everyone just has it and you can find it conveniently. But I don’t think that’s true. Connection is something special and I believe it requires awareness on our parts to be sure we are supporting it the way it needs to be supported to thrive. Connection is a process—but first we have to be open to it.
We don’t need anything more than we need each other.
We do our best work within the context of safe, healthy relationships. That does not mean you have to have a partnership to do your best work—not at all. And time on your own is valuable, too. I mean that when you have people who hold you accountable (friends, family, your therapist), you are more likely to follow through and do the work you’ve set out to do. You are going to show up for yourself in the way you deserve if someone is there reminding you how important and valuable and worthy you are. Because it’s true.
Our own personal work will help us heal the collective. Connection benefits all of us. If we are avoiding connection, avoiding ourselves, avoiding the potential pain that can accompany true vulnerability and depth, we can’t really heal. Healing starts at home, with you. It starts with slowly opening yourself up to the fact that you are one tiny piece of the puzzle, understanding that every piece is important. Your healing work will ripple into the collective and we will all feel it.
Please give yourself the space to do the work. Doing the work does not look like doing the same thing you’ve always done or saying you will do it and not doing it; doing the work is truly committing to your healing, asking your friends and partners and important people to expect the best from you and gently holding you accountable when you don’t treat yourself well or you engage in the old patterns that no longer serve you. Doing the work looks like making yourself uncomfortable now in service of your future self. Doing the work is growing and growing often feels a little painful—but not so painful that you can’t tolerate it. You can do this. And we need you to.
We need to know what gets in the way of us feeling fully connected, safe, and comfortable in relationships so we can learn to gently move those old patterns out of the way and claim the connection and love we deserve. The longer we live with our fear of connection, the more comfortable it feels. The more natural it seems. The more we get used to our isolation and loneliness.
Here are some of the barriers to connection I have witnessed:
Cell phones (more to come on this topic because they are seriously interfering with our ability to connect and maintain focus with each other)
inability to be fully present/FOMO (fear of missing out in other aspects of life)
Work life is prioritized over other aspects of living (possibly feeling more fulfilled by work commitments than relationship commitments)
Being over-scheduled/too busy
Fear of rejection
Over-sharing before the relationship structure is ready to hold that level of vulnerability
Fear of failure/not being good enough
Fear of big feelings
Fear of potential pain/loss
Past traumatic relationship experiences
Which of these resonates for you? What are your barriers to connection? What gets in the way of you showing up fully in relationships?
I would like you to take some time to notice your own barriers to connection. We all have them to some degree. What do yours look like? When do you notice them most? What do they keep you from?
I know it can feel scary sometimes to get clear with yourself about how you are showing up in your life. When we take inventory in that way, we get closer to acting on our knowing. Let’s be honest with ourselves and with each other about where we want to improve and what we want to make better. We owe each other that. Uncovering the truth is just the beginning. Once we have that, we can create a path forward.
I love this haiku by Mizuta Masahide about the importance of uncovering the truth:
barn’s burnt down
now I can see