In our society, unity and connection have lost a lot of their importance. We wander through life disconnected from ourselves avoiding our thoughts and feelings cause they’re just too hard to handle. Then, we bring our disconnected selves into relationships with other fellow detached folks and expect to build strong, solid bonds. And it’s unfortunate because connecting with others in an honest and open way is like sitting back on a comfy chair while the Sun hits your face. It’s freeing, comforting and warm, similarly to what we feel in the company of a good friend.
Strolling into authentic connections
I recently got back from a 2-week course in a mountain lodge tucked away in the Pyrenees Mountains. It was 14 days of sharing, learning, listening and discussing about creating healthier internal and external environments to make the world a better place.
Although we were disconnected from the world (no wifi, no reception to call, not even a postman to send out a letter), the connection we built in those 2 weeks was like no optic cable could ever manage.
I felt more connected than I have in years, or maybe ever. My connection with myself and to the beautiful natural environment that surrounded us was like a catapult that launched me into deep and raw connections with the others in my temporary community.
Now that I’m back into the “real world”, the power of communities and connection are the main ideas that are floating through my mind.
Connection with yourself
Fusing the you that you are inside with the you that you show the world is tough.
Many of us don’t really do it. We avoid connecting with our true essence because maybe:
- We wanna avoid the sad/bad stuff, so we cut off the connection completely
- It makes us feel vulnerable
- We are scared of what we’ll find
- We like for things to stay simple and satisfactory; no need to go deep
- Society has taught us the skillful art of constant distraction; it has never even occurred to us
- We don’t know how to
It’s unfortunate though because self-awareness and internal connection are such important aspects for all things amazing; truer connection with others, building a more fulfilling life for yourself and making the world a kick-ass place where equality and love are the dominant forces that launch us forward.
The first thing we all need to do to create more loving and honest bonds with others is to take an honest look at our relationship with ourselves and get that moving in a healthy and honest direction.
You can use this cute little girl as your mentor.
How to connect with yourself
In a nut-shell, you gotta learn to be mindful of what’s going on inside you and be patient, compassionate and loving enough to work through whatever you find.
Getting to know yourself means sitting down and answering tough questions about your minds, feelings, thoughts, ideas, etc.:
- What do you love and hate? What makes you happy or sad? Why is that?
- Who are you? What parts of your identity are key for you? Which parts of your identity were imposed by others or society? How do you feel about those?
- What views/opinions do you have? Do you hold any of them tightly? Were these views imposed on to you, did you discover them yourself or did you go looking for them?
- What situations feel comfortable or uncomfortable for you? Why is that?
- Are there certain people that make you especially comfortable or uncomfortable? Why is that?
Answering these questions helps us better understand the tint of the glasses we see the world through. Knowing the viewpoints from which we see ourselves and the world helps to remind us:
- That it’s our viewpoint and not the only, correct way to see things.
- Of the handicap we might have due to the tint of our spectacles.
A quote I love that that more beautifully says this is: “We do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.”
Connection with others
Once you start taking steps towards being real with who you are and what goes on inside you, you start to notice how your relationships start taking on a different flavor.
You realize that others aren’t (or shouldn’t be):
- Responsible for your wellbeing
- Saying and doing things specifically to attack/hurt/go against you
- In your mind; they got their whole own story going on in their own head
- Perfect; similarly to you, their imperfections are just part of the package
Already having your cup of required love filled by your own self, the relationships with others take on a different purpose. They can be supportive, inspiring, caring, compassion and engaged in our wellbeing, but only as additional support from the care we give ourselves. They can’t be independently in charge of making sure we are ok.
Once we assume that, relationships have the freedom and space to help us bloom. They’re like fellow flowers in a garden. Self-love and acceptance are the Sun and rain that feed our leaves and roots, and allow us to be healthy and grow. Then, the shared soil space and collaboration to become stronger and brighter are what make the garden so beautiful and rich.
Making friendships and relationships of all types on this level is nourishing for the soul. They are spacious, yet present to witness the greatness (and not so greatness) that is you and your journey.
Building strong and healthy communities
It’s from this place that we should be uniting and building communities.
Communities built on trust, love, cooperation and engagement will be the ones that help us move our world forward into greater equality and compassion. And in order to build those, each member of the group must independently carry these base values in their daypacks.
Coming together with other like-minded folks is a great way to combine tools and knowledge to move forward with more strength and power. It is much easier to achieve great things if you are propelled by the strength of a group, instead of fighting solo against the hazards and hurdles of our world.
Individuality and loneliness
Individualism has become normalized in our society.
Living alone in bigger houses that are farther apart from each other means that many of us can spend entire days without chatting with another soul. We eat alone, work in cubicles, workout with our iPods and commute quietly avoiding all eye contact or proximity to others. Even activities that are supposed to be specifically about intimacy, like sex, are now often done with little, to no uniting bond.
Loneliness has become a major issue.
The media and businesses take advantage of this. They create marketing campaigns to sell us perfumes that will make us feel accepted and loved. Others try to convince us to sign up for yet another social media network that will ensure we always have others to connect with. Cellphones are providing us with more and more features and apps to make sure we are permanently glued to the screen.
Yet, we remain lonely and disconnected because Whats App and Facebook are not actually filling the voids of solitude. Mainly, they just help create the longing for more connection, when what we really need is realer connections.
Above all, we yearn for real live people. We crave the closeness of other beings with who to chat, laugh, reflex, love, play, etc.
This is why building and nurturing united communities will help us on our own quests for greatness. If you’re still skeptical about how connecting with others will improve your life, check out my super list!
How these connections with others will improve your life
- Keep you accountable. Surrounding yourself with people who know you and your goals helps you stay on track to achieve them. I often hear people say “Oh, I’d love to _______ (quit smoking, stop eating meat, not watch so much TV, etc.), but I just don’t have the willpower.” Close friends will follow up with how your plan to quit smoking is going. They’ll help you make a plan to quit, and figure out how to stick to it. They won’t try to make you feel bad, judge you or make you feel like a failure if you struggle. But they will recognize when you’ve gone off track and help you see how to get back on it.
- Give strength and support on hard days. Some days suck. That’s just part of the deal of life. Surrounding yourself with a supportive network helps the shitty days be a bit less shitty. These people won’t try to distract you from the sadness/madness/whatever other unpleasant emotion. But they will give you love and a compassionate ear to better work through the gloomy day.
- Easier to fill your own cup of love. It’s easier to remember the benefit of loving yourself if you are surrounded by others who see its value too. Our society doesn’t usually place importance on truly being happy with who you are. In fact, media, advertisements, and marketing campaigns are often designed to take advantage of our insecurities, disconnections and lack of love. By surrounding yourself with people who choose love instead of hate, words instead of violence and compassion instead of cruelty, it’ll be much easier to recognize the value of working on your own self-love.
- Courage to be completely you. Feeling loved and accepted makes us feel safe enough to just really be ourselves.
- The group will achieve great things. A strongly united group has much more power to do amazing things, that one that is weak and disconnected. Common ideas and values are key ingredients to making whatever projects you are working on together, stronger and more capable of amazingness.
- Feel-good vibes from helping others. Let’s be real, it feels pretty good to help others. And inevitably, they’ll be days when others won’t be feeling so great and you’ll get the chance to be their support. It’s a beautiful feeling to be able to be there for someone who just needs to chat or a nice, long hug.
I hope I’ve helped you see how connecting with others is so key. Utilise the tools and apps that are out there to make real connections so that you too can be a blooming bud within the garden. Don’t let yourself stay on superficial levels. Go deep. Be real. Connect!
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