We live in a culture that embraces individualism. When in reality, as human being we are hardwired for connection. We are not meant to raise children in isolation nor are we meant to go through challenging times alone. Yet, we've somehow gotten off track and that isolation is where we often end up.
Why is that? For many reasons, but I'll focus on two. The first is that we tend to want to shut our feelings down and keep them from penetrating our thin skin. We don't want to feel the pain, so we isolate. Our defense mechanisms are stepping up in an effort to help us, when in reality, they are only contributing to the deeper problem and causing prolonged pain. As humans, we need to lovingly deal with our pain in order to let the joy back in and to allow ourselves to move forward, back to our true selves.
Secondly, the American culture thrives on what we can do on our own. We tend to admire those who singlehandedly accomplished big goals and we often turn away from other people's pain, thinking that they should really be able to handle those feelings and not drag us down in the process. All of that judgement comes from ego and insecurity. We do better and accomplish so much more when we stand in connection. Period.
Study after study shows that the more we have connection, the more we actually feel connected to others, the happier and even physically healthy we are. All it takes is one phone call from a caring friend to lift our spirits. And when we feel supported and have connection, it increases our immune system functioning and can increase the likelihood of longevity by 50%. Connection is serious business!
Depression is a growing problem in our country. 20% of us will at some point in our lifetime suffer from it at some point. Think about that number. That means one in five people sitting around your dinner table or in your workplace will struggle with depression. That's a lot of people. As connected as we think we are through all of our social media outlets, those mediums are really robbing us of real connection. There is nothing like in-person connection to help us to feel loved and supported.
Going through a dark, tough time isn't all bad, but it is a slippery slope and is certainly not a place to stay in for too long. Much can be gained from darkness. Insight, empathy, deeper understanding of self and others headline that list. Staying in the darkness, though, robs you of joy, love, connection, and even worse, it steals YOU.
When you are going through challenging times, seek connection even if you have to create it yourself. The number one thing I hear from my clients is that they feel so alone going through the divorce process. And the ones who went through it before working with me express just how much they wish there had been something available to them when they first started the process. No one likes feeling alone.
What lights you up? Is it dancing, reading a good book, an excellent cup of coffee, political debate? Whatever it is, look for a group in your area and go. Even if you don't want to. Ignore that pull to the sofa. Ignore that subtle voice in your head that says you'll do better staying home tonight. Make a deal with yourself that if you get there and don't want to stay, you'll give yourself permission to leave without judgement. And if you can't find a group, start one: A book club, a coffee klatch, a mom's group. See if your town has a support group for whatever challenge you're going through. Consider working with a life coach or a therapist to help you through the worst of it or to help you transform into a brighter you.
I love working with people who are looking to transform themselves or who simply don't want to go through the struggle alone. We focus on where you want to go and then we work together to help you get there. My work is to help you to not feel alone and to have connection and support. There's really nothing we can't accomplish together. Here's to the power of connection!!
If you'd like to connect with me, I'd love to hear from you. For a free 30-minute discovery call, reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-980-3661.