Humans are inherently social creatures; we are biologically, cognitively, physically and spiritually wired to belong. Much like the relationship we have with ourselves, our relationship with others is conducive to happiness and fulfilment, providing meaning and purpose in the everyday. In an increasingly isolated and digitally engaged world, we all need real connection more than ever, and the profound impact of both human & social connectivity shouldn’t be overlooked.
Connection is not an exchange of information. It’s an exchange of humanity. It’s an exchange of emotionSean Stephenson
In this blog post, we work through some of the things we as humans can do to vibe with other humans, and to feel the benefits of that exchange of humanity in our everyday lives.
Put yourself out there
It can feel daunting to put yourself out there and open yourself up for criticism or judgement, but finding a community of people with similar interests is a sure-fire way to nourish your soul.
We often preach about the power of no but what about the power of yes? Start saying y-e-s. Sign up to a running group or a virtual book club and push yourself out of your comfort zone – the benefit of connection far outweighs the initial nerves, so push through and be proactive. There’s no shame in wanting to belong to a community, we are all hard-wired for connection.
Connect one on one
Conversation and communication are both essential ingredients of connectedness and they go hand in hand. The dynamic of a group is often very different to that of a one on one conversation, and while both can provide fulfilling human connection, that one on one time naturally invites intimacy, empathy and openness. It can be a great opportunity to delve into topics beyond surface level small talk, to ask each other deeper life questions and genuinely listen to one another’s answers.
Participate in the real world
There’s a reason black out dinners and phone-free evenings are part and parcel of our vocabulary nowadays. We have to make a conscious effort to mentally break up from our phones and every distraction on it in order to be mindful of the present moment. There’s nothing worse than having a conversation with a friend only to find them hiding in their phones, having missed every word you’ve just said. To circle back to our first point – seek interaction out.
Kick off that digital comfort blanket and disconnect from the online world once in a while, you’ll begin to notice the vast possibilities to connect are all around you, be it with your barista or your boyfriend.
Be your beautiful authentic self
You won’t feel a connection with everyone you meet and that’s ok, there’s no need to force it. Square peg, round hole yada, yada, yada. Let go of the pressure to be who you think you are supposed to be and embrace who you are. When we are true to ourselves, we are comfortable with being vulnerable; showing all parts of us and cultivating a sustainable relationship based on honesty, trust and respect.
I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationshipBrené Brown
Human connection fundamentally doesn’t work if we’re trying to be something we’re not. The more we unconditionally accept ourselves; our weaknesses, fears, vulnerabilities and imperfections, the more grounded we become in the presence of others, and that’s how we build better connections. It starts with you!
Open your heart
Connection isn’t always a comfortable or easy experience, sometimes it can be found in the moments when you’re at your most vulnerable and that requires a lot of introspection. It means feeling everything! To paraphrase a TED Talk by Brene Brown, you can’t numb the bad stuff without numbing the good stuff along with it.
When you’re willing to be open with your pain and tell your story with your whole heart, not only do you promote personal growth and healing, you encourage others to do the same and that’s a beautiful basis for friendship. Vulnerability is necessary – embrace it.
Be open minded
Long-lasting human connection doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time to build trust and understanding. It takes commitment. It also takes two; two people with the courage to be imperfect for the long haul.
Dismantle the fear of disconnection and rejection
When we break it down, connection is why we’re all here and we are all worthy of feeling it and knowing it. Rejection is a scary MF but to move forward, we have to learn to live and love without guarantee.