What an important and vital theme.
In a way connection is life. In life everything is connected to everything else, making it impossible for life to exist without connection.
This of course is on a universal, existential level. On a mundane and human level it has a different kind of significance, still, it is essential. On a very deep, basic level every human being needs and longs for connection. Starting with the need for connection in infancy, simply to survive, it continues to be the nourishment needed for development on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level.
The paradox and conundrum here is that on the other hand of the longing for connection is the fear of loss of connection, and with that fear we have developed “survival strategies” to not lose connection, which ends up becoming the very obstacle to connection. I hope you can still follow me.
In the early years of upbringing we become masters at sensing what the environment we grow up in needs in order for us to stay connected to it. Say one child becomes very quiet and unobtrusive in order not to create more stress to an already strained family. Another child might become extremely self-sufficient and competent in order to take on some of the responsibility that would otherwise be carried by the parents. Maybe yet another becomes very loving and pleasing to take away its mothers suffering. All of these behaviors get formed out of the attempt to belong, not to be rejected, not to lose connection.
Even the rebel and the hermit develop their survival strategy out of an inert fear of loss of connection.
Now, having developed these coping strategy is an incredibly intelligent, in-built mechanism for survival, but it gets outdated by the time we get older and can take care of ourselves, becoming independent adults. The problem then becomes that the very strategies that originated from a necessity to sustain us in our childhood, often become the barricades that now block love and connection from flowing.
As the Persian poet Rumi said so eloquently: “Your task is not to seek for love, but seek and find all the barrier that you have build against it.”
Today, the strength that once supported mom and dad does not allow for vulnerability. Today, making ourselves invisible in order not to be a burden stops us from being seen for who we are. Today, pleasing and giving excessively ignores our own needs and boundaries. Today the rebel fights and the hermit isolates. And yet all are still longing for love and connection.
But it is what we know. These behaviors had helped us to survive, had helped us to fit in and feel accepted. It is counter intuitive and scary to even question them, let alone change them, so many years later. And yet, something in us knows that certain mechanisms don’t serve us anymore. That we carry behaviors and habits that hurt ourselves and others, that keep us away from love and connection.
It is true, it needs courage. It requires stepping outside of our comfort zone, into the unknown. It means risking safety and protection for aliveness and connection. It means facing the fear of loss of connection. It means being daring. It means trusting.
It means showing up with all the parts of ourselves, without guarantees. That’s where connection happens.
Everyone wants connection. The truth is we all need connection to grow and thrive. On an emotional and spiritual level connection is nourishment to our soul just like food is to our bodies and we starve ourselves because we are afraid to loose it. What a strange contradiction that is.
The way to connection is by starting to inquire within which walls we have built that keep the connection out. Where are the places in ourselves that have become rigid and afraid. Have a look where pride comes in or judgments that make you hard and unreceptive. When are you running on an outdated software, wondering why you are repeating sabotaging behaviors.
Change starts with awareness. Awareness allows for choice. Choosing for connection is one of the most nourishing things we can do for ourselves.
Inquire & dare. I promise you, it’s worth it.
Co- Founder of DIMA Mallorca – Center for conscious living & Holistic Counselling