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Connection Is More Than a Want, It’s a Need.


The Latest.
Lately, I have been spending a lot of time learning about us humans and how we are wired from our brain to our central nervous system and everything in between. I’ve been totally geeking out listening to podcasts, ted talks, reading articles and new books. It’s really interesting that I am learning so much more in a new way. When I was working on my Masters of Social Work and becoming a State of Florida Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I was taught everything is a pathology and because of that, it gets labeled a disorder. For example, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorder, bipolar disorder, eating disorder and so on.
There has never been a lot of talk or focus on anything other than presenting symptoms and the industry of mental health has been quick to prescribe. I’m not saying medication isn’t helpful or necessary sometimes, but as I sit here today, it’s with confidence I say it’s time to look deeper than the symptoms. 

Humans Need Connection.

As humans, we are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired for connection. Every person wants to love, be loved, and belong. The biggest problem in most people’s lives is trauma. I know this is a hard word for some, but it’s a necessary topic to begin bringing to the surface. People have a misunderstanding of trauma – meaning most think trauma is only the horrific things that happen to people from car accidents to physical assault and yes that is trauma, but it doesn’t begin and end there. 
Trauma has been defined as the response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, diminishes their sense of self and their ability to feel the full range of emotions and experiences. Trauma is also what interferes with one’s ability to connect with others and even self.
When a person doesn't believe they have the abilities or resources to cope with a problem, stimuli, or trigger, they create adaptive behaviors to avoid or deny it. In other words, they will adapt a behavior to help them cope. This occurs even if the behavior isn’t one that serves or supports the person, hence people turning to substances, food, sex, gambling, porn, shopping, so on.

That leaves the question is it really a disorder or is it a response?

Understanding Trauma.

It is not trauma itself that causes lifelong damage, but rather, how trauma interrupts one’s functioning by the destruction caused to the psyche and because of this, people end up disconnecting from self and others. This leads to great difficulties when it comes to reintegrating into a healthy life where people, places, and things are seen as well and functional.  You’ve probably heard this before or maybe you haven’t, “The opposite of addiction, is not sobriety, it’s connection.” I think this is such a powerful statement – the reality is we need connection. We need to feel and to know we belong. 

Unfortunately now a days, especially with social media, there is a lack of resources available to teach people how to foster authentic connection in their lives and social media as we all know has clearly created a separation – making it easier to isolate, live in a false reality, compare, the list goes on.

There is a lack of vulnerability meaning people are afraid to speak up. People tend to suffer in silence. All of which by the way goes way back to childhood when we learned our attachment styles. Where we learned who and what is safe and not safe.

When we separate from connection – whether it be community connection, loved ones,  ourselves, and/or our Higher Power– we set ourselves up to continue to experience the symptoms and when I say symptoms I’m referring to things like the need to come home after work and have a drink or multiple drinks, the fact that outside of work you’re most often alone or perhaps isolated from family because you’re not the lawyer your parents wanted you to become or you’re struggling with beliefs like "I’m not good enough."

We Are All In This Together.

The things that I’m listing off are symptoms. 99% of people who are stuck in the same behaviors, cycles, patterns, or limiting beliefs are usually the people who have something deeper that has yet to be uncovered. You're not alone in this. We’re not alone in this. Every person has a story and the story's level of significance is a result of the meaning you attached to it.

For example, if you aren’t the lawyer your parents wanted you to become and you attached the meaning of “this means I’m not a good enough daughter” you can see how this one event could cause you to stay stuck. This is one example. The point I want to make is that whenever we give meaning to something whether its some event from childhood or a more current event, we give that event power. It's not the events that keep us stuck, but rather the meaning we have given it. The good news is at any moment we can begin to create a new meaning, we can change the story.

Part of my life’s work is to teach people how to form connection by helping them internalize connection isn't something earned from being good enough, but rather it is something formed when one is willing enough.

The question becomes, are you willing and in this case, I’m referring to willingness to look inward and begin to uncover the things that have perhaps held you back or are holding you back. Are you willing to create a new story for yourself? To give the events of the past a new meaning?

If you’re the person who has been looking inward and working on yourself keep up the amazing work. I know its not always easy, but you’re doing it and that’s what matters. There is so much power in being vulnerable. Vulnerability is truly the doorway to a life of love, joy, and freedom. When you’re vulnerable, you’re being authentic and authenticity
is a requirement for connection. I know this to be true from my own experiences.

It took me years and years to slowly let out my authentic self – I still struggle – because it has been years of hiding my authentic self so she’s not going to shine on her own. Sometimes, it requires a pep talk.

The point is the more you allow yourself to speak your truth, live your truth, it becomes easier and easier to be authentic and when you’re authentic it’s easier to form natural connections – connection to self, to loved ones, to your Higher Power, to nature, to music, to art, to life.

I invite you to empower yourself to be vulnerable for the first time or again, to show up for yourself, others, and the world, to ask for help, to become a part of the community, a part of something.

Give yourself permission to talk about your wounds, to begin the journey of healing, to make someone else feel safe to talk about their wounds. We are all in this together. I truly believe to evolve is to heal and to heal is to evolve. It’s a moment to moment commitment and there’s no better time to start than now.


Martin Luther King Jr said it beautifully, whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Here’s  to remembering we can trust ourselves; we can trust other people; we can trust life.

Love & Light,

Stephanie

To learn more about Stephanie, visit www.themindfulliving.com where you will find her books, courses, and other experiences, as well as, events she is a part of. Follow her on Emenator @mindfulliving, Facebook @mindfulliving, and Instagram @mindfulliving.now. Find Mindful Makeover, 30-Day Workbook and Guide, on Amazon.

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