Updated: Jan 15, 2021
I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship - Brene Brown
We live in a world of connection but have we lost the ability to truly connect? To know what matters to one another, to really hear what someone is saying in their heart. To look behind the words we hear and see that person for all that they are.
The gift of connection is the gift of acceptance. It is the gift of understanding another's deeply felt insecurities and vulnerabilities. It tells someone that they're safe, that you will hold them and will listen without judgment.
It is the gift of belonging. To let another feel that you are one of us, just like us. Just like you, who has been through things too.
Numbers don't count. What counts is the number of people you have opened your heart too and who have opened their heart to you. That is where real connections form.
It is not always easy. We have layers and layers of hurt, that has closed us off from this openness. It takes someone we trust, that can listen, to unpeel and expose what is hidden. It takes someone to share their story of pain, to create that opening within us. That opening, quick to close if not seen. You see trust is built on what we share and from another being there when we do.
"We can wait until we trust before we reach out or by the very act of reaching out we build trust."
This took me a while to realise this. The more I started to share what was going on for me the more I knew who I could trust. I realised that people really want to help if you just let them in. I learnt that it is by only letting someone in can you get the help you really need to move forward. Getting my feelings out there and showing more of me was hard but it was much harder to be with those feelings on my own.
The big opening happened during a difficult time in my life. It was the catalyst for me to reach out and be vulnerable as that is all I could be. My tightly held facade was gone, I was exposed, I was raw and needed some real support.
I am lucky to have some amazingly supportive friends in my life. All were there for me during this time and supported me in different ways. I had friends that would regularly check-in and listen. Friends that would help me forget and friends that would offer great guidance as they had been where I was. It all helped and made me really appreciate the different ways we can help one another.
"We all go through things, and together we get through things"
The shared experience from having a friend that had been where I was, really helped get the clarity I needed to move forward. The depth of understanding that comes from them having been there and the power in unity of I'm not alone in this. I shed all feelings of shame as I knew I wasn't being judged, they had been there too. Instead, I felt immense relief in knowing I wasn't alone and that I had learnings from their experience to get me through.
The years that have past since then have made me realise that you don't need a big event to reach out. That by having real conversations about what is going on for us we can see how much of what we go through is shared.
I believe the more we share what we have gone through, the more we can help others with what they are going through. Our struggles are our greatest learnings and our learnings our greatest gift. I hope that through this community I can enable others to share their gifts to others too.