Why do we connect?

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I sit “indian” style with my laptop propped in the space between my knees, it’s suspended in the air with only the sides being held by my legs, it’s so the fan will run. I’ve been researching all morning about the human need for connection. It’s this need that keeps me writing, my want to so badly connect with others. My fingers are my voice because my real voice sits in silence most of the time, so that I can listen to those around me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a mute and there are times that I speak in response, I shout, I cry, I’m still human, but I don’t feel that my speaking voice does what’s on my mind any justice. So, I write. I’m better able to put my thoughts and feelings into written words than speaking out loud. I could psychologically deconstruct why that is, but I won’t. Somehow doing so would take away the mystery or magic in it. Writing is my way of connecting, of building bridges to other humans who also wish to connect. 

Why do we do it at all? Yes, I know for survival of our species and because no man is an island. But it’s also much more than that- it is a need that if not met can quickly lead to death. Think about that for a moment.

Animals, plants, insects, humans- every living system has to connect. We hear it all the time “we are all ONE”, yet sometimes that oneness can feel so lonely. What we really crave is the ability to connect on deeper levels, the ability to forge this connection with one who is similar to us, because what we really want is to be seen, heard, felt, and most importantly- understood. We want others to look at us and say “yes! I get you! I understand you! I accept you!” which all stems from our innate ability to be empathetic. I talk A LOT about empathy, it is the building block for connection, when it is missing or lacking we isolate ourselves. We break connections ALL the time, and then in haste we try to tape them back together and in other cases the connection stays broken because it is too painful to allow it back in. I say- connect anyway (so much easier said than done I know).

A few minutes ago I was watching a neighbor walk her dog, and I found myself wondering what was it like to be her? How did she see the world? This is not something I do on a regular basis, hardly any of us do. We go about our day to day lives thinking of our needs, our wants, our stories. While I was watching the neighbor I had this wild impulse to open my back door and ask her what her story is, and then I looked down and realized I’m still in my pajamas and my hair is a mess, and then my brain said- “she would think you are crazy”…and maybe I am, but it was that need to connect that was propelling me forward and then fear stopped me. 

In the end it is what stops us all from connecting- fear. Fear of rejection, fear of saying, doing, being, the “wrong” thing. Rather than embracing who we really are we conform to connect, or we stay outside the box and try to find others who are hiding in the shadows of the box. Today and every day, I invite you all to connect to those inside and outside the box of life. As Neil deGrasse Tyson stated above- we are all connected even if it’s just on the surface biologically, chemically, and atomically, we have this amazing ability, let’s use it.

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