Relationships have been passed over, trivialized, and sometimes villainized in our modern societies. Especially in American culture, individualism has reigned supreme for decades now. But we forget how powerful relationships are at our own peril.
The skyrocketing prevalence of depression and anxiety around the world is showing us that something is not right in our world. We don’t connect to people around us, we don’t connect to nature, and, despite the popularity of yoga and mindfulness, we don’t really connect with ourselves. Part of this lack of self connection comes from the lack of connection to others
As our brains took on the need to connect to others, we developed the neural real estate to examine our own sense of identity. That’s right—it appears that relationships came first, and self-reflection came next! Relationships first. ~Dan Siegel
We simply cannot connect effectively with ourselves without having connections to others in our lives.
I saw a client today who was struggling with horrific things being said about her and to her. Unfortunately, misogyny, chauvinism, and slut shaming happens all to often to the women and girls I see. As we sat together I told her that none of it was true and that there are people out there that care about her and see her for who she truly is. I hugged her and she cried and we just sat in silence for a while–just being together. At the end, as we were sitting next to each other, she grabbed my hand, looked into my eyes and said “Thank you. Really, thank you.”
The act of being with her, of feeling with her, of hugging her, was all she needed to feel safe and whole again. I fought for her, sure, and told her that I valued her. But what she appreciated most was the connection that I offered her.
So next time someone around you is struggling, be with them. Feel with them, hug them (if they are ok with it) and let them know you are there with them and for them.
Connection is powerful. Connection heals.