No matter how many people you may be surrounded by, in-person and online, loneliness is everywhere. The last two years have been the most isolating for many of us. Can you relate to that? And this lonely, isolated world only seems to become more and more fragmented and disconnected by the day. So I ask you, genuinely: How connected do you really feel?
That’s why this month, I am challenging myself (and YOU!) to take a deep look at courageous connection. Will you take a few minutes to dive in with me? Committing to creating courageous connections will shift your focus and give you satisfaction on a soul level. And I promise... it’s worth it.
In each of our relationships, we either choose to connect or disconnect to feel safe.
This can be in our friendships, our families, our marriage… any kind of relationship.
WE choose to share our thoughts and feelings (connect),
OR we choose to withhold our feelings (disconnect) to feel safe.
We choose to lean into the relationship during potential conflict (connect),
OR we choose to lean away (disconnect) to feel safe.
We choose to be curious and create solutions (connect),
OR we choose to be closed off and offended (disconnect) to feel safe.
Many times, building walls, running away, or numbing out can be a lot easier than leaning into the connection of relationships. Choosing connection to feel safe is hard work! It is courageous work.
So... What do you think YOUR tendency is? When you consider the relationships you spend the majority of your time in… Do you tend to connect or disconnect to feel safe?
Disconnection and loneliness do not always look like you are “alone."
Some seasons of my life, disconnection has looked like too much time alone. But the other season of my life where I felt alone and disconnected was actually when I was really, really busy with surface-level connections. People felt like they knew me and were connected with me. Despite the busyness and the social engagement, truthfully I felt more lonely and disconnected than ever before. Have you ever felt this?
It took a season of burnout to teach me to slow down, find silence, rest, and become aware of the emotions, thoughts, fears, and tears that had been shoved in and pressed down inside of me. God shone a floodlight on my heart and made me very aware of who I really was and who I was made to be.
It also helped me take a step back and figure out WHO the people in my life were that I could share the REAL me with. And that was so freeing! But it took honest heart-work to get there. Surface-level relationships are easy. But REAL relationships are WORTH IT.
If you want to be connected, you have to take action.
Here are some quick tips to get connected in the next season.
(And let’s be real… the holidays are a super challenging time for this! So what better reason to push yourself into action right now!!)
Be wildly interested in others. Ask good questions!!! Stop talking about the weather! Stop talking about politics! Stop talking about a recipe. WHAT IS GOING ON INSIDE of their mind and hearts? Lead with curiosity! DISCOVER! What have you learned this year? What are you passionate about? What makes your marriage work? What do you want more of in life?
Celebrate people and compliment them. Genuinely identify things in them that you love. Speak life to the areas that you see them thriving in. Tell them how they inspire you, how they motivate you, how you feel with them.
Invite people into your real life. As a mom of six, business owner, and serial volunteer, I learned I didn't have a huge amount of time to spend with people - but I COULD invite them into my real life. I started inviting people…
To a cup of coffee at my house while the kids run around
To go grocery shopping with me!
To go get a mammogram with me!!! (Really!)
Nothing is sacred. Invite people along on this journey with you. It doesn't have to be a 3 hour long sit-down dinner, or even a coffee date across town (though all these things can be really FUN when you have the time and space and energy!). It can just be doing life alongside each other.
So many of us are not connecting because we think we don't have the time, space, personality, home, etc. These things are not requirements for connection.
Take a look at my most recent Guide here. A Beginner’s Guide to Connection will help you dig deeper, and apply these ideas to your own life, season, circumstances, and relationships.
Friend... the world is a very lonely and disconnected place right now. I want to challenge you to go and create some courageous connections.
Take the risk.
Life will radically change when you are no longer doing life alone.