Updated: Feb 16
Connection is really important and I have so many questions around it. Like, what is it, and not the dictionary definition, but what is it really?
Sometimes you really click with someone, and other times you just don’t, even if you want to. Too often what we thought was a deep connection turns out to be the least reliable.
I often discovered in life, the connections I valued were not as important to the other person and the imbalance resulted in miscommunication and hurt feelings. Have you ever wondered if your connections are as strong as you think they are.
How many people are you truly connected with?
In today’s world of virtual connections, we have a complex address book in our hands. We know our connection’s phone numbers, we know their birthdays, we know more about people than we’ve ever knew before, without even meeting them.
So, we should be more connected, right? I mean, it is all right there, in our hands.
We don’t need to catch up with other people in the real world because we have already read about them on their Facebook page.
I get it, we’re busy, we don’t have time for those deeper connections with people. You tell a friend, hey, we should have coffee one day, and then the next thing you know, the kids are 10 years older and you haven’t made any time for coffee.
Still, you know everything about your friends and their kids, because you’ve been watching them on Facebook. You’re connected to people, you know what’s going on in their lives. But is that a real connection, one you can count on?
I believe that only connecting with people online is missing a big part of connection. There has to be a real world component to cement the relationship and create real trust. The more consistent we are in spending time with people, the deeper the connection.
Some people are really good at making connections and making them strong. My mom is one of those people who has lots of lifelong friends she can count on in life. I’ve watched her. She makes a point of regularly contacting people to talk to them about how they are, what they are doing, and asks if there is anything she can do to help them. She goes to lunch, has coffee, and golfs with them. She is forever planning trips with with people and making arrangements with friends.
I’m more like my dad, I sit back and wait for people to come to me, which doesn’t work by the way. Actually, he is better than I am at reaching out and making plans with friends now that he's retired and not so tired from working insane hours.
We need to make an effort to call people whom we value in our lives. We need to make sure we reach out to them to foster a relationship. If you are lonely, its because you are not making the effort to connect with people.
The health of our connections is up to us and what we do. If you spend more time alone than with people or you sit by your phone instead of calling, you will find your connections are weak because you didn’t value them, not because they didn’t value you.
How can we get more out of connection? By connecting with ourselves.
When there is a disconnect between parts of ourselves, it is a signal that we need to take a look at ourselves, our beliefs, and our values. We need to dive deeper into our minds and hearts to get to know which part is lying to us.
Yes, we lie to ourselves.
We try to convince ourselves we are who we want to be. When the truth is the opposite of what we think, but we don’t want to face it. We want to fight to hold on to a story we’ve told ourselves and the result is a disconnect between our true self and the self we’ve created.
When this happens we behave in ways we do not mean to and let others down because we cannot deliver on our promises. We end up disappointing others and losing the connections we value because we cannot walk the talk.
Take the time to know yourself and you will find a better connection with both yourself and with others.
When People Let You Down
We all have times when the powers that be in the Universe, love to give us that good old right hook, and sometimes, that right hook comes with an uppercut. This is when you really need help, however, when you turn around those people whom you thought were going to be there aren’t and those connections you thought were so valuable, turned out to be fools gold
When we go through tough times we need to be able to voice what we need from others and then allow them to be who they are. Not everyone who loves us can give us what we need when we need it. By understanding people’s limitations, skills, and talents, we can manage our expectations of them.
When you ask for help make sure you are asking someone who can give you what you need at that moment and if they can’t help, accept they are limited in their ability to support you at that time.
If they continue to be unsupportive or worse, they hinder your ability to recover from life’s disasters, then you need to move on so you can make space for those connections who want to be there for you.
Why do we ignore those people who have our backs while perusing those who don’t value us?
This happens in life all the time. We give to those whom we want in our lives and they take what we offer, but when we need their support we get disappointed.
Often times, we want something from someone who is unwilling to give it to us and yet, there is someone else willing to fulfill our need, but we don’t want them, we want the other person. We don't always get what we want, but we do get what we need. That person who wants to be there for you, deserves your attention and support.
People are not perfect. Some are really good at being there for others and some are not. They care about us, but they are ill equipped to be the support we need. Often times, people will tell us they will be what we need them to be, they believe they can be, however, they are unable to be. Those who have lied to us, lied first to themselves and let themselves down as much as they let us down.
At these time redefine the relationship, so you don’t expect something the person is ill equipped to provide.
Maybe I'm wrong.
Maybe all we need to feel connected to be connected is a Facebook profile and a phone number on our hand held devices. However, as I sit here working in a quiet house alone for the ninth month straight, I believe that virtual is not enough.
What are your thoughts about connection? Let me know in the comments.
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Shannon Peel is a Professional Marketing Manager and Storyteller. Her company, MarketAPeel, helps Professionals define their personal brands and tell their story through different channels, including writing their book.