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May 5, 2019

It Takes A Village to Raise Adults Too. The Importance of Authentic Connection

It feels like magic when you connect with someone who is in the same energetic space as you are.  It lights you up even more by increasing the open flow of energy.

But there are also those times when we connect with the energy vampires of the world.

Or maybe we are one of them?

Yikes.

That is a tough realization.

I have been on both sides of this equation.

Brene Brown defines 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.

There was a time in my life when I believed that I was connected to the people that I spent time with.

But was I gaining strength from being with a group of people who constantly put others down?

Was I deriving sustenance by gossiping and complaining?

Passing judgement, feeling insecure, comparing wounds?

Trying to out-do the misery of the other person?

Maybe I was feeling seen and heard to a certain extent, but valued?  

That was a hard no.

I think when we’re in pain internally, we seek out others with the same wounds in an attempt to relate and find some solace in our circumstances.

It’s like we feel justified in our inner chaos if we know that we aren’t alone in it.

Misery does love company…

When you connect with someone based on your wounds, and neither person has any intention or desire to heal, it’s a recipe for disaster.

The bad feelings tend to escalate in those situations.

The negative energy can become a cyclone that just swallows us up.  

Day in and day out, each person feeding into the pain and unhealed wounds of another.

So how do you escape this cycle and find authentic connection?  

For me, it started with a decision. The decision came from a place of total misery. It’s often the most painful times in our lives when we connect to our deepest strength and wisdom.  

The times of desperation. The little voice inside me was screaming this is not fulfilling me at any level and I need to change it immediately.

It had to start with me.

Taking that hard look within and realizing that I was responsible for my own life and happiness.

I may not have caused all of the wounds that I had, but I was certainly responsible for healing them.

Insert serious moral inventory and intense self-reflection coupled with some good, old-fashioned talk therapy to unpack my baggage.

This is where accountability came into play. Taking an honest look at myself and who I was sharing my life with was no easy task. But for me, that was the only way to change the circumstances.

I relate to the saying water seeks its own level.  I was chillin in the low-vibe pond for a long time.  Collecting algae and mindlessly floating in the stagnation.  

Decide who you want to be and go be it.

I decided that I was no longer satisfied with the shallow relationships in my life.

Once I was doing the inner work to heal my wounds, I was able to see and feel my own authenticity for the first time. I realized that I had made it to my late 30’s without a true sense of self.

I’m not going to tell you that I magically had all these deep, connected relationships in my life.

I certainly did not. I spent a lot of time being alone getting to know myself.   

I am a firm believer that to connect with another person on a deep level, you must first be connected to yourself.

Living my life from a place of total honesty was the birthplace of  my vulnerability.

I began to seek out the company of other like-minded individuals.

It actually began as an intention.

I let the Universe know that I was done living with a victim mindset and finding solace in sharing misery with others.

I was ready to step out of that shallow place. I was ready to bring my authentic self to relationships from a place of emotional self-reliance and not a need to fill a void.

And the Universe responded. Many amazing humans began to show up in my life.

But there were also some folks who showed up and triggered my old behavior patterns. These situations offered the opportunity to fall back into the space of drama and turmoil, or to choose differently.

Each time that I chose to stay in my integrity, the challenging situations lessened.

I absolutely value my personal time and I have learned to hold strong boundaries around that. It is one of the ways that I show up for myself every day.

I know who I am and what I stand for and that is something that I won’t ever compromise again.

I do have a huge reserve of love, compassion, and empathy and I am willing to share that with others as long as I do not suffer in the process.

The cool part about connection is that we get to define what that means to us on an individual basis.

We get to make the rules for our lives.

We live in a time where virtual connection is often mistaken for true human connection.

We may feel validated by our likes on social media or the number of followers we have.

Social media is certainly an option when it comes to finding your people, but there is something to be said for spending time in real life with other individuals that you can relate to.

It’s ok to be nervous when you’re trying to connect with others. Trust me, I totally get that. Finding new friends can be a lot like dating. Awkward!

Sometimes there is an instant vibe and you know you want to be around that person again. Other times, you can’t even suffer through a cup of coffee with someone.

The key is the willingness to take chances.

I’m a total introvert. 

It was waaaaaay outside my comfort zone to step out by myself and try new things. But the more I did it, the more confident I felt.

Please remember that we are not for everyone.

Not everyone will like you and that is OK!

Walk in your truth and be your authentic self. You will find your people. Your village is waiting for you.

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Shannan Fiorenza

Shannan Fiorenza spent 15 years as an RN working in ER, Trauma, and Mental Health. She experienced extreme burnout and compassion fatigue that resulted in turning to alcohol as a solution. When she got sober, she changed her entire life from the inside out. After unraveling and rebuilding, she chose a new path and now teaches workshops on Burnout and Compassion Fatigue. She also has a private Coaching Practice that focuses on post-traumatic growth. She is a Holistic Recovery Coach, and Wellnesss Practitioner. She believes in a holistic approach to wellness and encourages healing of mind, body, and spirit.