January 30, 2020

Why Personal Connection is the Baseline for Wellness.

Recently, I was invited to speak with the mom’s group at a local ad agency in their Detroit office, and one of the topics I covered was the importance of face-to-face human connection.

This evolved from a conversation we were having about not having enough time in the day, feeling like the culture of busyness has taken over, and how women are so consumed with taking care of their families that they rarely have time to live intentionally.

Do you ever feel like life is just happening around you? Have responsibilities for family and friends taken over and your day no longer represents the vision you once had of yourself?

Do you still have a vision for yourself?

The Decline of the Coffee Clutch

I run into this quite often with my clients, and one of the first things I encourage is for them to get connected with their tribe. In person and face-to-face, not just online.

The importance of human connection cannot be understated. It keeps us grounded, and we can’t move into our purpose without first getting grounded.

When our mothers or grandmothers were raising children, many of them didn’t work. I’m told they met up with each other for a “coffee clutch” (grab coffee in the kitchen) and discussed their lives, what the kids were up to, their fears, desires, and interests.

That would be great. But we just don’t have time for that today.

Social media provides us with access to more people than ever before, but at the same time we are also much less connected.

My friend and I were laughing the other day because we don’t like all the drama and comparison opportunities that dominate our social feeds, but we need Facebook to keep up with our cousins!

Confidants and Besties

According to an August 2018 report by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, more than a fifth of adults in the United States (22 percent) say they often or always feel lonely, feel that they lack companionship, feel left out, or feel isolated from others. Of those reporting loneliness, at least two-thirds say it’s because they have fewer confidants than others or no nearby friends or relatives.

I was just dealing with this issue with a client of mine who is 48 years old and told me that she didn’t have a best friend. Meaning, she didn’t have anybody she could really talk to about her feelings or open up with and present the real version of herself to.

She wasn’t close with her family either. At some point along the way, she got into the habit of shape-shifting a life that was based on what she believed other people’s expectations to be.

She held on for as long as she could. Now she sees me once a week and we are working on getting grounded by exploring her needs and getting to her authentic self so that a true purpose may arise.

Robert Mielke (PhD, LP) has been practicing psychotherapy for 40 years and currently operates a successful practice in Rochester Hills, Michigan. He states, “The desire for interpersonal connection is tied to our biological need to be touched, which is triggered by our evolutionary drive for communal survival.” He also affirmed the need for touch throughout an individual’s lifespan, “Clinicians are acutely aware of the effects of human touch. It is required for newborn babies to be periodically touched by hospital caregivers, as well as with seniors in assisted living facilities. It immediately reduces anxiety and produces feelings of placidity.”

Roses All Day

Women who are not getting enough one-on-one time with close friends end up extremely agitated and also tend to soothe themselves with alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and food.

Sound familiar? At all?

The closer and stronger our personal relationships are, the broader the scope of their support for us will be as well. They influence us directly through their interactions with us and indirectly by shaping the kinds of people we become.

What is the opposite of connection? Loneliness.

I do not want you to be lonely. My wish for you is to feel connected and authentic. I want you to have the confidence to live your real life and shout out your truth no matter what that may be.

Then, you’ll find your purpose and together we will start putting good vibes into the universe—and in turn, the universe will shower us with abundance.

Here are a couple other ways to better understand the power of personal contact.

Puppies. Sometimes I see a video of puppy dogs on Facebook and it brings a smile to my face. But when I am able to hold a real puppy (insert cat scenario for cat people) and smell its little puppy breath and feel its soft fur and look at its adorably huge paws and pudgy tummy, a wave of endorphins flow through my body. Like puppy crack or something.

Hugs. I enjoy looking at pictures of my best friend on Instagram, but when we see each other and hug hello and goodbye, I hold the hug for a little longer than normal. I love the hug. It calms me and nothing else in the world matters during that 10 seconds.

So why are we talking about this again?

Let’s make a flow chart, just so we understand.

  1. Our lives can feel unmanageable and out of control.
  2. We need to get clear on our priorities in order to figure out what our deepest desires or deficits are because they will lead us to our purpose.
  3. When we live with purpose, it brings happiness and real contentment.
  4. One of the first steps to figuring out our purpose is to get grounded. One way to do that is to establish trusting, deep connections with our tribe.

Think of it as your baseline. It is not easy to get to a place where we are comfortable opening up with people, but I believe that if you start the conversation, friends will jump in quickly.

What will you be doing today to stay connected?

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