I had a moment of clarity on the ski lift yesterday as I pondered the differences between finding someone attractive from the inside out and having an ineffable mind-body-spirit connection with them.
As I step back and observe the way I have been navigating personal interactions, it becomes clear that I am over a decade deep in repeating a pattern where I mistake attraction for connection.
Sure, in some ways, this realization makes me want to bury my face in my hands, and yet there is a beautiful silver lining there because I feel in my core this attraction versus connection clarity is a huge step forward in my relationship with both myself and others.
Let’s get some definitions up in here:
at·trac·tion /əˈtrakSH(ə)n/ the action or power of evoking interest, pleasure, or liking for someone or something.
con·nec·tion /kəˈnekSH(ə)n/ a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.
Well, there it is, at the core of attraction lies pleasure, and pleasure can be so yummy it’s blinding, while connection, on the other hand, is as simple as being linked and having resonance.
What became clear in my heart as my little, bundled body was being towed up the ski lift to the top of the mountain yesterday was that attraction doesn’t imply connection. Attraction is dynamic and can exist as both a one-way and two-way street, whereas true connection can only ever manifest as a two-way street.
Attraction does not require a mutual output—connection does.
So I suppose I realize that all these times I have proclaimed to myself and others that I found a super cosmic connection, what I have actually been connecting to is the fantasy I built based on my attraction to this person.
Wow—that’s a lot to unpack, but I feel okay unpacking it with the world because I know in my heart, wherever you are in your journey, this is in some way a relatable experience shared among all of us.
Most might agree attraction is a component that absolutely needs to be present for a deeper connection to evolve, but since attraction doesn’t imply connection, how do we untangle the two so we can begin to open ourselves to true connection and appreciate our attractions without an attachment to the outcome?
Let’s dig in:
1. Get your connection right with yourself. A healthy love connection between two can only exist in a container where both components are actively cultivating their own source of love.
2. Have the big conversations before you act on your attraction. I repeat: Have the big conversations before you act on your attraction.
3. Let it breathe—give it space. This is both difficult and critical; it’s how you can start to discern if what you’re experiencing is an allure (attraction) to the surfer from the shore or if you’re both riding the same wave together (jointly experiencing connection). An attraction will fade if you don’t keep stoking the fire, just like a wave dismantles itself on the shore, and in contrast, even with all the space in the world, a true connection doesn’t weather.
4. Understand timing plays a role. Buckle up this one is a kicker: even if you both feel a connection is present, one or both of you may not be in a fertile season of life to nurture the connection. I know, I know, buzz kill!
In efforts to help move me through this moment, a mentor shared with me, “Rejection is redirection.”
That phrase moves through my body like a nice, deep exhale. It’s is an affirming reminder that at the end of the day, we are all just witnesses of ourselves and each other, and each person we encounter shows up in our field as a gift and exits our field as a gift.