Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends. -Hafiz
I went to whole foods for lunch the other day and a woman started a conversation with me at the salad bar. It was light and breezy–she wanted to tell me about the amazing hummus I was putting in my salad container. She. was. excited! She knew I was going to love it! Her sweet and genuine nature was refreshing; It was nice to talk to a random stranger in the supermarket and connect on something as simple as hummus.
It’s natural to connect. And it feels good.
So why does it seem like it happens less as we get older? What part of maturing means closing off? The everyday grind can become so isolating even when we have the opportunity to interact with others. Do we get more cautious and standoff-ish as we get older?
Connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives. It’s such a basic notion, but we easily forget it. Our ties create an understanding of the bigger picture. We relate to each other through even the slightest commonalities–that’s why we cry at TV commercials (I do, anyway) and we cringe when we see tragic accidents. We can relate. We are connected by common feelings.
Still, connection is a funny thing. We all have a deep desire for those bonds, but actually opening up to make them happen can be challenging because the key to connection is vulnerability.
It’s about putting yourself out there and exposing who you are so others can relate to you. As a general rule, humans mostly seek comfort. So reaching out to others (especially those we don’t know) can be very uncomfortable. It can be scary to go out on that limb but the payoff to showing who you truly are, is worth it.
Because when we don’t connect, after a while, it causes suffering.
No one wants to be alone. We all want to be a part of some kind of tribe; It’s how we’re wired.
Growing up with an outgoing mother and a shy father, I find I can often ping-pong between introvert and extrovert. Some days I’m bashful and don’t make a lot of eye contact; I just want to be in my own world. Other days I’m smiling at everyone and striking up conversations with random strangers (hey there hummus lady!) I’m comfortable with both because I’m honoring my feelings; but I do notice that when I attempt to connect with others (and push myself out the comfort zone), I just feel better. I feel less alone.
Our purpose is mainly to connect with ourselves + as a result, connect with others.
It’s where the joy lies.
How are you connecting today?