As featured in our April, 2020 Member Family Communication Newsletter. By Holly Porter, LMHC…
I find myself noticing the irony of writing about connection in the midst of “social distancing” and “stay-at-home” regulations brought to us by COVID-19. We’re not really designed for this.
We are designed to thrive in a social environment. We are designed not just for social interaction, like you grow apples & I grow wheat so when we trade commodities we can both make delicious apple pie. Or, in light of recent events: Costco stocks 2-ply toilet paper and I NEED 2-ply toilet paper so I run to Costco and hoard 6 bulk packages of it.
We are designed for connection.
We are designed for connection with others, AND ourselves!
Connection is the rich soil where the seeds of mental health grow and flourish. When we connect with one another and with ourselves, we feel nourished and supported. When individuals connect with each other, there is an exchange of strength, safety, and understanding.
Connection happens best when we pay attention to each other and to our deeper selves. It is through connection that we understand that others are flawed, yet we can still hold them in high regard. Maybe we can even discover that while we, ourselves, are flawed, we can also hold ourselves in high regard (read more about this concept from marriage and family therapist, Terry Real).
As we soon emerge back into “normal” rhythms and schedules, plan for ways that you can experience connection. Here are a few ideas to get your own creative ideas going…
● Spend about one hour with ONE other person in a quiet, private setting; sit across from each other and make eye contact. Don’t check your phone for the entire hour!
● Cook a meal with another person; drink lots of wine (or water or apple juice or whatever) while you do!
● Go for a walk by yourself. Listen to the birds, the breeze, and the beauty.
● Read a book with someone; try to discuss the book chapter by chapter.
And in any of these connections, try asking the other person & YOURSELF questions like:
● How have you grown as a person in the last week?
● What are you intentionally working on in your other relationships?
● What do you tell yourself that you are afraid to say out loud?
● How are you becoming a stronger person this year?
● Is there any way that I can support you this week?
- Tribe by Sebastian Junge
- Brene Brown on empathy
- Julian Treasure on listening
- Really Long Distance: ACT One on This American Life
https://www.thisamericanlife.org/597/one-last-thing-before-i-go/act-one (warning, this is sad…but very powerful)
- How’s Work with Esther Perel
- How would you describe the connections in your life right now? Who comes to mind? What emotions do you notice as you think of that person(s)?
- What barriers get in the way of connecting in your life? How might you overcome this barrier just one time in the next week?