At the most basic place of life, your brain connects with your heart to keep your blood flowing and and your lungs converting oxygen from the air you breath. The connections move outward from there as your entire day becomes a series of connections with other people in one form or another. You connect with family members, coworkers, the mechanic, the store clerk...the list goes on and on. And you would surely find life difficult without any one of those connections.
Is connection always social?
I'd argue that it is not. Connection, in it's basest form, is at times much deeper than social engagement and, at other times, much more shallow. However, our ability to be social is impacted by how well we connect with others.
Connection is where we find meaning and purpose in our lives, but it's also where we feel our deepest pain and learn our hardest lessons. Without connection, we'd feel no grief, no regret, no longing. What place would emotions like rage, joy, jealousy, and compassion have in our lives if we made no connections with others?
Research has confirmed that our greatest social fear is that we wont be worthy of connection. Thus, many, many people shy away from the risk of relationship because they fear the potential rejection.
Friends, we must be willing to become vulnerable for the sake of connection. We must, with extreme courage, lean into the the fact that we are here for a purpose and it's by that very purpose that we are made worthy. And the best part is, that worth is not defined by the judgment of any other person. It's inherent within each one of us. When you truly believe that, you've made the ultimate connection with the truth about yourself. Only then can you transcend the pain of striving for self-worth and arrive at the reality of your true worth.
Here are some tips to help you stay out of the "shame-game" and increase your connections in life:
- Believe you have Purpose
Each and every one of us is created for a Higher Purpose. Finding and understanding this purpose brings meaning to life. But simply believing that Higher Purpose exists is enough to catapult you out of fear and into anticipation.
- Love Others
When you understand how this works it opens the connection door wide and allows others to avoid the shame-game when around you. (See blog post Living An Engaged Life Of Love, 1.20.14)
- Trust your Gift
Each of us has a talent or Gift. We tend to connect better when we spend quality time using those giftings because they are uniquely tied to our individual purposes.
- Learn Empathy
For shame to grow it requires silence, secrecy, and judgment. To cure this we need to practice empathy--even empathy for those who hurt us, for they, too, hurt.
- Let Go
There is a difference between shame and guilt. Shame is a focus on self; guilt is a focus on behavior. Guilt is "I'm sorry I made a mistake." Shame is, "I'm sorry, I am a mistake." Let go of your guilt, and let go of the poor self talk that you are unworthy...you are not a mistake. Remember, you are here for a Higher Purpose!