Our brains are hardwired to be in tribes. We need deep connections. Even if you like to think you don’t need anyone else, we have all felt the sting of rejection and the lonely desperation of a relationship disconnecting. Deeper connections call to our souls, especially in a world hiding behind screens and false images of reality.
When deep connections are lacking in a relationship, it feels awful. Described by some of my friends as feeling:
- lack of understanding
- no transparency
- the need to hold back
These feelings also carry fear-
If I speak up about how I feel and what I need, will they leave?
Maybe I am unworthy or unlovable and therefore just be happy with what I have.
What if I never find love again?
What if I disappoint them…or myself?
One thing I have come to know is that when one relationship is askew, all areas of your life will feel the affects.
At the core of connections
Our relationships are a reflection of our inner landscape. The beautiful, brilliant parts of the relationship are a reflection of our true essence. The struggling, limiting parts are a reflection of wounds ready to be healed.
Wounds are tricky. When you hurt, you don’t want to hurt, right? You do what it takes to not hurt. You don’t continue to poke at the wound. In fact, most people simply try to ignore it; put a bandage on and move on. We separate from the wound. The hiccup is that the wound doesn’t separate from us!
To have deeper connections with others, you need a deeper connection with yourself.
Take a moment to think of a relationship in which you would like deeper connections. What are the stories you tell yourself (and others) about that person, yourself, and the relationship? I know I am guilty about making myself the victim in order to get sympathy, which truth be told I traditionally equated to love. I feel a wave of shame admitting it.
We often make up stories about the other person, their thoughts and feelings, without having any evidence of it being true! The stories themselves validate our woundedness. I deeply believed for a long time that people I loved would abandon me- physically (death, moving, substance abuse) or emotionally (withdrawing). I would subconsciously create scenarios that would validate the believe that I am unworthy of love. The stories I told all portrayed the other person as the bad guy, completely circumventing my role in creating the circumstances. It takes a great deal of courageous honesty and self-compassion to get to a point of personal accountability for how we are (or aren’t) showing up in a relationship.
When you look at the stories you tell, how do you absolutely know they are true? What evidence do you have? If you have no proof, then what is true?
This is where vulnerability comes in play. First, you become vulnerable with your own self. Then you start to open up to the person you want a deeper connection by saying, “You know, the other day when we had that fight, here’s what I am telling myself about it. I don’t really think that is true, though. What do you think is true?” Be willing to shut up and listen. You probably won’t like what you hear because there will be some truth commingled with their story they’ve been telling them self. That’s okay. Once they are done speaking, you can ask more clarifying questions or speak your truth about your perspective. When done well, this is a very cathartic experience.
Change your story. What would happen if you stopped listening (and telling) to that story in your mind, separate yourself from the past, and create a brand new story?
Healing a wounded relationship, including the one with yourself, requires some commitment to:
- really listening- what’s really going on, what is wanted, what is needed?
- engaging empathy and trying to understand (we often don’t understand ourselves but expect others to!)
- accept what is
- love unconditionally
- rebuild trust by practicing honesty, transparency, and integrity
- willingness to openly and honestly communicate needs and wants.
This is a process. Wounds do not heal overnight, unfortunately. Connections take time. Sometimes you need help. You owe it to yourself to heal your own relationship with yourself. That is a lifelong partnership and it affects all your other relationships. Take action today. Leave a comment below and share how you are going to start deepening the connection with yourself.