The courage to connect: Do you have it?


The courage to connect: Do you have it?

To be able to completely connect to another is perhaps the most fulfilling thing we can do as humans.

We begin life connected and if we’re lucky, we end it that way too.


To fully connect to a partner, however, is no easy feat.  We see staggering divorce rates and an epidemic of depression and anxiety as a result of this loss of connection.

There are several reasons why it can be so hard to connect.

For starters, too many of us have had important connections severed.  Whether it was a parent who wasn’t there the way we needed, or a loved one who broke our hearts, many of us say, “I will never open myself up like that again,” and wind up living under armor, protected from the world, but ultimately alone.

Another reason why we have such a problem fully connecting is because we have been taught on some level that it is not okay to need another, and that we should be independent.  As a result, we deny our wired in needs to rely on someone.

When we deny these needs, we miss our own signals that tell us we are starving for a connection that is crucial to our health and wellness.  These signals come to us as emotions.  When we miss these signals, we fail to meet these needs, and we run into all kinds of problems as a result.

Some of us stay alone and isolated and develop health problems; others get into relationships, but are always hungry for something they can’t seem to grasp.

Perhaps you and your partner get into endless circular arguments about simple things like taking the garbage out.  If they are those blood boiling kinds of arguments (you know what I’m talking about), chances are that you are arguing about more than the trash, but the security of your connection with each other.  That’s more difficult to talk about, and often even hard to recognize.

The solution?

First, give yourself permission to feel how you really feel, which might be disconnected from your partner, hurt, sad, scared or something else.  Recognize that as a human you are wired to connect with others, and when there is that distance, it makes sense that you are in some kind of pain.  Your emotions are trying to tell you something.

Then, be courageous.

Take a flashlight into the scary depths of your soul where there may be raw and vulnerable feelings if you aren’t fully connected to your partner.

Do as Pema Chödrön says:

“Lean into the sharp points and fully experience them. The essence of bravery is being without self-deception. Wisdom is inherent in (understanding) emotions.”

Be honest with yourself.  Just be still, and recognize how you’re really feeling.

Danielle LaPorte refers to your feelings as the “GPS of your soul.”  Your feelings exist to move and guide you.  When we deny them, mask them, or turn away from them, they don’t go anywhere but unnoticed.  They then get stuck and fester.  We get disconnected from others, ourselves, and often get sick as a result.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
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