Experiencing Connection Issues
My search for meaningful connection
This sentence perfectly sums up why connection is so important to me. It helps me understand why things seem so difficult when I don’t feel connected.
It’s a line taken from one of the books I read last month and, as soon as I read it, it was as if something clicked inside me. It made complete sense to me and I immediately identified with it. It helps me justify my reasons for doing this project and to realise that it is not just a ‘nice to do’ but is very necessary for me.
The three key words in this quote for me are:
I relate to these as they provide a great summary of what I’m hoping to move towards throughout these twelve months. When I look back over my life it’s hard to think of a time when I felt any of these things. There are moments when I experienced it, but those are rare. The general feeling has been one of disconnect.
So being new and inexperienced, it didn’t come as a complete surprise when my recent attempts to open up and reach out in order to achieve this didn’t turn out as I’d hoped.
The week started off fairly well when I decided to talk through a personal issue with a friend. Although their response – ‘Don’t worry, it will be ok’ (when I had a strong feeling it wouldn’t be) – signalled that we were not entirely aligned on this topic I felt grateful that someone had listened.
After that my attempts were met with a range of responses (mainly through email exchanges), from being told not to take things personally to completely annoying someone after trying to explain my feelings of isolation.
On one occasion I even did something that I never do. I joined in an online debate on current affairs to try and connect with my extended family. Just before I went to bed I posted what I was convinced were wise and insightful words that would provide a whole new perspective on the discussion. I woke the next morning, switched on my iPad feeling excited about reading the responses that would be filling my notifications page. I made myself comfortable with a cup of tea in my hand, and started reading….absolutely nothing. What?! I can’t have hit the ‘publish’ button properly, surely? Except I had. I read and reread my post. Did I say something wrong? Did I sound like I didn’t have a clue what I was talking about? They all commented and liked each other’s posts, so why not mine? Were they all laughing at me? Argh!!
Anyway by the end of the week I felt exhausted, a bit down and slightly embarrassed by my efforts. But instead of learning my lesson, I thought I’d try and reach out, again online (there’s clearly a pattern emerging). So I posted a sad face – that’s all. A small thing, but one that summed up what I was feeling and which would lead to an inevitable outpouring of concern and sympathy – another opportunity for me to connect with my friends, open up and reach out. Did it work? Of course it didn’t!
So what have I concluded from this week’s events? Well, firstly trying to connect with people online wasn’t a method to solely rely on – emailing doesn’t always get things across as I intend them to and can be so easily misunderstood. Secondly, posting general statements to no one in particular on social media was unlikely to get the one-to-one, personal connections I was looking for. Thirdly, I was expecting a very specific outcome so was probably setting myself up for failure right from the beginning, and more importantly, I wasn’t being myself in doing so. Which is a great lesson to learn as this months theme is to seek out safe opportunities to be myself and ‘own’ being an outsider.
So from now on I’ve decided that I am going to try the face-to-face thing that everyone keeps talking about, whilst trying to keep an open mind, and most importantly being myself in these interactions.