Experiencing Connection Issues

My search for meaningful connection

Like Comment

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:

  • accepted
  • belong
  • valued

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.


The Connected Outsider

I have always felt like an ‘outsider’ in life for a number of reasons, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realise just how many other women feel this way. I recently turned forty which has forced me to do something about this, and my blog posts tell the story about my search for meaningful connections – not just with other people, but also with myself and even the world around me.