Connection is what we're all here for: connection to our friends, our partners, our family, our children, and that ever elusive self that is sitting here reading this blog post.
When connection is ruptured it can be the most painful experience we have ever known, showing up as grief and loss over illness, death, divorce, or some other end to relationship or way of being. In these times, we know with certainty what has been lost. Other ruptures can be quite subtle, slowly ushering in a sense of all-over discomfort, like a low-grade fever— you know, that something's-just-not-right kind of feeling?
In my experience, this type of rupture is most often due to a loss of connection with self. It can play out in many ways: relationships start to feel stilted or stuck... career paths appear haphazard and meaningless... life seems to be presenting you with the exhausting task of going through the motions, day after day.
At different junctures across the lifespan, we experience ourselves in our truest sense, really feeling our emotions and embracing our passions-- typically in early childhood, when at our most innocent, learning through imaginary play and honest expression... and then again during adolescence, when finding our sense of identity is our main developmental job (as angst-y and painful as that can be).
After that, it seems a lot of us get pulled into living life the way we think we should: go to school, get a job, get married, have children, get a raise, buy all the things we think we should have. But when life doesn't go according to plan (as it rarely does), we act surprised and even hurt or betrayed. And what's worse is: we can then easily find ourselves on the slippery slope of losing sight of who we really are, how we really feel, and what we really want out of this life. Resentment, bitterness, confusion, icky feelings, you get the idea.
Why This is So Important:
Seeing as though your one definite relationship in this life is the one you have with yourself, perhaps it's time to refocus a bit and tune into what really matters to you. Just you.
[Cue responses: it's not that simple, I don't have time, my life is just different now, I have it all and shouldn't complain... OR yay, woohoo, this sounds like a great idea!!!] Depending on which end of the spectrum you fall on, or which side of the bed you woke up on, you might have some strong feelings about what I'm saying. That's great! Just keep reading.
Simple Steps for Reconnecting with the Real You:
Just for fun, below are some ways you might explore and reconnect with your core self. They're not terribly time consuming or labor intensive. And they may just ignite a flame within you to continue on this path of connecting with your true self, your core, your essence. Why not try one out?!
Re-read (or skim if you have to!) that book that spoke to you so much in (fill in the blank) grade. What were the themes, imagery, characters that resonated with your core self and why?
Revisit your personal style-- what were you drawn to when you were younger? I'm not talking polka dotted overalls (unless you can really pull that off) or goth makeup (again, unless you're really feeling that look)... be curious about that younger version of yourself and what he or she had to say to the world by the way she/he was dressed and done up.
Were you creative in your formative years? Find 5 minutes a day to write creatively or expressively (think: the letter that you never send, the letter from your teenage self to your adult self, a bucket list, a poem, or a story-- you name it). You can also start a visual journal, incorporating drawings, collage, and other materials into your writing if the visual arts were more your thing.
Used to be a athlete? Get in touch with your warrior spirit and get out there-- consult with someone who can help you kick-start a structured exercise regime, sign up for a short road race, or explore local organized sports. Or just hike around the neighborhood. Small steps!
Do you miss spending time in nature? Or connecting with your spirituality? Five minute breaks outside (bare feet optional) can do wonders for the body, mind and spirit! Consider capturing the beauty around you on your smartphone camera. Express gratitude. Reflect.
And my favorite: Create a playlist of the songs that you connected with as a teen/young adult. Remember how much you felt those songs? Maybe they were uplifting, or maybe they connected you to a deeper knowing of yourself and the world around you. Gather them all in one list, give the list a fitting title, and listen. Really listen.
Connection is what we're all here for. Unfortunately, connecting in relationships includes the experience of rupture—in big ways and small ways, on a daily basis. Relationships can be hard at times, but they're what we're here for. And the more you connect with yourself, the more able you are to navigate and cultivate healthy, evolving, and rewarding relationships.
Take care of yourself and tune into your core desires, passions, emotions, and whimsies. A couple minutes a day. You won't be disappointed. And, yes, you deserve it.
PS- If you're interested in my psychotherapy services, contact me to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation by clicking here.