Connection & Community
A place of belonging
Connection is the experience of oneness. It’s sharing experiences, similar ideas or relatable feelings. It is the feeling of belonging to something greater than oneself.
I love and cherish my relationships, but seeking connection and community is hard for me. I find it ironic or perhaps fitting that my two best friends are vivacious extroverts who thrive at the art of connection! In trying to define connection, I turn to Dr. Brene Brown who does it so well in her talk about vulnerability.
"Connection is a deep sense of love and belonging. It is an irresistible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love and be loved, and to belong."
We all know the comfort of a caring embrace – feeling heard, emotionally understood and supported by another human being. That warm feeling of human connection is so important in maintaining our overall emotional and physical health.
Most people believe a connection is something earned by being "good enough but, it is really something you develop by being "willing enough."
But, it's not always easy to connect, join a community, or find your place to belong. If you are like my two best friends, I celebrate you! If you are an introvert like me, you understand the need to be intentional about finding creative ways to connect and to be more "willing." For those like me, or anyone seeking more ways to form community and connection, below are a few ideas I have explored to become more connected in my community and life.
Practice compassion for others
- Volunteering is a great way to meet the needs of others and share the experience with people who share the same passion to give. Giving is a rewarding way to love others and yourself!
- Seek-out one person each month to bless. Seek through a heart-lens.
Contribute to yourself by exploring hobbies or a cause
- Check out your local recreational or hobby center. Is there a hobby that intrigues you, or maybe
something you could teach? Sharing a hobby is a great connector with others!
- Is there an injustice that upsets you? This might be a good cause to explore. Shared passions can ignite change. That's a powerful connection!
Look for clubs, events, and programs to connect you to your community
- Schools are a great place to start. Is there a "listen to a child read" program? Youth organizations,
sports or garden clubs?
- Google clubs, event and programs in my community and explore!
Church and Small Groups
- If you do not belong to a church, it's a great place to find connection and community. Talk to friends
you know that attend a church and ask to join. If you explore on your own, make an effort to meet
someone and tell them you'd like to visit.
- If you belong to church but do not belong to a small group, I promise, you're missing out. The right
Small Group will offer more intimate relationship that the full body can provide.
- If you belong to a Small Group, find a way to stay connected during the week. My Small Group has
committed to doing our daily devotions with First5 and have a private group to share how the
message spoke to us. It's a great way to start our day!
Limit your screen time
- Social media is a great way to connect with people you can not easily see in person, but try don't let it
be the center of your daily connection. Look for one Facebook friend each week to meet in person for coffee or lunch.
- There is opportunity in the wait. I have made a promise not to pull out my cell phone to entertain me
while I am waiting and I have met the nicest people! You may be shocked to see everyone else is
looking at their screen too, but you can start a trend!
Spend time with God
- The relationship you hold with God, or your higher power is the connection that will most grow and feed
you personally. You can read more in the Spiritual Health page.
If you have experienced prolonged loneliness or a deep lack of connection and isolation, you do not have to endure alone.
Talk to a family member, trusted friend, pastor, or healthcare provider about your situation and ask for help.
If you feel you might be suffering from depression, this is a quick self assessment tool with articles on differing types and causes.
An on-line resource called Healthline also offers multiple options for seeking help.
There are people who care! Let them know.
Do any of these ideas speak to you?
These are a few ideas to help you engage in your community and find people with whom to share life. But, I don't want to, for one minute dismiss or ignore that there are many levels of loneliness and isolation. In fact, today's statistics show that loneliness affects more than one-third of adults.