It's “Connect with Others” Week

The second week of each month this year will focus on “Connect with Others.” Let me start by telling you a true story.

The last month has been, for me, a time of introspection and tough questions.

  • What am I really trying to accomplish here at Heartspoken?
  • Does it really matter?
  • A year from now, will I wonder why I invested so much time and energy in exploring the theme of connection?

Frankly, I was beginning to doubt myself…to suspect that these ideas that all seem so meaningful to me might just be too “loosy goosy” to be helpful for anyone else. I prayed. I meditated. I asked for guidance.

Bang! The guidance came…

The first thing that happened was a message from my new friend Karen Elliott telling me how much my blog had meant to her in the last year. Later that week, on the same day, two different people sent me a link to the powerful 20-minute presentation below given by Dr. Brené Brown. It chronicles her belief in the critical role between connection and happiness, to which she devoted six years of fascinating research that yielded life-changing findings. Getting this video from two different places was, to me, a “hug from God” that seemed to say, “Yes, connection is important.”

The connections are connected…

Please notice the way connection worked for me here: I was connecting with myself (introspection) when my connection with God/Source (prayer/meditation) provided guidance that enhanced my understanding about connection with others (messages and video sent by friends on the topic of connection). The connections are inextricably connected, and each one enhances the others!

So in this first 2012 post about “Connecting with Others” I share this video, because I believe its lessons will help each of you connect with other people in your life in a much more meaningful way, even though it must start by connecting with yourself. If you want the Cliff notes, here are a few key points from it (but trust me, you'll be glad you watched the video):

  • “Connection is why we're here.” It brings purpose and meaning to our lives. The ability to feel connected is neuro-biologically how we're wired.
  • What causes us to feel disconnected [from others] is often shame—the fear that there might be something about us that makes us unworthy of connection.
  • Those people (of hundreds she interviewed) who had a sense of worthiness, love and belonging were those who had the courage to be imperfect, the compassion to be kind to themselves and others, and the connection that came from authenticity. “They were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were…They fully embraced vulnerability.”
Wow…there us so much food for thought in this!

Do you agree with Dr. Brown's findings? Do you find it hard to embrace vulnerability and let people see the “real you?” Do you agree the ability to do so can make it easier for you to connect with others? Share your thoughts in the Comments below, or join the conversation at my Facebook Page.

Dr. Brené Brown is a researcher and professor at the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work, where she has spent the past ten years studying a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness, posing the questions: How do we engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection we need to embrace our imperfections and to recognize we are enough — we are worthy of love, belonging and joy? Brené is the author of I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power (2007) and The Gifts of Imperfection (2010). Her blog “Ordinary Courage” is well worth your time. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo credit: “Caring Hands” by 001abacus via iStockPhoto.
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