Human beings are social creatures by nature and yearn for human connection. Studies have shown that creating connections with others boosts happiness levels, improves health and increases the longevity of life. Studies have also proven that connections with others will decrease anxiety and depression. One study I read even said that having no connections with others causes more health risks than obesity, smoking or even high blood pressure. Who would not want the benefits of connection in their life?
Razwana Wahid said, “Connection is the magic that is born out of souls feeling at home when they are with each other.” I love that! I personally can think back on my life and vividly recall specific memories where I did feel completely at home with different people in my life. That was truly connection.
Some of the ways we can create connections throughout our day are by acts as simple as offering a smile, a compliment, or a hug to someone we see. We can also send a text, make a phone call, or pause long enough in our busyness to have a conversations with someone. Some of these conversations can even be online in a group or on your own Facebook page. It is the interaction with another soul that stimulates these feelings of connection.
What if we don’t feel like we belong? What if creating connections with others does not come naturally? What then? How do we create these crucial connections? To start with, it will require taking the risk of putting yourself out there, but it will be so worth it! There likely will be some rejection, but the more we authentically open ourselves up the greater the possibility there will be in finding those people we do connect with. They are out there! I think we often get in our own way in this pursuit. We allow ourselves to have preconceived notions about ourselves and our interactions with others. We tell ourselves we aren’t good enough, or interesting enough, or that no one will like us, or even that there is a reason we are alone. I am here to tell you that isolation is one of Satan’s greatest tools. If we allow him to create these feeling of inadequacy in us and do nothing to push them out or prove him wrong, we are in essence telling God that what He created is of no worth. That is simply not true! We are each individual masterpieces of our God. We each deserve to feel the love and companionship of other people. When we allow ourselves to be isolated by our own thoughts, we limit the good we can do in this world and we limit our happiness. Please trust God more than you trust the father of all lies when it comes to how you see yourself and your ability to contribute to this world! Tell the devil to get out of your head and ask for courage from our Father to make the connections you absolutely deserve to have!
Once you get out of your own way, here are some suggestions on places you can create connections. First, decide on an interest you have that you would like to pursue or something new you would like to learn. Then sign up for a class or join a group that will you accomplish this. In those environments you are more likely to meet up with others that have interests in common with you and you will naturally have more to talk about. You can also volunteer for a cause you believe in. Even online groups can help you connect with people who share common interests and beliefs.
The key in any group, physical or virtual, is to participate. Get out of your comfort zone, make comments, respond to comments, ask questions, interact with the other people who are present. Another great tip in creating connections with others is to focus more on being interested rather than being interesting. We have all had that one friend who seems to want to one up any story we share (or maybe we are that one friend). Even if they are only excited about having had a common experience, it comes across uncaring and self-interested. One way to not come across like this is to ask at least a couple of questions about the experience they are sharing and sincerely listen to what they have to say. Then when we go on to share a similar experience of our own it will not seem like we were so eager to talk about ourselves that we did not really care about what they were sharing. We will find that this has a great impact on creating genuine friendships. One of the best contributors to a healthy relationship is listening for understanding. I know that the people I love best in my life are the ones who I know care most, the ones who truly listen and are genuinely interested in me.
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Song: Happiness is Helping Others
Compassion by Andy Witt