This morning, as I was in the midst of juggling breakfast, lunch making, school bag packing, getting myself and our 2 girls dressed and out the door (only an hour behind schedule) my youngest approached me and announced
"Mommy, we need you ALL day. How we can get you ALL day?!"
Pause. Breathe. Respond. I offered up myself ALL weekend and then acknowledged that wasn't enough because, yes she wanted me today. I honored her desire and reflected that I missed our time together also. We've been busy and I'll be working late again tonight, so she's on to something...she wants more of me.
And yet, what strikes me is that this is really what we all want. It's human nature to seek connection. To truly feel seen and heard. To feel understood and acknowledged. And so often it's the very root of what brings clients into my therapy office. Teens, adults, parents, couples, families… There is a disconnect; the connection simply isn't being experienced.
We are so afraid of feeling disconnected that we try to protect ourselves by defending and guarding against further pain, hurt and disappointment. In doing so, we also block ourselves, and those we so deeply desire to connect with, from connecting.
We pick up our [stupid] smartphones and connect with others instead of connecting with those we are with. We work late. Our kids (and often us adults too) act out and seemingly defy all attempts at reasoning. We tantrum. We withdraw. We withhold connection. Then we stew in anger over feeling disconnected.
So how do we break the cycle? How do we create pathways for connection? It's an interesting question and one that I've been researching for years and working to integrate in both my personal life and professionally with my clients.
The shutting down, withdrawing, stonewalling, isolating, cold shoulder (whatever else you want to call it) process is the antithesis of connection. Yet we all do it. It guards against our vulnerabilities. And it protects us. But often these very defenses also guard us against connecting. Against having effective, satisfying and fulfilling relationships.
There is a pathway towards reconnection. I believe it's through honing an open, curious, playful mindset. It's about being mindful of connecting. It's about HOW we engage. It's about pausing. And noticing when we are disengaging. And then as my client's call it softening and finding our way back.
Usually we disengage around our fears, the curiosity though is that those same fears hold a deep magic of connection...if we can open to it.
But there's more. The disconnect, that's necessary. Without it we can't test the waters of the connection and come back together. It's like a tide. We need the eb and flow to be sure of it.
I'd love for you to share your musings over what obstructs your connections.
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