...to join, link, or fasten together; unite or bind and to establish communication between.
(as per dictionary.com)
Two months ago I started this post. I've lost track of the number of times I've gone back to edit it. It's just time to let go and share where I've ended up at.
I hear a lot of people sharing that they they are angry, frustrated, scared or confused about (fill in the blank here). People are pissed off. Social media is overwhelmed by it. Our Internet and televisions are dominated by it. Every conversation includes it. Families are fighting and friendships are being lost.
To say that we are experiencing deep, primal emotions right now is an understatement. What we are each dealing with is hard. Really damn hard.
Many folks say they want less division and more connection. The focus seems to shift to a place of blame, more often than not. It becomes imperative to point out how wrong other opinions are, that people with different ideas are misinformed, immoral, the list goes on. Oh, and better yet, describing in detail what other people believe and what their values & ethics are. As if they actually know.
What if we took a pause and asked ourselves the following questions?
Do I really want to learn why others feel the way they do?
How can I become more connected to other people, especially when we hold different points of view?
Do I know how to truly listen? (Like how I snuck this bad boy in?)
Am I willing to be uncomfortable?
What would happen if they felt understood and heard?
My last question to you is this. What do you really want? Because I think it's really important to be clear with ourselves about this.
Living without connection robs us of so many stunning aspects of being human such as laughter, empathy, concern, wonder, joy, compassion, belonging, discovery, growth, purpose, community and love. We see what it's like to live without these every day and it only causes us harm.
Connection is not agreement.
I think connection requires us to leave our egos at the door so we can truly see others. To be vulnerable.
Listening to others with authentic curiosity helps us to understand their experiences, even if OURS has been different. We listen to understand. We listen to show compassion & empathy. We listen because we are human. We need each other. That's it. That's the key to connection.
It begins with us. Make one connection today. Then another tomorrow. And repeat. We have the capacity to make change.