3 Ways To Cultivate Connection
There have been times in my life where I struggled deeply with feeling alone and disconnected. Have you?
I was the third born child. 6 and 10 years between me and my two older siblings. This means that for the most part of my young years they were out of the house doing their own thing.
I read a little about birth order once. It said that when there is 5 or more years between you and your next sibling you become like an only child.
As an “only child”, I played alone a lot. I learned how to “do it myself” and that everything was mine. That doesn’t pan out well in the playground. l decided that I was the boss early on.
In elementary school I remember struggling to fit in. You might think it’s just typical school yard bullying, girls fighting for position and ranking. It will pass. And it did pass.
But the story that developed in my head was that girls are not trustworthy. More than ever I need to look out for me. Be the boss. Look after things alone.
I had an unsatisfied, deep desire for belonging in my heart. It wasn’t fully filled with a loving family. There was something more my heart needed.
In high school I felt all alone, more than ever. I was desperately trying to fit in.
I craved connection.
But at the same time I didn’t want anyone to know just how desperate I was so I acted the opposite of vulnerable and wanting. My attitude reinforced the distance I already felt.
This deep longing led to a series of risky behaviours over the years that numbed the feelings of being alone. The choices I made ended up hurting me more than I could have ever imagined.
Fake intimacy with another person will never satisfy the heart’s longing for true connection.
Finding true intimacy and connection with others has been a long journey for me. And I am still traveling. It’s also been like a beautiful song and dance of discovery. Sounds cheesy but it’s the best way I can describe it.
It all starts with a relationship with the One who created us for connection in the first place. Building our relationship with Jesus day by day fills every longing in our hearts and helps create stronger connections with the people in our lives.
Learning to move gracefully with people.
Sometimes you step on toes.
Sometimes you fall during the dip.
You also learn to look deeper into someone’s eyes.
Listen to the melody
Feel their movements.
Trust even when they drop you.
Learn to move together as one.
I can say today that I understand most of the things that kept me disconnected and feeling alone. There are no simple answers. The process and reasons are different for everyone.
If you also struggle with feeling alone and disconnected I have shared a few things I have learned in my journey that may help you also.
3 Tips to help you cultivate connection:
- Be intentional to get your heart healed. Through counseling or church ministries that focus on healing. This may not (probably won’t) be a one time thing. You may go again and again over the years. That’s ok. Two great ones that I have experienced are Lifecare Centres and Family Foundations
- Learn to just “be” with Jesus. Allow space to sit quietly with soft worship music and ask Him to minister to you. Don’t be quick to talk or rush away when it feels uncomfortable. He is overjoyed by the smallest movement of your heart towards Him. Let Him do the rest. I often listen to the International House of Prayer worship music while I pray. Journal what you feel or sense He is saying to your heart.
- Pray for Mentors. Having accountability and wise counsel is key to your growth. Be simple about your approach. Just ask if they would consider going for coffee. Ask them about what helps them in their life. Consider doing this once a month with someone you know who has life experience and can offer wisdom.