“Omnia vivunt, omnia inter se conexa.”
Everything is alive, everything is interconnected. ~ Cicero
Ever grateful for my family, friends, professional colleagues, and clients, inspiration for this post came easily. Whenever we pause for a moment and quietly listen, we find that life is calling out to us: inviting us to deepen our connection to ourselves and others, contribute to what we can to the lessening of difficulties, and unfold into the person that we can be.
So, what are connections? One definition: it is a sense of being part of something larger than oneself. It is a sense of belonging or a sense of accompaniment. It is that feeling in your bones that you are not alone. It is a sense that, no matter how scary things may become, there is a hand for you in the dark. While ambition drives us to succeed, connections allow us to ally, to affiliate, to enter into mutual relationships, to take strength, and grow through cooperative behavior.
We human beings have a fundamental need for contact with other humans. Our interactions and relationships with other people form a network that supports us, makes our lives meaningful, and ultimately enables us to survive.
Connections are important because they can help you when you are in need. You will never know when you may require assistance or advice. It is no surprise that mobile texting and social media sites such as Facebook are so popular. They are what they are today simply because the desire and need for humans to meet and socialize with other human beings is very strong.
Scientists who study brain function report that the human brain is wired to reward caring, cooperation, and service. According to this research, merely thinking about another person experiencing harm triggers the same reaction in our brain as when a mother sees distress in her baby’s face. Conversely, the act of helping another triggers the brain’s pleasure center and benefits our health by boosting our immune system, reducing our heart rate, and preparing us to approach and soothe.
This is consistent with the pleasure most of us experience from being a member of an effective team or extending an uncompensated helping hand to another human. It’s entirely logical. If our brains were not wired for life in community – for connecting, our species would have expired long ago.
Another compelling reason to connect is just plain common sense: In life it’s not just what you know but who you know. The more people you know, the more likely it is that you’ll know the people you need to know – when you need to know them. Connections with others gives us a place to contribute and to have our lives count for something.
There’s a flip-side, too. Life is lonely without other people in it. We are driven to connect with each other to ease the loneliness and increase our sense of place in this life. Isolation is where depression lives and isolation is a killer. Just consider the fate of people in nursing homes who have lost their mobility, their vision, their hearing, and their interest in family. The more isolated they are the less quality of life they experience.
Even with their importance, connections are not always easy to develop or maintain. As with other meaningful aspects in our lives, keeping connections vibrant takes ongoing effort. But isn’t it good to know that connections are fundamental to many of our successes, our happiness, and the quality of our life? We can connect in so many ways. Through our words, Through our smiles. Through our hands. Through companionship. Through ideas. Even through comments on blogs. 🙂
So what are you going to do TODAY to connect or reconnect with others?