I wrote on Monday about the importance of connection, and how much of a difference it has made in our lives. Then I wrote on Wednesday about the barriers we face to connection. (If you haven’t had a chance to read these yet, I would really encourage you to go back and do so.) Today I want to finish this series by talking about how we can form connections wherever we are.
Many of us carry around inside of us the idea that fundamentally we’re not worth very much. Through family, classmates, teachers, religious institutions or society at large we have come to view ourselves as inadequate – accepting at face value the idea that we have little to offer and much to be ashamed of. We worry that if we were ever to connect deeply with another person than the best we could expect would be judgement.
These feelings of inadequacy make us reticent to connect with others because we (incorrectly) believe that we have nothing to contribute to the relationship and that others are better off without us.
I grew up a lonely and often-bullied or ostracized little girl. I wore hand-me-downs that were ten years old (and possibly out-dated when their original owners got them). I wore leg braces and running shoes – often with a dress, just to up the awkwardness of the look. I couldn’t run and play easily on the playground. I was good at school and socially inept at the same time, which is a terrible combination. And I was constantly in pain.
None of this made for an easy time building deep connections or relationships with those around me.