Finding Fulfillment Through Connection
I originally published this article on Biznik.com, a professional networking website.
As a therapist, I see a lot of different types of problems and crises: Is this relationship working? Should I quit my job? Where am I going from here? But one of the most common complaints is lonliness. These days, people’s lives have made them so isolated that meaningful connections with people can be hard to come by.
The ironic thing is that with the advent of technology, we can be connected in some form or another every minute of the day. Can’t be with your family? You can call them on the telephone. Want to talk to someone in a far-flung location? Skype! Never again will you miss an important milestone your darling niece’s life, even though she lives 1,000 miles away. But where does all this supposed connecting get us?
In Existential therapy, they refer to this dilemma as a paradox, the isolation versus connection paradox (among other labels). The reason it is called a paradox is because it is a constant struggle for balance. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum of isolation and connection; one day we might feel completely connected to our community because of a family picnic or an outing with friends, on another day we might feel very disconnected because we’re working alone out of a home office.
Not only can our feelings of connection impact our emotional health, but our emotional health can also have an affect on our connection to others. Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have both been shown to cause social withdraw, which can actually make both of these conditions worse.
Remember what it is that makes you feel connected. Are you finding the types of connections you need from your friends? Are your family members able to fulfill the needs you feel for caring and support? If not, speak up, and if you aren’t able to get what you need by asking, look for it elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to look for other fulfillment in the community, find mentors and keep in close contact with them. Find people who make you laugh and call them on the telephone if you can’t see them in person. Remember to bring balance to your life!
Thanks for reading, and please feel free to leave comments.