First, and as always, we must have a foundation of self-worth and love ourselves before connecting with others. If we don’t have the base of self-worth, then being with others becomes an ego exercise in what can I get out of it or how can they be of benefit to me? But after we get our firm footing of self-worth, then connection to others can increase our joy.
What actually are the benefits of connecting to people? A lot of research has been done on this subject. The benefit of connection to others goes waaaay back, back to the origin of the human species! Back then, connection to others ensured survival. We literally needed each other in order to survive. Our brains became wired for social bonds and still remain that way today. Psychologists have found that connection to others is an essential part of being human. Not only does it promote safety, it creates a sense of belonging which is a vital aspect of being human.
Research on more modern day humans (us!) shows that people with connections to others are happier and have better physical quality and quantity of life. Studies have also shown that little social connection can be more threatening to physical health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure! Whoa, has your doctor told you that? It has been shown that the more connections we have, the more our bodies are able to recover from a stressful situation. And we all know by now that stress in our regular day-to-day lives is not a friend. Studies have also shown that people with connections to others are more likely to be altruistic and less aggressive. In others words, they are more helpful and nicer! Research also shows that having a variety of different relationships or groups is beneficial.
(Note: This is not a research paper (thank goodness!) so I didn’t cite any particular studies. If interested, do a quick google search and see the multitude of studies that show the benefits of and details about connecting to others. It’s quite interesting.)
I’m naturally an introvert and I desperately need my alone time, but even for me, I can see how connection to others is important (which really hit home after my revelation from watching Last Man on Earth in my last post). I asked myself, what is the main reason that I do not connect more often with people? I realized that when I feel unworthy, I am less likely to connect to people. This is because I feel not worthy enough to interact with them or to approach them or become friends with them, etc. I can see the ridiculousness of this, but yet it is how I feel in those unworthy times. Then a distance gets created and a pattern of not interacting with others emerges and perpetuates. My ego then makes me believe being quiet and alone is better for me.
Pondering the benefits of connection to others absolutely has helped me to initiate connecting with people. Sometimes that means simply some chit-chat with a stranger. Sometimes reaching out to acquaintances or friends to get together. Other times, deliberately taking some quality time with my husband.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still an introvert and cherish being alone, but I do see that a balance is valuable. I have noticed that I do feel happier overall after such interactions and the duration of the interaction is not significant. We are all here on Earth together and are not meant to be total loners! Let’s find the joy in connecting with each other. Let’s be the initiators. Who are you reaching out to today?