Our world is chaotic at the moment. The antidote to this is to connect more deeply with your Self. To know yourself deeper, and to embody your feelings fully.
You won’t get rid of the chaos; it’s the nature of life as much as peace and tranquillity. What you can do is to build a tolerance to disorder; a space to respond; an emotional process that includes and celebrates chaos as part of the experience.
Here are six ways you can find connection in a world that often fosters disconnection:
No matter what you do in life there is always a north star, and that north star should be authenticity.
I say a north star because none of us will ever fully reach complete authenticity. It’s impossible because of the nature of community and the structures of civilisation. Complete authenticity is not communal; relating takes compromise sometimes.
“Soul is about authenticity. Soul is about finding the things in your life that are real and pure.”
~ John Legend ~
However, if you align to your authenticity then, more often than not, you will find situations where you feel that you’re authentic to your values and purpose. Important, and it keeps you progressing towards the life that you want.
This process is impossible if you haven’t visualised the life that you want, what aspects of life are in there? What colour do you want your bathroom? What core values do you want your partner to have? — the last one assumes you’re single.
Agency is vital in the upper reaches of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The very top being self-actualisation. Yet, once we have an idea of who our Self is, we can reverse engineer the bottom of the pyramid of needs; physiology, security, and belonging, to suit our self-actualisation.
“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
~ Brené Brown ~
It’s anything that drives us to act by a communal aspect out of fear of being ostracised. There can be a beneficial aspect to shame, a sense of your finite nature within a bigger reality; a sense of existing in the community, and not wanting to hurt that community.
Healthy shame and an empowering love can exist alongside each other.
“True love heals and affects spiritual growth. If we do not grow because of someone else’s love, it’s generally because it is a counterfeit form of love.”
~ John Bradshaw ~
The negative aspect to shame silences you, sometimes from yourself. It can be the reason for numbing, apathy, depression, or rage.
It can keep you silent from yourself around subjects of taboo; the unspeakable desire, or an experience that no-one knows how to communicate around.
The difference between shame and humiliation is if a person internalises the experience as their fault; making them inherently wrong. Humiliation has everything that shame has, except for the blame is put on someone else; perhaps a parent or a teacher.
Once a person internalises shame, it’s almost impossible for them to hold healthy and secure relationships, they need to stumble on an environment or a secure connection; a person who is willing to show them they are worthy as of love despite their previous conditions, or because of them.
Culture always has a shame narrative; it’s how we separate what is acceptable and what is not. The lines between unacceptable and normalcy; taboo. It’s up to us to have conversations around this subject so we can understand what it is that each individual needs so that they can live a fulfilled life, without internalised shame.
There are often many different conflicting, competing, and often dehumanising narratives in life. All are vying for your attention and insisting that they are the right and authentic narrative for you. It seems to me that the only way to authenticity is to believe that what you believe is the absolute and correct thing.
This includes listening to existential depression or angst, which is also a real belief and a marker that something in your life needs to change.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
~ Helen Keller ~
A strange thought, yet, this seems to define resiliency. To stay true to my Self throughout the noise of the trials of life. To stay centred and grounded in my essence, and to move from a position of what the subtle voice is telling me, not what the ego defiantly declares, or the screaming and shouting gift to me.
You can observe these states for their lessons, and ultimately they dissipate, and the subtle voice is, as ever, present and unchanging.
Existing in the modern world in authenticity and self-respect takes a lot of courage and resiliency.
Vulnerability breeds connection. Being vulnerable is to be seen as your naked and open self by another.
It allows the other to be empathetic; it opens up the connection circuits of our brain and body.
So many are stuck in ruptured relationships; lifted barriers, isolated prisons of safety, and bruised egos of past resentments — rebellious nature of vengeance, or the scarcity of deciding whether to trust someone fully or not.
“The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.”
As a trauma survivor, I know this predicament so well. I know how hard it can be to step back into vulnerability after a failure or another failed relationship in which I didn’t relate as I wanted to.
It’s essential to get back out there and try; this is the nature of humanity; you cannot stay isolated and stay healthy. I have recently confirmed the friends that I have that I can trust fully, and I have been meeting new people who I have chosen to trust fully because they have shown me that they are capable of relating in a humble and caring way.
There is always hope in vulnerability. Sharing your truth openly and allowing someone else to share theirs. The truth is that every single one of us on this planet is going through, or has been through, some ordeal hardship, so complicated that they didn’t know how they would survive it; until they learned the new skills that they needed, or met the mentors that they were supposed to meet.
Embracing vulnerability will bring you more connection, and connection is the progressive step towards a fulfilling life.
Awareness of addiction
This one might seem a little extreme, yet, the addictive brain is more pervasive than you might think.
Up until a hundred years ago, addiction was anything that you remained passionate and committed to. Then, more recently, it became a term for:
“…a dysfunctional dependence on drugs or behaviours such as gambling, sex or eating.”
~ Gabor Mate ~ In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts ~
In Roman times, an addictus was someone who had defaulted on debts, and thus became the slave to the creditor. The modern interpretation of addiction being a slave to a habit comes from here.
Anything habitual, and unconscious, to me, is an addiction. Some of these are harmless and can even help people to relax. TV, coffee, sex, porn, cigarettes, alcohol, could all be considered culturally appropriate addictions.
None of these serves the purpose of fulfilment unless you become aware of them, and seek to bring them more into balance.
I watch TV; there are some incredible and fascinating, documentaries about the natural world and the history of humanity. I don’t watch mind-numbing TV about nothing, or a TV that sells you a world that is not appropriate to your life; is not within your reach, or is a fabrication fantasy world.
Addiction is like a distraction to me. It is a way for the ego to keep you ‘safe’.
Focus on your strengths.
“One way that we can increase our self-empathy and the connection to ourselves is to explore and acknowledge our strengths as well as our problems and limitations.”
~ Brené Brown ~
It doesn’t mean that you’ll never again make a mistake, or that you should forget all about your flaws. It means that you start to cherish yourself as much as being critical of yourself, hopefully, more.
Gratitude and cherishing is such a rich experience.
If you can get to the space of security and belonging, then you’ll start to be able to give yourself the empathy that you previously sought from others. Validation and approval become a self-authored narrative.
Decisions become based around how you feel about an idea; whether it relates and aligns to your energy, values, and purpose.
Self-empathy is a connecting force; it connects your life experience to your Self.
To live in a more sustainable and connected way is challenging in the modern world; we need that. We are facing a time of mass upheaval and crisis. Outside is chaotic, so we must each find the connection to ourselves to make it through.
Connection is a journey of learning and unlearning; there are many conditions in our childhoods that keep us from connecting to our true selves; a happy, vibrant, fulfilled, joyous existence.
I hope this article has shone a light on some of the issues that you face; some of the blocks that are common in reaching a connected inner and outer experience.
The first step is to take one, and the next step is to take one.