Why Connection is Essential for Living a Wholehearted Life
by Meg Mottola
It is so important in life to respond to all things how LOVE would. It’s so easy to default to frustration, irritation, anger, etc., in various situations (stuck in traffic, a rude salesman, a person who’s taking forever in line at the grocery store, gossiping, things not going “your way,” talking negatively about yourself, just to name a few). But take a step back in those moments and simply ask, “How does love invite me to respond to this situation?” It really is such a transformative experience.
When we act out of love, we become love; and therefore, we attract love; and when we are love, we can truly allow connection to happen and cultivate vulnerability and authenticity with others and ourselves.
Recently, I had two encounters:
#1. I was sitting by the water with a friend and they decided to be really vulnerable with me. They confided in me with things and I was able to really just feel trusted and connected with. In addition, it was things I could relate to, and could say “me too” with. It made me feel even more connected. It was in that moment that I was able to take a step back and truly appreciate the power of connection; that went far beyond a materialistic or surface based conversation. I felt vulnerable with them and it felt great.
#2. Another friend had put herself in a challenging situation after seeing that, I too, put myself in one and they texted me telling me they appreciate me for that. This was another “me too” moment and although it was just through a text message, I felt so connected and loved and capable of giving love to this person. It was a true moment of authenticity and vulnerability for this individual. Again, I felt confided in. I felt my trust being used for the greater good. Something so simple, yet it had such a great impact on me entire being.
These encounters really put so much love in my heart and reminded me how important and valued connection is. I am currently listening to Brené Brown’s audiobook of “Daring Greatly.” I’ve heard countless times “humans are hardwired for connection.” Growing up, connecting was something I felt so strongly. I had this innate desire to want to know everyone’s story; I wanted to tell them mine. I wanted to know the why’s and how’s and whens. I grew up hearing from my family that I mattered; that I was good enough, and to always be myself. They would tell me “love many, trust few, and always paddle your own canoe.” I wanted to portray this outward. I just had a longing to share with others and for them to share with me. I wanted to give all of the love I had within me, to everyone. I wanted to find the closeness with friends to share all the good, bad, and ugly without fearing they’d talk behind my back or judge me. However, it wasn’t something I felt often with friends. In fact, I didn’t have a lot of good friends or any for that matter. Connecting for me was hard when there wasn’t many people to connect with/who wanted to connect. Was I not good enough? Was there something wrong with me? Did what I say matter to others? (Common thoughts I’d have). In your middle/high school years it’s not so much about connecting as it is about fitting in; most will do anything to fit in. fitting in lacks vulnerability and authenticity and that is not something that aligned with my values growing up; connection happens to be my top value along with genuineness. When what I heard growing up from my parents didn’t match the actions of others, it was a hard reality for me. Connection for me was hard to find both within others and myself. For years, I sacrificed my values as a way to try to feel connected. It was like I was on a glass foundation that shattered beneath me. As a result, it only left me empty, disconnected, and completely raw and open with the wrong crowd. Trust had been broken, love was taken, connections severed.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve honed in on those values. I’ve made sure to be as intentional and mindful as possible with those values and to never sacrifice them for other people. I’ve finally cultivated relationships in my life that leave me feeling whole, connected, vulnerable, and authentic; relationships where I can trust others and feel engaged and cared about and remind them that they can feel that way with me too. I believe everything happens for a reason. I’m grateful for my younger self for being as resilient as possible; I’m also grateful for my parents for instilling in me/reminding me that I’m worthy and good enough, and above all, always give love to others. Actually, I’m truly blessed for them and their teachings.
This is what I am realizing is wholehearted living. It’s connecting. It’s having the courage to connect and the compassion to connect. It’s owning your story. It’s being brave. It’s trusting someone with your vulnerability and authenticity; and realizing that no matter what, you are worthy and deserving of connection. Connection, and I mean real, genuine connection that is reciprocated but has appropriate boundaries and unconditional love…is the foundation for living a wholehearted life.
Love and light,
About the Author:
Meg Mottola is an east coaster but a traveler at heart. Aside from her work with Matthew’s Place, she is an advocate for mental health awareness. She is in recovery from a 10+ year battle with Anorexia. In addition to writing, Meg enjoys running, traveling, jamming on the guitar, and photography. She believes the key to joy in life is to surround yourself with positivity, express gratitude, and always choose love. You can follow her Instagram, @megmott!