To connect or not to connect?

When I speak to the younger generation, I hear the word “connection” a lot. They do not mean the connection through social media but the real connection with family, friends, colleagues, etc. I think that this maybe is one of the positives outcomes of the pandemic. The lockdowns did not allow them to go out and a life with no real social contacts showed them how important that ‘real’ connection is. I also think that they became aware that all those friends on social media, are not really ‘social’ friends, so they are no real connections. The need for real connections is a positive development. But, I notice that this generation is also struggling with their own identity, in other words, the connection with themselves.

This is not only due to the bizarre last years. I think young people in their twenties and thirties, are getting aware that there is in more in life than what they see what is going on in the world or what they are doing. Now, I hear you thinking, connection with themselves, what are you talking about???

Loosing connection with yourself, or not being authentic just to name another buzz word, is that you can not, or dear not for whatever reason, express yourself as you are without shame and fear.  For me connecting with others is about being curious, realy listening and asking questions. In my perception that is what you should do with yourself too. Becoming aware of what you are doing, how you react to others and to what is happing in your environment. Be curious about yourself, how you make decisions, what feelings you have, how you behave. And most of all listen to that little voice inside of you, what is that voice telling you?

I presume that you know that this little voice is you talking to you. It sounds weird, but it is. And knowing that, you can understand that you can control that voice.

So if that voice for example is telling you that you are not good enough and you keep repeating that to yourself, how do you think this will reflect on your connection with others? Exactly, if you think your are not good enough, why should someone else think you are good enough?

Or that older generation that is saying that it is weak especially when men are showing feelings or emotions. And as we know now, from many research and experience, that ignoring or bulking up that emotions and feelings is not good for your mental and physical health. And when the emotions come then out it can damage you and your environment.

I know it is not easy, that voice inside of you is very well trained. But be aware of it and change what that voice is telling you. It is possible! So what to do to get connected with yourself (again)?

Jennifer Kogan, LICSW, psychotherapist, who is specialist in this field, has some suggestions for you:

1] Notice your feelings: Notice what you are feeling at any given time and find where in your body you are holding your stress.

2] Name your feelings: Another way to connect to yourself is by naming how you are feeling at a particular moment. This could be as simple as saying one word to yourself, such as upset, angry or anxious.

3] Accept your thoughts and emotions: Connecting with ourselves is doing this without judging our cognitions, feelings or experiences. Instead of judging yourself, again, focus on observing your feelings and noticing the sensations that arise in your body

4] Practice self-compassion: Research shows that self-compassion actually correlates to better results whether it be performing in a race, in a courtroom or even feeling comfortable in our own selves.

5] Engage in enjoyable solo activities: We also can connect with ourselves through solitude, engaging in solo activities that we find energising or calming.

From my own experience the last one is really challenging, but also very rewarding to do it more than once and if possible for a longer period. The solo experience is also part of our leadership training programs; the Leadership Safari which you can do in a group or the Leadership Quest which you do by yourself. [Link you find in the comments.]

Connecting to yourself is a daily process. It entails focusing on your feelings, letting go of judgment and being kind to yourself. One thought and feeling, at a time! You can do that!