At the end of the day all we want to do is to connect. We may be introverts, extroverts, a mixture of the two, or we may be a monk who lives in the mountains entirely alone. We may be going out to parties multiple nights a week, or one party a month may feel like too much for us.
In the end, we simply want to connect.
Whether we are trying to connect with other souls, that cute boy across the bar, with ourselves, our pets, or even a friend across the glob; still, all we want is connection.
When people ask me what I do for work, I always want to reply “I am a connector”, because at the end of the day, that is all I do. I connect with yogis in class. I help yogis connect and get to know themselves, which is some of the hardest stuff we can do. I connect people like YOU to my thoughts and struggles, which hopefully helps you to sort through your own. I connect my travels and stories to the rest of the world, in hopes that it too inspires and creates growth.
Why is connecting so hard then? Why do we feel like we get in “funks” or that we have no one in our corner?
We forget that just like us, everyone else has funks or may be struggling… we just forget to see it.
Or they are really great at hiding it. Either way, we DISCONNECT from others in efforts to connect. Confusing right? We disconnect from others in efforts to connect. We disconnect every time say “I’m fine” when someone asks how we are. When really we want to tell them that we cried twice in the past hour. We want to say that we feel emotionally and mentally drained, that we feel entirely alone and as though we are at a standstill in life.. and yet we say we are fine. We do this because we are afraid we will scare them away or that we need to appear a certain way to “fit in”.
The next time you answer “I’m fine” stop yourself, and be honest, be real. Connect about the shitty stuff.
And I am not telling you to complain, whine, talk about every bad thing that happens, or be that negative person. I am telling you to be real. If life is freaking great, then talk about it! Talk about that new job you just worked so hard for. Talk about that cute boy who asked you on a date. Talk about how you have finally found a fitness routine that works. And at the same time, talk about how you’re struggling to eat healthy right now, how you need to create a better balance of your time, talk about how your sex life is stagnant and you don’t know how to recreate that “spark” in your relationship.
You may realize that the friend you are speaking to also struggles with the same issues, since we are all human.
Maybe your friends sex drive fluctuates (as does the majority of women) and she may give you some ideas to work through it and support you emotionally. You may find that your friend has a great online resource for budgeting her money, because she too struggles not to spend so much.
Not only do we connect through honesty, but our relationships actually become stronger.
There is so much strength and power in vulnerability, and this is something we must remember and incorporate into our lives. We cannot live in fear of judgement or of getting out of our comfort zones, otherwise where will we grow?
We can’t grow in our comfort zones; just as sitting on the couch won’t give us a toned and strong body, neither will staying silent through moments of evolution.
What helps me to connect
- Leaving your apartment. This may sound simple, and like DUH but seriously… Just leave. Go somewhere, ANYWHERE. Go to the grocery store and walk around. Go on a jog down your street. Take your garbage out to the dumpster. Just GET OUT. Maybe it’s sunny outside and you feel immediate gratitude once you step into the sunlight. Maybe you’ll see someone wearing your college’s logo and strike up a conversation. Heck, maybe your dog will meet another persons dog and you will connect with the owner.
- Making eye contact. Sounds like a basic technique taught to children to be polite right? Right.. well I can say without doubt, that when I am in public I purposely work to make eye contact with most everyone and let me tell you… some people will not make eye contact no matter what. It can become comical. BUT on the reverse side of that…
If someone makes eye contact back I always smile, say hi (sometimes it accidentally comes out in a weird breathy voice) but I say it. This habit has gifted me with so many random conversations I otherwise would not have had, and sometimes wish I hadn’t had but overall has brought so many interesting souls into my life that I would have missed out on.
- Attend a social event even if you know nobody there. This is a skill I got really good at after moving to a brand new city. I began just showing up to things and eventually someone will greet you and work to make you comfortable. I made so many friends from local events, markets, festivals. Just by showing up, I connected and most of the time I made a friend.
- Reach out on social media. I mean, we are all on here constantly anyways, so why not just send a message to someone you think you will mesh well with. At this point in my life I have met so many amazing people through social media; my boyfriend, some of my yoga collaborators, close friends; just reach out. Use this as a tool to curate real in-person connections.
- Step away from the technology. Technology is wonderful and depending on how it is used, it can help us to connect or help us disconnect from the world. Some days I will find that I have been on instagram way too long or after sitting in front of my computer for hours I feel so drained; it helps to set alarms and boundaries for yourself. I try very hard to only use my phone and computer during “business hours”. As someone who doesn’t have a strictly defined job, the line between work and play can blur. I set boundaries with myself so I am more present and can fully enjoy the time with my boyfriend and friends. Sometimes I make mistakes and find myself outside of my boundaries; working on my website while spending time with my boyfriend, answering emails while I am with my family, things like that, and its okay every once in awhile but it is so important to create a clear distinction between work and play.
- Connect with yourself first. The days that I start with meditation and yoga are vastly different than days I do not. Some days my yoga practice is a few simple postures; other days its 2+ hours of movement. Some days I meditate for 3 minutes; other days I sit for 15+ minutes. It all varies, but I begin my day connecting with my body, my mind, my soul, and really checking in with myself before I attempt to connect with others.
- Create a routine. And I am not referring to a morning routine of getting ready (although that is important too), but I am speaking to a routine in the places you go; the yoga studio, grocery store, coffee shop, farmers market, free events, or anything else that is a part of your life. The more routine you are about which classes you attend or what stand you buy your fruit from at the market, the more likely you are to see the same faces and eventually create a friendship.
- Be vulnerable. Being open and real gives others the space to do so as well and this will create a deeper bond than any other “how’s the weather” conversation. It is so important to be vulnerable in this world, with instagram being our highlight reel, all of the disagreements and craziness in the world. We need to be REAL.
- Give back to the community. This may be through volunteering time, donating money or clothes, shopping local, or anything else that may serve others. Often times the people in these types of communities are giving and kind souls (not always, but mostly). I wouldn’t be shocked if you are approached by multiple people welcoming you and getting to know you.
- Get uncomfortable. Make the choice to sit at the bar instead of taking your food home with you. Eat at the community table and strike up a conversation with others at the table. Go to an event that you would like to go to but are scared… JUST GO. The hardest part is showing up, after that…things kinda just happen for themselves. So get uncomfortable, talk to that person standing alone, reach out to that girl you met at the gym, get out of your own head and realize that we all want to connect.
Take a deep breath, and connect.