I was sitting in a group yesterday. A wonderful collection of women who were all very different, yet who all had such a strong connection - despite some of us having only just met. It felt safe and like I was supported and it made me think about how it is only in recent months that I have genuinely felt like that. For the first time I have felt that I do not have to 'go it alone' and that I have people to turn to. It is not that they weren't there before, but more that I did not allow them to be, because I felt that I had to be an island. I thought I had to be strong, independent and capable of doing things on my own.
And I am. But I don't have to be. And I don't actually want to be... all the time!
I think that in all of us is a huge desire for connection. To me this is not just about communication, meeting someone, giving them a business card and making small talk. To me connection is feeling that you can be yourself with someone, or a group of people. It can be in a physical capacity, or thanks to the magic of the internet, it can also be in a virtual capacity.
For a long time I didn't feel able to be myself with new people, and even with some people that I had known for many years. I created a story that meant I felt that they judged me and that I wasn't pretty/skinny/funny/interesting enough to be worthy of their time and efforts. And then I realised that the only person judging me was myself.
I was the one that had labelled myself as not pretty/skinny/funny/interesting enough. I had inflicted judgement on myself because I didn't feel good enough and I didn't realise how powerful connecting with someone, and allowing them to see the real me, could actually be.
I put a wall up. I protected myself. But in doing so I was blocking the thing I wanted most. Connection.
When I decided to transition from my previous business in PR & Marketing to Coaching, Writing and being a Yoga Teacher, I thought I had to do it by myself in order to be seen as strong and successful. I fought with myself for months before I accepted that it was OK to ask for help. It was OK to connect with other people who were going through similar and were very happy to support me. It was OK to really need to be surrounded by like minded people who 'get me' in order to help me thrive and be the most beautiful version of myself that I can be.
The biggest shift in my business was understanding the power of connection. And I don't mean sales talk and pushy tactics to gain clients. That has never been, and will never be my style.
Connecting with people with no ulterior motive other than to give, support and hopefully inspire them. Connecting with people because it feels good to me, and it feels good for them. Connecting with people because I genuinely care and have interest in knowing about their lives - and the feelings are mutual. Connecting with people and showing love and compassion, because when you show someone else that, they learn they can do the same for others - and we certainly need more kindness in the world.
By allowing myself to be open to connection, I am supporting the needs of others.
Connecting with others, connects us to ourselves and that brings me full circle to my first point. Being alone. Doing things my ourselves. When we connect with the world around us - we realise that we are never by ourselves, yet we always will be alone in some way. This contradictory statement comforts me in a strange way. I know that I am here for me, my body is here for me, as is my mind and my soul. But the world holds me safely and securely. I feel connected, without needing to be in constant company.
Connection can feel excruciatingly vulnerable. It can be daunting, and scary and it can be easier to stay in our bubble - because when we are that island we have more control over what can hurt and influence us. Connection can bring us pain and suffering, but it can also bring us joy and energy, and these feelings and emotions are what creates life.
Connection is the missing piece in the world's ever complicated jigsaw puzzle. Connection with other humans, connection with animals, connection with nature, connection to ourselves, connection to beliefs.
And this is why, no matter how uncomfortable it can be to surrender to it, I can never go back to living in a disconnected mindset.