Connection with others

The Collective Journey’s first guiding principle of mentorship is connection.

“We are all connected. What we do to another, we do to ourselves.”

Humans, like most sentient beings, are wired for connection.  We need connection not only to survive, our mental and physical wellness depends on it.

If we need connection so deeply, why do we become disconnected so easily?

We're considering three levels of connection to explore this further:

Self
Other beings
Nature

We’ve started to explore why our connection to nature is so fundamental to our collective wellness, now let’s scratch the surface on our connection to other beings.

Sometimes you need to see yourself in others to understand the details within.

O T H E R   B E I N G S

other
/ˈʌðə/
adjective

Different in nature or kind.

beings
/ˈbiːɪŋz/
noun

Living things.

Our relationship to other beings gives us a great sense of belonging, a sense of identity in contrast to others, and a feeling that we are not alone on this journey.

There is a vast body of research on the importance of connection.  This study on relationships and health demonstrates that a lack of connection with others has a more detrimental impact on our health than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure.  On a more positive note, the study found that strong social connection leads to a 50% increased chance of longevity.

It makes intuitive and scientific sense to be connected with others!

We learn from the insight and experience of others through mentorship, and together we learn from the connections we make while we're gathering together.  It's this interaction that makes the difference to a quality connection.  Reading about our connection with others rarely provides the same psychological and physiological benefits as if we were connecting with others and exploring this together.  It's a therapeutic relationship.

How does our wellbeing depend on our connection with others?

We are influenced and shaped by our social environment.  When our connections within this environment are harmed or broken, we suffer.  According to scientist Matthew Lieberman, this social suffering is as real as physical pain and forms part of his case that our need to connect is as fundamental as our need for food and water.

When we experience social disconnection in childhood, it can lead to long-term health and educational problems.  Laying the foundation for connection and integrating the experience in our way of being early is critical to our ongoing wellbeing.  We'll explore this further another time.

After a 75-year study on adult development, Dr. Robert Waldinger made one conclusion which he shares in his TED Talk. "What are the lessons that come from the tens of thousands of pages of information that we've generated on these lives?  Well, the lessons aren't about wealth or fame or working harder and harder. The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is that good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period."

When we are more connection to other beings, we are happier, healthier and have the potential to live longer than those who are less connected.  Most importantly, it's the quality not the quantity of your relationships that count.


How will you shift your connection with others today?

Melissa Shadforth