Connection with self

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

In this series, we’ve started to explore why our connection to nature is so fundamental to our collective wellness and how this level of being also depends on our connection with others, now let’s connect with ourselves to understand the details within.

 

S E L F

self
/sɛlf/
noun

A person's essential being that distinguishes them from others.

 

Self.  This seems like the simplest and smallest of the three levels of connection we’re exploring in this series, yet it is the most complex connection to articulate.

What we do to another, we do to ourselves.

We are all unique, yet ultimately we are all connected.  Often we focus on the differences and forget the oneness.  We need to reflect on the similarities to melt the differences.  Underneath it all, we breathe, bleed and cry (mostly) the same.  If we’re all connected, don’t we need to be different in order to attract as opposites and unite as one?

Confusing, right?

Whatever familial, cultural or religious view you have of our connections in life, we need to start with compassion for self before we can connect with others.

Our relationship with self does not mean embarking on a long journey to discover who we “should” be (there is nothing to be gained by “shoulding” on yourself!), why we’re not there yet, and what we need to sacrifice to get there.  We can develop this relationship through establishing a deeper sense of self, finding compassion for who we are right now, and embracing our inner wiring for a more easeful and authentic life.

The connection to self that we are born with can be weakened, damaged, or completely severed through life experience, including illness, trauma, relocation of home, divorce, or death.  This can be experienced through a disconnect of mind and body, self and others, and everything in between.

How do we strengthen our connection with self?

We will touch on this question often with The Collective Journey; as a starting place, this practical article shares five ways to help embrace our self today, whatever age and stage we are at:

 

1. Notice your feelings

Pause, notice what you’re feeling.  If you’re holding tension in the body, find it and breathe into it.  Breathing sounds obvious, it is completely underrated!

2. Name your feelings

Develop your vocabulary to name your feeling and identify the emotion being expressed.  Acknowledge the feeling.

3. Accept your thoughts and emotions

Without judgement, accept your feeling or experience.  This split second decision to accept, or not, can lead to 90 seconds of intense feeling, or 20 years of repressed emotion!  There is no need to “fix” the feeling, simply observe how it arises and passes by.

4. Engage in enjoyable solo activities.

Connecting with our self through solitude can be energising or calming.  Walking in nature, creating art, listening to music, constructing with Lego, imaginative play with toys, dancing, reading, sorting our sock drawer, or preparing dinner.  Notice how you feel and breathe during these moments, and come back to this sensation in the body when life gets challenging.

5. Practice self-compassion.

Self compassion is not an indulgent luxury, it is a necessity.

Connecting to our self takes practice, daily.  One thought and feeling at a time.


How will you connect with yourself today?

Melissa Shadforth