“The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.” — Dean Ornish
Firstly, a demarcation needs to be made. Many of us will find our tribes easily enough, but some of us are “weird” and will have a harder time fitting in.
Right now, I’m not talking about “weird” people who will eventually find their other weirdos. As someone who didn’t really have a friend until third grade, I know what that’s like. This is about people who have their tribe nearby and completely fail at making and sustaining the link.
Maybe you’ve seen these people or you are that person, where no matter how hard you try to befriend people or how much you try to make a romantic connection, other people simply are not interested. Your gestures are taken for granted. You are taken for granted.
Maybe you did make a connection, but as time passes, the relationship eventually hits a wall. There’s potential to go further but for some weird reason, it just won’t. And maybe this has happened on numerous occasions. You’re left frustrated at what could be and finding it difficult to just leave this connection on dial-up when you want broadband.
What if I were to tell you that deep down, you want to connect with people that you cannot connect with, and you don’t want to connect with people that you actually can connect with?
The reason is, at some point in life, you bought into the thought that you were incapable of connecting with others. This happened because of an experience where you really wanted to connect, but it didn’t happen. However, that did not stop your desire for connection with someone, whether it be family, peers or romance.
So you continued on in life trying to connect with people but with the belief that connection was impossible for you. The self-fulfilling prophecy lives on as long as you never erase the belief that you cannot connect with others.
For example, a daughter wants to connect with her father but for one reason or another, he never gives her that time and attention. Based on how she was treated, she will then internalize that she cannot connect with her dad but also boys or men, in general. She may even take it a step further and believe that she cannot connect with anyone, especially if she cannot connect with her mother either.
Nevertheless, she wants connection. As a matter of fact, she’s now desperate for it because it’s something she never got but an inherent need we all have. She might not know what it looks like, but she knows she’s lacking something and she can gauge it when she sees family, friends or lovers in a strong bond.
Despite her feeling empty, hopeful or even jealous, she will try and find connection for herself. Unfortunately, because she learnt that she cannot have connections when she was younger, she can’t actually be with people who can connect with her. Furthermore, the people who try to connect with her, won’t be able to either. Why? Because they suffer from the same malaise.
People who want connection but don’t believe they can get it always group up with one another. Have you ever heard of the saying that the people you like don’t like you but people you don’t like, like you back?
They hope that they can find someone to connect with but that can never happen. Only people who believe they can connect with others can rendezvous with people who believe that they can connect with others.
So what’s the solution?
If the above applies to you, that’s okay. Recognition is always the first step. Next, ask yourself what it feels like to be disconnected. A sensation will come up. What you want to do is simply observe it and let yourself feel it. Instead of running away from it or trying to escape it, be with it. By doing so, that sensation or discomfort will fade, but you must allow it to be there. This is grief from yesteryear expressing itself.
When you do this, you will be able to join the scores of people who want to connect with others and are successfully doing so. It will feel like a completely different world.