This scary thing called connection

We desire and fear it at the same time: connecting with other beings. How do you do this?

Our first experiences in relating with our parents often lays the foundation of how we handle relationships later in life. Due to our full dependence on the love and attention of our parents, we learned to take in a specific role to get what we needed. If the only way of being seen was doing your best or being nice and sweet all the time, you learn to identify with that role. Being in contact with others later in life, you tend to behave according to these old patterns.

Speaking about myself, I was one of those kids that learned to be sweet, polite and making myself smaller in hope to be seen then. I experienced an immense pressure to be “good enough”, always being alert on other’s needs, reactions and signs of possible rejections. In my teenage times, I increasingly got afraid of contact, being confronted with this whole lot of inner pressure. Because contact with others confronted me with this small self, I learned to avoid it. I always knew that I was way bigger than this role, but it felt impossible to bring my whole being in contact.

I never saw me as a “group person”, finding groups a scary thing. If I “have to” fulfill the expectations of one single person, what the hell of a pressure is it to fulfill and being alert of everyone’s expectations? At the same time, the desire to show myself, to break the boundaries of this small me, stayed with me.

At some point I got in contact with yoga and meditation practices, where I could be in blissful states with myself. But soon I realized that I can stay sitting with myself forever, but as soon as I am in contact with others, I can find myself back in that old, narrow role. This is where I started to see that only in contact I can learn to be aware of those old habits.

This made me choose to take part in a group therapy study. Its foundation was to increase awareness of yourself via the group. Each person triggers other behavior patterns in you. In this setting, I could explore and share my experiences, and allow to feel and bringing in contact the pain, anger, fear (…) belonging to that sensation.

After two years of this valuable group journey, I got a glimpse of how immensely fulfilling it feels to be yourself as part of a bigger group. To share a path, to care for each other AND for yourself at the same time. To be alone and together at the same time. To be connected to yourself and the other at the same time. What seemed to me like a contradiction earlier in life, I now realize that this is the only way of connection. When I am not connected with myself, there is no possibility of connecting with another.

I think that all (human) beings have an inherent, natural longing for being part of a bigger whole, a greater organism. Due to fear, many tend to separate themselves from our interconnection. And I believe, that healing takes place when we open up again, listening and seeing each other, learning from our differences. Making room for emotions, tensions, conflicts. And of course celebrating life, together!

This is one reason why we do this journey. Why I so deeply believe in another way of living in community, in conscious relating, in mutual respect and openness. And I am looking forward to share more thoughts about how communities deal with the fear and longing for connection soon!

Warm hug,

Miriam

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