The Importance of Connecting
Genesis 2:18 – Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
If this quarantine has taught us anything, it is that we, as human beings, are not meant to be alone. We have been separated from our friends and our loved ones, and not being able to connect is showing our own personal cracks sooner rather than later. One in five individuals already have some form of mental health condition, and one in two are at risk of developing some form of mental health condition. The isolation and quarantine simply aggravate the mental health issues we face on a daily basis.
A lot happens when we interact with others, whether we realize it or not. Even when we are having “small talk” with another person, our connection with that person allows our mind to subconsciously work through other problems and issues we are facing in life. Typically we like to talk about ourselves, our own experiences or revealing things about ourselves. On average, we spend 60% of every conversation talking about ourselves. This number jumps to a staggering 80% when we are communicating via social media. We do this for a simple reason; talking about ourselves and revealing things about ourselves increases the dopamine levels in our brains. This is the “feel good” chemical in our brain, which is just part of the reason why we love connecting with others.
When we enter into communication with others, we connect, but ultimately we cannot connect with everyone at the same level. There is a book called I and Thou written by Martin Buber, and in the book, he explains the different relationships that we have with each other. There is the “I – It” relationship, where the other individual is a means to an end. The “I – You” relationship, where the other individual is a person in their own right with needs, wants, and dreams. And the “I – Thou” relationship, where you are completely open and vulnerable before the other individual. We cannot spend our time in just one type of relationship. Not everyone can be a means to an end, and consequently, we cannot be completely vulnerable with everyone we meet. Each person we come into contact with has their own special place in our lives 𑁋 the relationship may grow and change, but ultimately, they all pour into our lives as we pour into theirs.
We are relational beings, and we’ve learned that the human condition is infinitely creative in finding ways to connect when it seems we have no way to connect. It’s why we have started Zoom calls, Facebook chats, virtual happy hours, and eTherapy. We connect not because of a selfish need to insert ourselves into other people’s lives, but because when we connect, we find fulfillment and purpose to our lives.
𑁋 Written by D.A. Myers, Counselor LPCc