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Healthy Holidays By Design Series - Connection vs Isolation
by Cynthia James

We all crave for connection. We long to love and be loved. Even those of us who have been hurt or abandoned secretly hope that someone will come along to prove to us that love is real and intimacy is achievable. That hope fills our fantasies and daydreams. That hope is the thing that keeps us searching. It is a yearning to touch, be seen and acknowledged. This yearning is often times covered with fear, doubt and skepticism. However, our true nature is linked to the wholeness of the universe and can never be extinguished.

During the holiday season we are catapulted into arenas where we can see how far we have come or how far we have yet to go regarding relationship. Our family members can be blind to their behaviors and hurtful opinions. Often, we find ourselves leaping back to the default position that made us feel safe or protected as a child. We seek connection or we withdraw into a place that allows us to seemingly be secluded and alone. Let us consider connection vs isolation.

The dictionary defines isolation in the following ways:

  • Separate from the group or whole and set apart
  • To render free of external influence

As children, many of us became extraordinarily creative at adapting to our living situations. We learned that being authentic, speaking up or contradicting someone could bring challenging results. For some of us the backlash came as punishment in the form of anger. Some experienced violence, abuse, alcoholism or addiction. Others found that our environment was filled with critics that were adept at tearing you down and making you feel insignificant. We quickly learned to become invisible and loose our voices. Others became angry, defensive and took on a warrior stance. Neither of these tactics proved effective in creating the one thing we really wanted…..connection.

The definition of connection is as follows:

  • To associate or consider as related
  • To become joined or united
  • A line of communication between two points

If we just take a portion of the definition and apply it to our lives we see that we want to communicate in ways that unites us. We want to keep our hearts open and feel safe to be vulnerable and transparent.

One of the most interesting things we see is that often times we become replicas of the people that did not treat us well. We are shut down, become critical and abusive in our language to self and others. We become guarded and unable to love because it is too uncomfortable. We begin to realize that we cannot connect to another if we are not connected to ourselves. That means recognizing that we must look at our own beliefs and behaviors in order to discover the meaning of self-worth and self- love. We come to the realization that we must become at home within ourselves. The moment that this occurs we experience freedom.

TOOL

Here is a way to support shifting your attention from isolation to connection during this holiday season.

  • First, draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper. On one side write how you react when you feel disconnected. Please include where you feel denied, where and when you hold back and where you feel powerless. Also, make note of the ways that you withdraw your love and energy in given situations. Now, check your body…how do you feel? It is important for you to look at this in order to become clear about releasing this pattern.
  • Now, imagine what it would feel like if you felt loved and supported. What would it feel like to connect and trust? Note how your body feels when you open to love and acceptance.
  • Write down on the other side of the paper what it feels like to be connected, open and expansive. Notice which side of the paper makes you feel better.
  • You are now at a choice point. If you want to feel and act differently than the first list, set three intentions in support of the second side of the paper. For instance:
    • I will love myself when others act in unloving ways
    • or I choose to share my feelings in a calm way expecting nothing in return.
  • Take this week to practice with people that are not close to you. It could be people at work or simply people you interact with in non-threatening environments. It will be easier to establish a new pattern if you use this technique with those unable to push your buttons easily.

I invite you this week to affirm the truth of your life daily.

Today, I choose to be visible. I choose to love and accept myself. I release the past and open to relationships that are connected and supportive.

About the author:

Cynthia James is a lecturer, teacher, internationally renowned performing artist and award-winning author of “What Will Set You Freeapostrophe. She currently serves as an associate minister at Mile Hi Church, in Lakewood, Colorado, one of the largest new thought spiritual centers in the world, with a congregation of over 16,000 member and friends. To learn more about living a life of passion, visit her website at http://www.whatwillsetyoufree.com/.