Today’s blog is provided by Guest Blogger, Jennifer Judd.
Hospital Chaplain | Soccer Mom | Marathon Runner
Recently, I made rounds around the hospital encouraging staff to focus on gratitude and asking them what they are grateful for. Many stated that they are grateful for their families, friends, and co-workers. Isn’t it interesting that gratitude often inspires us to think of people in our lives more so than things. I think this highlights the deep seated desire and need that we have for true, authentic connection. We are thankful for those who have invested in us, who have supported us, who have stuck with us, who work alongside us, who are there for us in tough times.
Early on in the pandemic, we all found it challenging to stay connected with others. I think a large part of the population struggled with isolation, loneliness and the loss of human contact. I know I did. I missed seeing my best friend for several weeks. We texted and talked on the phone (yeah, that’s still a thing), but the sense of connection was less. At the same time, however, I found deeper connection with the people that live in my house. I talked with my husband more, spent more time listening to and talking with my daughters about more than just school and activities. I also found more connection within myself, and for me, being a spiritual person, more connection with God.
What does it mean to be connected? Brene’ Brown, a leading expert on connection and vulnerability, defines connection as:
The energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from relationship.
We are wired for connection. Even those of us who are introverts need connection. Who are those people in your life, the ones you can count on in times of need? The sense of belonging that we have with families, friends, work teams, church groups, etc. helps us to feel safe and supported. And who needs you in that way? Those kind of relationships require attention, cultivating, nurturing. Those relationships also carry some risk, as we step out, reach out, we are making ourselves a little vulnerable to the response of others. Our lives have grown busier, but now is the time when we need to make space in our lives for truly seeing, hearing and valuing others. Take time to text, call, or safely get together with those you care about and with those who care about you.
The second pillar of resilience is to cultivate true connection with others.