Social Connection: Why You Need to Find Your Tribe

Social Connection: Why You Need to Find Your Tribe

“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.” ~ John Joseph Powell.

Are you or someone you care about experiencing loneliness? If so, you may also be aware of the impact it is having on your physical, emotional, and mental health.

You are not alone. In fact, loneliness has been described by some researchers as epidemic. Particularly for those in their teens, early 20s, and the elderly. And in the UK they have taken the extraordinary step of appointing a Minister of Loneliness.

Wow! Is this over the top, or do we need to pay more attention to the issue?

In Australia a Red Cross national survey found almost one in four Australians experience loneliness as a regular part of their lives.

SO WHY IS LONELINESS A PROBLEM?

Because research has found that feeling connected plays a key role in your sense of well-being.

It’s not really that surprising. Consider how isolation has been used as a form of punishment and even torture for 1000s of years. Even more disturbing are the documented case of babies in custodial care who fail to thrive, and often die, because of a lack of human contact. One such example is the case of children in Eastern Europe in 1997.

So you actually require connection in order to survive.

Even addiction has been clearly linked to a lack of social connection. One example of this is Vietnam War veterans who had developed addictions to opium and heroin. Yet when they returned to their homes and communities 93% stopped using without treatment. You can read more about connection in this article from my colleague Michelle Malloy, Love and Belonging.

What about social media? Is this keeping you connected or keeping you isolated?

Ironically, current research indicates when you increase your use of social media you will experience more loneliness. And interestingly excessive internet use is also accompanied by increased substance abuse. Study.

So is social media bad? No, it’s a wonderful development in our history. However, when you use it excessively, or as a substitute for real connection it can be detrimental to your health.

FINDING YOUR TRIBE

It can be difficult to meet people who you relate to. So the first step is identify what matters to you:

WHAT THINGS DID YOU ENJOY DOING OR HAVE ENJOYED IN THE PAST? – You might find the following exercise helpful for doing this:

1.  Find somewhere quiet where you won’t be interrupted. Take pen and paper or your journal.

2.  Write what ever comes to mind. This means no editing – capitals, full-stops or trying to make sense of your words. Just let it flow.

3.  Ask yourself these questions:

♦ What do you get lost in, where time just disappears?

♦ As a child and adolescent what did you enjoy?

♦ Did you like adventure or prefer inside activities?

♦ What kind of activities did you do to have fun?

♦ How do you relax?

♦ Did you enjoy time with animals, being in the outdoors, reading a book or playing an instrument?

♦ What are some of your special memories? For example, what did you make, create, build, write or do, that felt special at the time?

♦ Who did you feel most comfortable with?

CREATE YOUR LIST – Identify words that resonate with you. You might like to use a highlighter to do this.

TAKE ACTION – Now that you have some clarity about the things you enjoy doing. Take a class or join a group.

KEEP AN OPEN MIND – Restrain yourself from making assumptions about the people you meet. A quick story: One of my best friends was in the same social group as me for over a year before I took the time to get to know her. We discovered later that we had both made judgments about each other. Yes, there were differences, but what we had in common was much more valuable at the time.

A NOTE ON SHYNESS – It can be a bit nerve racking meeting new people. Especially if you have spent a lot of time on your own. You may experience extreme anxiety in social situations, or even just thinking about it. However, you are not on your own in this. There are many people who have bravely taken the steps needed to develop meaningful friendships, in spite of their anxiety. Don’t limit yourself. You can do the same.

“Since there is nothing so well worth having as friends, never lose a chance to make them.” ~ Francesco Guicciardini

The benefits of social connection far out-ways the effort required to make friends. What is one thing you can do today to begin the journey?

Lets Talk

If you are experiencing difficulties in your relationship, then please call me for a Free 15 minute consultation. We can talk about what is going on for you and I can answer any questions you might have. If I am with a client I will get back to you as soon as I can.

or if you are ready to book now

Lets Talk

If you are experiencing difficulties in your relationship, then please call me for a Free 15 minute consultation. We can talk about what is going on for you and I can answer any questions you might have. If I am with a client I will get back to you as soon as I can.

or if you are ready to book now

Mindfulness Quiz: How present are you in your life?

Mindfulness Quiz:
How present are you in your life?

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