As a human being, you’re connected to other people. Even if the only connection is that we are all a part of the human race. There’s so much more to connectivity with our fellow humans if we can only open up to them and walk with them in sympathetic and empathetic ways. When we look at how the connection to ourselves helps our connections to others, we can see that looking inward and giving ourselves emotional self-care can radiate positivity outward in ways we’d never dream.
About 11 years ago, I realized I needed to learn how to connect to my own heart. I’d just gone through a really painful divorce, and I needed to really and genuinely feel that self-connection I had somehow lost along the way in my marriage. My curiosity about self-help and connection to myself (and my connection to others) opened the doors to what radical forgiveness looked like–for myself and those I’d loved.
I found myself missing what I thought was a connection; after all, when you’re in a relationship with another, that partnership is often a security blanket that makes you feel like you’re not alone. After the divorce, living my life showed me that what I’d been missing was self-connection–feeling really in tune with myself and not alone because I always had me!
For so many years, I had believed that true connection existed within the realms of being in a relationship with someone else. After all, how often do we invest in self-care so that we can connect with ourselves? Aren’t we with ourselves all day long? Isn’t the self-connection sort of automatic?
You’d think it was, but I’ve been privileged to learn in my very intentional spiritual journey in this last decade that self-connection isn’t automatic. To honestly and authentically connect with others again, I started by connecting with myself. I began with self-help opportunities that led me to seek forgiveness from myself (and others). When I gave myself grace and listened to my heart and my feelings, I found that I could begin to release so many of the distractions and so much of the codependence that had prevented me from true self-connection.
We’ve been trained to believe that connection exists within relationships. While that’s true…it’s with self-connection that we can then connect authentically and organically with others. After all, how can we connect to someone if we’re not first connected to ourselves?
When we learn to connect to ourselves, we can feel whole. We do this by practicing self-care and offering ourselves forgiveness. We have to be willing to be authentic in our needs and our hurts, and we need to be honest and focus on the integrity that comes with telling ourselves the gut-wrenching truth. There is a reason mirrors are so telling–they’re honest about what they see, with no judgment or bias, just simple and raw reflection.
That’s where we need to start when it comes to self-connection to feel as if we know ourselves, bumps, warts, and beauty. The more authentically and honestly we do this within ourselves, the more we’ll be led to those sincere and genuine connections we seek with others. Our heartfelt connection to ourselves helps our connection to others, but only when it first stems from that soulful and true place within.
My honest and sincere reconnection and love for myself made me realize that I could help others do the same thing. In fact, the more connected to myself I feel, the more I’m drawn to others to help them experience that same peace and joy about their own connection.
Why Connection With Ourselves Helps Our Connection To Others
I am a helper. I’ve always been drawn to people and drawn to walking with them and helping them along their forgiveness journey. People have felt open with me for as long as I can remember, often sharing things that they didn’t anticipate they’d ever share. Throughout my life, I’ve often heard, “I’ve not really told anyone this, so I’m not sure why I am telling you,” but tell me their dreams and fears and deepest thoughts they did. I do not take another’s willingness to be vulnerable with me lightly, and I cherish the fact that they feel safe and supported when they share so deeply with me. I find this intimate connection sacred, and I know it’s because I work on self-connection and target what really matters most in life.
Research supports that self-awareness leads to stronger feelings and empathetic ability, which is foundational to genuine connection with others. Through forgiveness coaching, it didn’t take long for me to change my perspective around myself and the stories of my life. Looking inward to forgive myself (and others) and to focus on self-help and self-connection before I sought outward connection with others was a perspective shift that I’ve been forever thankful for. I’ve learned how to offer myself compassion, grace, and empathy, which has allowed me to do so for others and help teach them to do so for themselves.
It sometimes may sound cliche, but it’s true–that old adage of people needing people really is valid. The thing is, we don’t just need to ‘be together.’ We need to really connect with each other and feel connected. That is easier to do when you’re connected with yourself first. Knowing who you are and how your life story and experiences have shaped you allows you to open an empathetic ear to another and connect as two fellow humans.
As I learned the hard way, we can be in a relationship and still not feel connected–to either our partner or ourselves. To be honest, that’s what brings some of my clients to me–they don’t feel connected to themselves or their partners.
How To Connect With Ourselves To Connect With Others Better
Knowing you need to be self-aware and really pay attention to what your inner self needs is the first step in connecting in a more genuine way with others. Decide how you
want to feel about yourself and check in to see if you’re really feeling that way. Then decide how you want your relationship with others to be and how you want to feel in those relationships. Be sure that you’re bringing honesty and positive but realistic expectations to yourself and others. Be generous with compassion and empathy with yourself to lavish that same empathy upon those you want to develop a more meaningful connection within your life.
Most importantly, don’t underestimate the power of self-forgiveness. Self-forgiveness allows you joy, freedom, and inner peace. When you replace regrets with gratitude through radical forgiveness, you open the doors to a genuine, authentic connection with others.
Your story and how you connect with others really starts with you! So love yourself and go from there! If you’d like to hear more about how a connection to ourselves helps our connection to others, check out The Conscious Coaching Hour podcast, where I talk with my friends Sakura Sutter and Rory Reich. If you would like to learn more about self-forgiveness, download my free e-book Untying the Knot!