What Shying Away from Connection Really Means
I had been sitting in the Sprouts parking lot for about 30 minutes when I realized I probably wasn't doing very well. I hadn't made a grocery list, I hadn't answered emails, and nothing of importance had been accomplished in my little break, about 15 feet from the front of the store. I hadn't even realized how long I had been sitting, until my eyes refocused on the fact that it was now raining with a vengeance, and I was in flip flops.
Oddly enough, my hiatus in the Sprouts parking lot was the first moment I'd had to myself all day. The morning had had a rocky start - I shed tears in a conversation with my husband because we were both so stressed, I pulled it together to teach at the studio and interact with clients, and I had mindlessly gone through appointments and meetings as if I was a fully functional human being. And then, I parked the car, turned off the ignition, and the heaviness of the day crashed down. I didn't want to do any more talking. I didn't want to pretend that I was having a good day.
Sitting in the parking lot and wasting my time felt like hiding, and it felt good.
Over the years, I've noticed a trend in my life when I get overwhelmed. Relationships are very healing for me, and I would venture to say, most all of us. I am extroverted, I'm an external processor, and the people I love remind me why I do what I do. I understand that some personalities need more alone time than others, but we all need authentic (read: not social media) connectivity with other people. Personally, I have noticed that, if I'm shutting down and shying away from connection, there's something in me that's shutting off.
One of the devil's biggest lies is that we don't need anybody else. Taking it one step further, he likes to imply that no one gets it, no one could understand, and that no one wants to hear it. The more you isolate yourself from the rest of the world, the harder it becomes to crawl out of that hole and reengage. Especially in the toughest times, having a shoulder to cry on and a support system is crucial.
There is a direct correlation between our emotional health and the health of our relationships.
When one side of the equation isn't doing so hot, the other side suffers, and the cycle has the power to continue until both are burned into the ground. The only way to break the cycle is to reconnect. Everybody has bad days and moments where we don't want to leave the grocery store parking lot for fear of having to engage with other people. However, if we allow the truest moments of our lives to become the ones we spend hiding from everyone else, we are taking steps farther and farther away from authentic connection.
This is something I've struggled with lately but pushed myself to overcome this week, and I can honestly say that this week has ended so much better than it began. Quick fixes are lies, but progress is noteworthy, especially in a season when connection takes the extra effort. If you're feeling isolated, you can't wait for others to come seek you out because you might be doing a great job of hiding how you really feel. Take the step to engage with your community, and you won't regret the benefits of connection. On the flip side, if you are in a healthy season, take the time to reach out to the people around you because you never know the difference your intentionality could make in their day.