In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss the human craving for connection, its significance, how it impacts our happiness & success in life, and reveal 6 tips to enhancing and engaging connection.
First a quick update:
“Gurus, spiritual healers and the big lie about curing cancer and terminal illness”
Hulda Clark claimed to be able to cure cancer but she died from complications from cancer. Michael Ireland, an alternative therapist and ‘psychic healer’, claimed he could perform ‘psychic surgery’ but was jailed after admitting five counts of sexual assault against his patient and he also admitted a total of 25 offences against eight women, including indecent assault and sexual activity with a child. Read the interview I gave about various gurus and self-professed healers who sell extraordinary lies about being able to cure cancer and other diseases.
Now, let’s talk about the human craving for connection, its significance, how it impacts our happiness & success in life, and reveal 6 tips to enhancing and engaging connection.
Connection can be defined as the relationship where two people are linked or associated to each other; authentic connection can be defined as the ability to feel and express emotions, thoughts, ideas to each other.
American psychologist, Abraham Maslow, became renowned for his “Hierarchy of needs” in which he listed connection as one of those key human needs.
I group connection with “Love & connection” as one of the key six human emotional needs.
But is connection truly that important or critical?
That question is best answered with another question: What is the most extreme form of punishment within the prison system?
Solitary confinement is used to isolate a prisoner from all human contact except for limited supervision and contact with prison staff.
It is argued that solitary confinement is used to modify behavior (i.e. conform to regulations), to punish, rehabilitate or for protective custody (to protect the prisoner from other prisoners) or for suicide watch.
And what are the effects of solitary confinement.
Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Stuart Grassian and Craig Haney, a professor of psychology at the University of California, separately studied solitary confinement and both concluded that it creates various devastating mental issues:
- Increased sensitivity to stimuli, hallucinations, and other changes in perception
- Cognitive problems – memory loss, difficulty thinking, and impulsiveness
- Anxiety, headaches, chronic tiredness, trouble sleeping, impending nervous breakdown, perspiring hands, heart palpitations, loss of appetite, trembling hands and nightmares, suicidal thoughts, perceptual distortions, chronic depression, emotional flatness, violent fantasies
Above all, solitary confinement worsens a prisoner’s pre-existing mental health problems while causing new mental illnesses in otherwise healthy people.
Simply put, a lack of human contact and a lack of connection with other human beings devastate one’s psyche and soul.
We all need connection with other humans for happiness, and thus, we all crave connection.
With today’s technology, we can reach and contact people anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds. In fact, all technology is an extension of our desire to connect, but is digital contact the same as connection?
Connection becomes significant and fulfilling when one can fully and freely express him/herself (one’s truth) and feel heard, understood, accepted and validated; connection occurs when one can express and receive – receive empathy, compassion, love, forgiveness and of course, touch.
“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Digital contact allows us to quickly exchange information but not feel the warmth, security or reassurance of the touch, caress or a smile of another human.
Technology is also a form of false connection which reinforces separation and loneliness because it blocks emotional intimacy and connection.
Appearing on the TV show “Late night with Conan O’Brien”, US comedian Louis C. K., claimed that when people are driving they sometimes become aware that they are alone and the feelings of sadness arise, so they pick up the cell phone to call or text because “They don’t want to be alone for a second”
“I define 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 the relationship.” ― Dr. Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work
There is another reason that we also become addicted to our phones and technology: every time you click to send a text, or open an e-mail, a hormone called oxytocin is released in the brain. Oxytocin is associated with bonding, arousal and emotion. Thus, it also perpetuates the craving for connection.
Nonetheless, the point raised by Louis C. K. relates directly to our sense of isolation and separation. We need to connect and we need to feel that we belong to a group or a community; we need to feel that we matter.
It can also be argued that we feel separated or alone because of a desire to connect with God. Even if you do not believe in God, it is still true that everyone wants to feel part of something larger than themselves. And it can be argued that almost all of our mental and emotional suffering comes from this feeling of being isolated, disconnected or separate – even if that is driven by the core belief of unworthiness or inadequacy. Read my book: “Finding GOD –Spiritual Strategies to Help YOU Find Happiness, Fulfillment and Inner Peace.”
Here are 6 tips to engage connection:
Notice when you are craving to surf the internet out of boredom; it is the same as when you open the fridge but you’re not physically hungry – you are actually lonely or feeling empty! You are craving connection.
The same applies to when you are incessantly checking email or the cell phone – you are craving connection. Take the initiative and call someone – set up a date, rendezvous, lunch or coffee; invite someone over.
3. Pay attention
Connection is also about paying attention – connecting to everything and everyone around you by paying attention to everything and everyone around you. Give your attention to the people around you and stop running away from connecting with the person in front of you.
4. Slow down
Connect with yourself by connecting to nature, by journaling; avoid escapism & distraction in its many forms – internet, useless gossip, superficial conversations, etc. Beware of communicating only via text and social media when you live in the same city.
5. Accept yourself
We fear connecting because we fear rejection. Set out to accept yourself and understand that you are okay. Beware of self- sabotage – craving connection but pushing people away as soon as they get close because of the fear of deep rejection that might occur when a person gets to see the real you. Look at the real you first and accept all of you – flaws and strengths – and then you will find it easier to reach out and connect.
5. Be vulnerable
Vulnerability infers opening up to other people; stop hiding behind the mask or what you think people want to see or hear. Reveal your real self. No one can love or truly connect with someone who is fake, hiding or pretending.
Become transparent and be willing to express intimacy (‘into-me-you-see’; allow others to see the real you.) Offer kindness, respect and affection to others.
Finally, remember that the more you connect digitally, the less you will want to make real connections, and we all need real connections of touch, affection, physical warmth and love.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.