“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.”
― Brené Brown
A need is something we require, yet we only feel its need when it is missing. If there is a need not being filled, we can feel anxious, stressed or depressed.
When my husband first left me, there was a gaping hole of where he used to be in my life. Gone were our daily interactions, our deep soul connection, the sharing of discussions and projects, sharing our past and dreams for the future. Gone was my significant other. It was a huge sense of loss and something I thought could never be replaced.
In my initial loneliness, getting out and trying to mix with people made me worse. I would see other couples doing things that we used to do together that now I was doing alone, albeit with a group, and there would be an ache inside of me. Trying to commit to too many people in an effort to form connections overwhelmed me. After a while I withdrew and became passive. This made me confront my solitude head on. I made friends with myself and became contended with my solitude. From that point I slowly branched out to others.
As time went on I realised my husband had previously provided many types of connections to me not simply that of spouse, and he filled in the gaps during life changes or when others drifted out of my life. It is possible for some of these to be provided by avenues other than a life partner. There has been the gradual connections with others to provide this since he left.The large emptiness that initially existed has gradually been filled by other people in my life, slowly step by step, including:
- Social connections.
I relate to people on a day-to-day basis by interacting at work, talking about what has been happening in my day, and upcoming events. Even small-talk interactions with people who attend to me when shopping etc is filling this need for daily connections.
- Stable connections.
This is having people I feel ‘home’ with, people who know me, understand me, care for me and accept me for who I am. I have returned to my roots for this connection with my mother, siblings and close friends; as well as with my own children.
- Meaningful Relationships.
I feel I have been connecting more with people. I am forming deeper bonds, getting to know people deep inside, and having them get to know me. I am interacting more one on one with a few key people, rather than having many friends at a superficial level. This gives me greater satisfaction of forming a meaningful relationship.
There are some remaining gaps in my needs.
- Intellectual Connections. My husband was my intellectual equal. We connected strongly on discussions and projects that stimulated and interested me socially, intellectually, and in community involvement. This is currently missing from my life. The intellectual gap has been filled to some degree by my blogging friends, and meaningful discussions with my family.
For social involvement and interactions, I will in time join a community interest group or become involved in a broader humanitarian project.
I am also craving support on business and financial issues and am aiming to get assistance on these.
- Significant Other.
I have lost forever my soul-mate and life partner, that one special person who cared for me and me for him above all others; sharing tender endearments; past history; present moments; and dreams for the future. I do not say I will never find another, however, it could never be the same as sharing forty years. That is gone forever. I accept that. I have grieved for that loss. I have processed this and it is no longer a need.
After filling our basic needs for comfort, stability and security, we all need human connections. These can be provided in many ways. For me, the hole of my missing need for connections is gradually filling. In time, I believe there will be enough over for me to start giving back.
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