My needs # 4. Connections

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“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:

  1. 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.
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  2. 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.
    .
  3. 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.
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  4. 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.
    .
    .
  5. 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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Image courtesy [Photostock] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

25 thoughts on “My needs # 4. Connections

    • Thank you. Yes, it is amazing that in a partnership, all these can be provided by the one person. The realisation that they are separate was quite a revelation to me and has made it easier to branch out and connect with others. I do not have the find ‘the one’ to provide all these needs.

      • That realization is worth its wait in gold, and it will set you free. So proud of you and happy for you, as even more revelations and blessings are to follow!

  1. I love this topic of connection. It’s been a huge revelation to me. In Tony Robbins’ 6 Human Needs I view it as the crossover point in the hierarchy from “me” to “we”. If I’m not in connection with others, it is time to look lower in the hierarchy to see what is missing from my life. When we are ready, willing, able and therefore in connection with others the energy is amazing, and when a connection drops that feeling of void is so real. At that point I find it important to understand whether it was me or the other person who dropped the connection.

    • The concept you raise of the crossover from ‘me’ to ‘we’ is an interesting one, as my journey of late has been from ‘we’ to ‘me’ after the collapse of my marriage. It is amazing how much of ones basic needs, such as stability and feelings of safety, can be provided by one’s life partner. You are correct that one needs to get those lower needs strong first before you can truly become ‘me’ and begin to connect with others. Then the journey back to ‘we’ can begin again albeit perhaps in a different way than with a life partner such as community involvement. It is a most fascinating concept this one of needs (and the ache when one is missing!) and as Tony Robbins and others suggests, there is a definite hierarchy to it all. Thanks for your continued support.

  2. I’m so happy for you that you’ve started filling that hole. It’s very important to have a few close people in your life that you can turn to, even if it’s just to say hi on a lonely day. I hope that number 4 and 5 will soon be filled too!

  3. We all need connections. We’re social/herding animals – so to speak. Your journey is so inspirational and also educational for others who are facing the things that are now behind you…You know…this might be an interesting book someday… 🙂

    • Thanks.Yes we all need people. I have found it an amazing concept though that I needed to first get myself strong, before branching out to others.
      It is interesting your suggestion of a book. Others have said that too. Yet each time I think that maybe I can (offer some sort of advice as I have come through it all), something happens and then ….splat… i am back down on the floor again.
      Ah well, you know what they say “fall down seven times, get up eight” (Japanese proverb). 🙂

  4. I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose someone after forty years… the loss would be overwhelming… but I’ve found myself confronting similar issues throughout my divorce and forming bonds and connections has been critical for me.

    Yes, there’s blogging… and the friends you form here… there are your friends in the “real” world… but it’s the deep, spiritual connection I desired the most. The connection with another, like-minded soul…

    I hope you find peace and contentment, whether it’s with another or on your own. You deserve it….

  5. This list really sums it up – I could mentally recount which of the categories I feel good about and which I wish there were more of. I’ve been going through a bit of a shake up socially – nothing as difficult as a divorce, but something that has changed the mix. It has made me realize that the circle can get pretty small pretty quickly – that I need to engage more and reach out more.

    • I am glad you found the list a good summary for you. I hope that you pass through your ‘shake-up’ smoothly and find true connections that suit you as you are.

  6. After going through my divorce, I still believe in Soulmate. He is someone who is hanging out with Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. This sounds cynical, but believing that someone could be fused to my core being is scarier to me than giant rabbits hiding chocolate in my home or a flying glittery thing taking old body parts from under the cushion where my sleeping head is dreaming.

    Easter Bunny is a good influence, though. He puts his eggs in a lot of baskets. It seems like you and I are doing that, too.

    • You always write what I think and am never brave enough to say. Everyone goes on about having a soul-mate, but I have been so damaged in that department. I know now that it was a complete illusion. I too feel I will never ever go there ever again. And what is more, I do not want to.

  7. I too think you should write a book. Your experience and advice could be invaluable to many, as well as a comfort to know they are not alone. You have an eloquent voice that deserves to be heard.
    I wish you meaningful connections as they are what make life worth living.

  8. I love this series — and this list. It is so important to ‘get strong inside’ before going outside. And still, for me, rebuilding my sense of self came from volunteering, from consciously giving back. In that act, i found myself again. I think your list really speaks to our need to connect, human to human, heart to heart — it is so much greater than just a ‘hi how are you’. It’s Hi, I’m glad you’re here.

    Thanks Elizabeth for the wisdom and insight — and I agree with Diana — the book would be brilliant — it’s not the fall that counts. It’s what you do to get back up that makes the difference — and you are a shining example of the power in getting back up.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful and encouraging reply. I remember a previous comment you made to me that after I finish going from ‘we’ to ‘me’, I may find that I want to take the journey from ‘me’ to ‘we’ (ie reaching out or giving back). That thought has stuck in my mind and also your own story of how you felt volunteering helped you re-find yourself. I have often thought that somehow finding some other form of ‘we’ may pull me back to my true self.
      Yet I am also finding time to myself to discover myself quite precious.
      Thanks for the backing of the book idea. That is 3 of you here and I will have to give it some thought.
      Have a great weekend. 🙂

  9. Pingback: The Financial Lessons Of Divorce #3. Priorities | Almost Spring

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