Last weekend, I attended an intimate one day retreat called Being Woman and this past weekend I attended Leading Moms and Blog Podium. Although each event was very different, I left all of them feeling refreshed, inspired, and most importantly; connected.
In fact, many people I saw at these events, I’ve connected with online. And, I finally met some of them for the first time in person! Meeting someone in person and having a personal face-to-face conversation is SO much nicer than connecting online.
The reality is, life really boils down to relationships. Making an effort to make personal connections isn’t always easy, but it’s an innate human need we all crave. When we feel we’re a part of a community, it impacts our overall mental health and happiness.
People often say to me, “You know everyone. You’re everywhere!” I usually laugh in response and say, “I love to connect with people.”
However, I wasn’t always this way. When I wasn’t feeling confident, and comfortable in my skin, it was honestly really hard for me to make personal connections with people. My fear of saying the wrong thing, sounding like an idiot, and yes, even rejection, often times, inhibited me from making new connections.
The thing is, my inner being craved more connection. I knew it was the only way for me to personally get out of my shell, build courage, increase my self-esteem and grow.
I remember literally walking into a room when I was in my early twenties, wondering if people liked me. I recall feeling uncomfortable at whatever the function was because my inner world was so fixated on what everyone was thinking of me.
How on earth can you genuinely connect with others, if the entire time you’re talking to them, you’re not even listening to what they have to say, but instead, you’re wondering if they like you?
That said, it was easier not to attend events, or if I was at one, I had to bring a friend to feel comfortable.
Fast forward to today, and you will see me show up to events…alone. That’s right, by myself! The first time I did this I remember feeling nervous, and now I love it. Showing up alone, is the easiest way to make personal connections with others because…it forces you to have to talk to others!
Now, I no longer enter an event, wondering if people like me. I approach people, introduce myself, strike up conversations, and through these actions, my mind doesn’t have any insecurities. I’m not wondering if I sound like an idiot. I don’t leave the function going over the things I might have said. In fact, the only thing I think afterwards, is how great it felt to meet so many new people, and to ultimately: connect.
At the end of the day, to succeed in life and in business, we need to continually connect with others. When we connect with others this leads to conversations that build trust. And when we build trust, we cultivate our relationships.
One of my favorite authors and speakers Brene Brown, defines connection as, “The energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued.”
That said, some of the reasons people perhaps lack personal connections in their life are more complex than others. For example, a depressed person, will most likely have a much harder time getting out to social functions. Shyness, insecurity, stress, and fear of rejection are some of the reasons people avoid connectivity. Others may have been hurt in the past, therefore have a hard time trusting people. As a result they keep their guard up, avoiding new relationships.
If you’ve felt this way at all, yet you’re craving more connection in your life, then perhaps you can try to cultivate new relationships. By doing so, you will build genuine connections, and feel a sense of community.
Here are a few ways you can try to connect with others:
- Attend local events of interest to you ( if you’re not to comfortable in large crowds, find more intimate ones).
- Engage with others on social media, and then eventually try and personally connect.
- Reach out to someone, and see if they would like to go for coffee, you never know if someone would like to connect if you don’t ask!
In conclusion, human connections are vital to our mental and emotional health. All humans need connection, and while you don’t have to have 50 friends or attend every event, it’s important to feel connected with someone. The reality is we won’t always feel a connection with everyone we meet, but we also won’t know unless we try!