The Joy of Connection

Thanks to Apple, the “Me” movement is bigger than ever … and growing. Gadgets, apps and social media drive greater focus on the almighty Me, Myself and I. Corporations with their social media extensions feed our hungry ego’s wants to acquire and proclaim itself. The Ego-Self struts itself publicly and proudly.

This “Me” movement grows more unchecked and more insidious than we dare imagine. We discover we feel estranged from ourselves and those around us. We begrudgingly recognize our loneliness, but don’t know what to do about it.

“Of all the myriad ways we define love, there is perhaps none more honest and powerful than this: Great love is rooted in great partnership.”
-Sarah MacLean

With the Ego-Self gushed over and applauded, our threshold for tolerating others diminishes. We hide or deny who we really are to protect our fragile, new-found Ego-Self. Technology encourages us to portray a more interesting persona online or at brief “impression management” points such as speed-dating.
Consequence: Connection is less valued. Fear of The Other has gone viral. We avoid unnecessary Rejection, Exposure, Judgment and Loss.

Likes or Yikes?

The irony is, of course, that without others to thumbs-up us – the virtual version of high fives – we have no followers! Losing adoration, we remain simply the us we’ve always been: YIKES* – The Emperor (little ‘ole us) has no clothes!

Choice today is a cafeteria conveyer. Online dating apps showcase thousands of candidates promoted to be The One. What could be sadder than this NYTimes author’s commentary:

When we find what we want, it’s because we stop researching options. We stop treating our date as data to be mined, categorized or locked down.

The Joy of Connection

Connection is vital to sustain and nurture Inner Being. Connection moves us from the Limiting Me to the Expanding We. When our mutual We is respected, we touch a part of ourselves otherwise inaccessible. This We allows us to flourish by planting seeds of healthy community. We create loving memories with people we cherish and with those who are an extension of us. (Read more about couples’ connection.)

Investing in togetherness is practicing partnership. Intentional partnership deepens relationship, which is the foundation of two or more people together and defined as:

Close connection between people, formed by emotional bonds and interactions. These bonds grow from and are strengthened by mutual experiences. Relationships are dynamic not static. They continually evolve and advance partners through expanding shared peace, love and joy.

“We” vs. “Me” So, how?

  • Spend time together. Create memories.
  • Commit to authentic respect and honesty.
  • Give to give, not to get.
  • Lift up one another.
  • Cooperate where possible.
  • Influence not control.
  • Join hearts as well as minds.
  • Create zones of free emotional expression.
  • Create flow not conflict.
  • Encourage individual interests.
  • Forgive quickly and forget permanently.

Contrast the more loving world of We to the essentially selfish world of Me.

What does the world of “Me” look like? Our relationships may sometimes exhibit some of these signs. If you recognize one or more happening on a consistent basis, it is time to get outside support, adjust boundaries and set up a healing plan.

Signs to watch out for:

  • Holding onto a one-sided position.
  • Feeling drained emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.
  • Exerting power and domination over another.
  • Judging someone instead of clarifying the situation.
  • Using the past to hurt, condemn or punish another.
  • Spending more time apart.
  • Fantasizing about other partners.
  • Existing in a state of disconnect.
  • Filled with anxiety, conflict and misunderstanding.
  • No one to talk to. Nobody to listen.
  • Feeling it takes too much effort to engage with others.
  • Devoid of passion.
  • Believing relationship has lost meaning.

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