This past Tuesday, I got off of work to watch the news. I flicked on the TV, and sat down on the sofa. When I gazed across the living room, I saw my daughter on her phone, earbuds on, smiling. For that instant I realized something. I turned into my dad.
My dad always came home from work and would turn on the 5 o’clock news. He would get annoyed if anyone talked to him during this time. He sat in a rocking chair, and watched intently. Every now and then he would ruffle his shirt to make sure that it still looked pressed and presentable, even though I was the only one who sat next to him. It was his time to unwind from a long day. I used to watch this routine and think to myself how boring the news was, counting down the minutes until it was over to get my dad back.
Somewhere, deep in my brain, I made that connection when I saw my daughter on the couch that Tuesday afternoon. I realized how deep my connection was with my father then, and appreciated the deep connection I was making with my child at the time. An overwhelming flood of gratitude and love filled me up, and I smiled a little at the thought of my dad. Later, I would call in to check on him.
Why are connections important?
Connections to people are the very essence of life. Don’t get me wrong they can be messy. However, when we take a look at the deep rooted connections in our everyday life, we see people, pets, objects that bring us closer to a happier time in our lives. This in turn gives our lives value, purpose, and meaning.
The important thing to remember about connections is that they keep us grounded to our obligations to one another. Take a moment to think about it. Without a deep rooted emotional attachment to a child, spouse, or pet, we would not think twice of our actions and would live solely for the purpose of one's own self interests. That’s not good. A world full of people who only think about themselves and what they are feeling? It’s like, real life Twitter.
Well let’s be honest, this is already happening.
How are connections made?
From the development stages of childhood to young adults, connections are made throughout our lives. We never stop making connections. Connections seen in infancy stem from the baby’s relationship with their parents. Infants crave touch, attention, and care. Our instincts gravitate to caring for those who are smaller and weaker. Therefore the bond is then strengthened with each passing day, and continues to expand.
Connections are then made in forms of friendships with peers while in school. We gravitate to those who share, and are friendly. We shame those who do not wish to partake in group activities or do not share the same values as ours. These connections vary depending on the individuals. Some will last, some won’t. Some grow stronger, others grow weaker.
The dynamic changes once a person goes through different life events then the other. I hate to say it, but in today’s world, connections with others change daily, if not hourly. The moment an individual changes perspective, or disagrees without our ideas, we become cold and rigid. This is likely because it is so easy to find new people who share our values, perspectives, and humor.
Some connections fade due to many different variables that we cannot foresee or even prevent. I have meant a few individuals who wish their friendship did not take a turn, however, in hindsight could not prevent what would seem to be inevitable. There is no fault in a diminishing friendship. Your life changes, however, the people who you used to have connections with have not.
When entering adulthood, we create connections with colleagues. Workplace culture has a huge impact on the type of connections we make. Most workplaces have a set of values or standards that their employees need to comply with. Not adhering to these would result in disciplinary action, or termination of employment. Inevitably, we end up turning to colleagues that share some of our individual spirit. Make no mistake, we are attracted to those who mirror our own self image. So it makes sense to take your lunch break with a person who enjoys the same deli as you do.
Finally, (and probably most obviously), we form love connections. I literally had a flashback of that cheesy game show Love Connection. Weird. Anyway- yes our very own love life cannot hide from the connections that we make daily. These connections, however, require a deeper connection to our feelings of safety and security. We may feel physical attraction to another person. That type of attraction may not last without the follow up deeper connection that requires solidarity in a relationship.
How do we keep connections?
Connections are living, breathing things. If we understand that, then we can understand that maintenance is required in order to keep any form of connections. These are just some ways we can continue to strengthen any connection in our lives.
In short, connections are a part of everyday life. They are needed to maintain stability and sanity. Throughout history, we see the detrimental cost that is associated with little to no connections. Stop and take the time to cherish those whom you share a connection with. Find ways to strengthen those connections. And most importantly, show gratitude because their lives touched yours.
Yaritza Ellison has been an nurse since 2010. She has been essential to the healing process of many and seeks to continue to do so. Her passion for mental health and self help literature has lead her to launch justyari.org, where she aspires to coach young ladies navigating through work-life balance.