Friday, November 27, 2015

6 Tips on Making Healthy Connections

Humans innately need to be connected to self, others and community. Humans invest increasing amounts time and effort in forming and maintaining connections. Sometimes we look at the amount of connections we have as a sign of who we are. More and more connections define our identity, happiness, fulfillment and status.

Without connection in our lives with feel a sense of loss and emptiness. Feelings of strong fear, loss and solitude over take us. We have an innate desire to be connected to others, to family and to community thinking it will enhance our confidence, well being and balance. Yet when our connection to self, family, community or society vanishes a strong sense emptiness sets in.  Without connection our self-confidence dwindles, fears increase, negative thoughts surge and anxiety surfaces which leads to serious self-worth issues. Once we become conscious of the emptiness emerges, a strong powerful need to seek a replacement for our lost connections erupts, no matter what it is.

At that point, we will attach to anything, good or bad, human or non-human, to fill that empty space. A bad connection is better than not having a connection at all. Research has shown that the majority of people don't like to be will ourselves, alone. One of the things that is commonly sought to fill emptiness is an attachment or connection to a substance or inappropriate relationships. We seek other replacements such as a behaviors, emotions, objects or thoughts.

The Result of Emptiness

An initial outgrowth when emptiness is felt  is disconnection anxiety. Disconnection anxiety is a term used to describe intense painful feelings due to a lack of connect with self, with family, community or being a value to society. The more losses we experience the more disconnection anxiety becomes increasingly prevalent. There are specific issues that also arise besides anxiety such as:

+ Tension                                                         + Fears

+ Confusion                                                     + Feeling less than

+ Surfacing of negative beliefs                        + Loss of feelings of worth 

+ Feeling of a loss of freedom                         + Feeling a loss of uniqueness

+ Feelings of discomfort                                  + Feeling disconnected from everyone 
                                                                             and everything

6 Tips that Tell You, You are Disconnected

If you suspect you may be experiencing an unhealthy level of anxiety or a low sense of self-worth associated with loss of connection then consider the following criteria to determine if you might be vulnerable to form an unhealthy or inappropriate connection.

1. Significance 

How significant is your need to be connected to something to have a sense of self-worth? Does you need to fill an emptiness due to a need for external validation? Do you gauge “self-importance” by how many connections you have someone or something even if the connection is harmful? Is the connection you turned to stopping you from doing other things that are healthy? Maybe your priorities have become skewed. Be sure to check where your self-worth is coming from. Self-worth should come from inside yourself, not outside from others.

2. Reward Response

Does being connected to someone or something make you feel better or more in control? Does not being “a part of” make you feel worse? Be aware that you can sense a positive “payoff” even if you are excessively connected to something unhealthily. Do you connect to anything just to feel in control even if you are not? Impulsive connections just to get a reward rush can obscure the activity negative consequences.

3. Can't Let Go of Unhealthy Relationships

Do you find yourself interacting with unhealthy connections just to feel connected? If you feel compelled to always say “I just can't stop,” carving out more and more space in your life for spending more time in a unhealthy connection. The major question becomes, are you spending more time forming an unhealthy relationships? What other important, healthy, fulfilling or meaningful connections are you excluding or diminishing? Check to see if you are lying to yourself about being in an unhealthy relationship more than not.

4. Abstaining 
Do you feel anxious, afraid or excessively worried if you cannot participate in your unhealthy connection or even the thought of not doing it? One way to gauge how important your unhealthy connection is or the degree of toxicity it holds is when you consider doing without it. The higher the level of denial, fear, anxiety or pain you anticipate, the stronger the hold the unhealthy connection has over you and the more you feel a loss of control. The more you stay in denial the more your unhealthy connection becomes.

5. Distraction 

Has the excessive focus and involvement with your unhealthy connection disrupted your life and relationships, causing interpersonal or personal conflicts over your unhealthy relationships?

6. Reverting 

Do you often say to yourself “I am determined to invest less of my time in my unhealthy connection” only to turn around, defend it, and then spend more time in it? This is an indication that the unhealthy connection is gaining more power over your time and focus. Your attempt to fill your emptiness may have become toxic. A toxic connection can cause real damage to your self-worth, relationships, and career as well as your physical, emotional and mental health.

1 Major Tip for Change

The solution of avoiding the possibility of seeking a behavior, emotion, object, substance or thought to fill the emptiness is to make sure you have solid connection to yourself. If you solidify your connection with yourself it will reduce the possibility of filling that hole with someone or something that could turn out to be very toxic in the long run. 

After Thoughts

Try working on identifying all your connections you value and rebuffing losses which have made you feel empty, feel less than, or not good enough in order to counter the effects of situations of loss. Ultimately, you have the power and control to determine what connections are good and healthy for you, and which are just and impulse to plug a feeling of being disconnected or empty. You have the ability to build a community of supportive connections that will add joy, happiness and positive content in the long-term. Being connected to yourself and with others is what allows you to feel valued and fulfilled.

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  1. Thank you for another phenomenal article. You explained what so many survivors do in a way that was really powerful and easy to understand. Definitely gave me a lot to think about, which is awesome.

    1. You are welcome. I really appreciate your comments and that you found a lot of value in this blog post. I hope you continue to share on this blog and others. Your ideas are very validating and important.

      Thank you for following my blog.


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