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Be Happy - Choose Connection
May 13, 2003
by Debbie Gisonni

Could you imagine those peer pressured, awkward years in high school without someone to talk to - a best friend, a sibling or a radical aunt? Ironically, that's the time when you're most centered on yourself, and yet it's precisely when you need to connect with others. I used to worry about everything; my clothes being "cool" enough, my curly hair staying straight on a rainy day, meeting my boyfriend at the dance without my parents knowing. It was all about me! But without my friends, in whom I confided my daily dilemmas, I would have drowned in a sea of my own of self-doubt.

While there is an inherent emphasis in our society on the individual, the path in life is not meant to be traveled upon alone. The connection you make with others, whether they be friends, family or strangers, is what gives your life meaning. With the exception of some religious orders in which monks vow to live in solitude, most of us need other people (or at least a pet) to add texture to our lives. Studies show that social connections have a positive effect on our well being.

Some say the Internet is the ultimate connection for everyone in the world. The Internet cannot, however, replace companionship because it disconnects you from emotions and spirit. Email can never replace the spectrum of emotions created by the physical interaction with other human beings. The Internet will not teach your children how to listen to the sound of a voice with their hearts or how to hug a friend who is hurting.

The connections you make during your time on earth are like a million lifelines floating in a vast ocean, each with its own unique life preserver, only a thought away from embracing you. When your world is turned upside down and you want to crawl into a shell, the best thing you can do is reach out for one of those lifelines. All it takes is your desire to connect.

Connecting with others is nourishment for your soul as much as food and water are for your body.

Five ways to choose connection in your life:

  • Make small talk with a stranger.
  • Research your family tree and call a long lost relative.
  • Join a group that meets regularly (social club, meditation group, parents group, sports team).
  • Phone a friend you don't see often, rather than sending an email.
  • Spend quality time with your family.

Copyright © 2003 Debbie Gisonni, All Rights Reserved.

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