We talk a lot about self-connection on this blog. In many ways, it is the cornerstone for connection more generally – so it would probably be good to talk a little bit about what we mean by that term. Our Lab is studying how people define it, cultivate it, lose it, and sustain it, and we’ll have lots to say on all of those topics in the coming months and years. But for now, let’s start with a basic discussion of what self-connection is all about.
In simple terms, self-connection is a state of being…one in which you regularly tune in to your own emotional, spiritual, and physical needs, and honor them in your daily actions. You listen to your intuition. You fully inhabit your physical body. You are able to quickly pinpoint what is hurting your feelings, what kind of movement your body is aching for, when you need some alone time, and how what you’re doing in this small moment fits into your larger life purpose. It’s a heightened state of being.
When you live a self-connected life, you value your time and use it wisely…furthering the causes and priorities you care most about. You make time for meaningful activities, and avoid the meaningless. You are clear on what matters to you, with a strong internal compass that alerts you to when you’re getting off track. You feel fulfilled both in the moment and in the big picture – because you know you are tending to your deepest needs.
You take care of your health with nutritional, exercise and sleep habits that keep your unique body humming along at its best. You also tend your emotional health, regularly checking in with yourself to address any unmet needs or unresolved issues. You recognize and express your emotions. You take time to reflect and be grateful. You are honest with yourself and with others.
You cultivate a limitless curiosity when it comes to learning…about yourself, others, the world, and the many ways you might experience joy. You might be transported to a state of flow as you make art. You might revel in your oneness with other living things as you walk through the woods. You might not. But you are proficient in the language of you, and you quickly pick up on what works for you, and what doesn’t.
Self-connection impacts every area of life, from our mental and physical health to the satisfaction we derive from social connections, work, and hobbies. This is why connection theory interventions all begin by learning to improve self-connection. Let’s be clear, though: No one lives in perfect self-connection, in all areas of life, 100% of the time. We are, after all, only human! The best we can do is to develop habits that ensure we regularly check in with ourselves, honor our priorities, and help us restore connection when it (inevitably) is lost or muffled in the clamor of modern life.
Across all contexts, the payoff of self-connection is the sense of feeling truly and exquisitely alive…fully engaged with the life you lead, and welcoming every moment. Your body sings, your mind soars, and you inhabit a world of the most profound and lasting satisfaction.