By Cristin Lowe
Disconnecting from friends and family is an easy trap to fall into during divorce proceedings. So that’s why day three of the challenge is connection. Connection is what keeps us “keeping on.” Connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. We’re hard-wired to connect with other people—it’s why we’re here.
Mitch Albom discusses human connection in his best-selling book Tuesdays with Morrie. “In the beginning of life, when we were infants, we need others to survive, right? And at the end of life . . . you need others to survive, right? But here’s the secret: in between, we need others as well.”
Having the courage to embrace vulnerability and the compassion to love yourself will allow you to connect with other people. Start with your immediate family. They already know that you love them, but it’s important to remember how important it is to tell them. Borrow a little courage and compassion from people who love you and believe in you will make amazing differences in your life. It will give you a sense of belonging and one of community.
But don’t stop there. Every once in a while I sit in anonymously in the local self-help center just to observe people working on their divorce papers. Race, religion, ethnicity, and gender don’t matter. They are all confused, scared, and in pain because they’re going through a divorce. Yet in the midst of all those feelings, something wonderful happens: connection. These people will likely never see each other again. They’ll go on with their separate lives. But for a few moments, they connect. They connect through their struggle to fill out a form. They connect through sharing a war story. They connect through their silent knowledge that they are all going through the exact same thing.
So connect with everyone around you, knowing that there is a greater than 50% chance that they have been through a divorce too and understand how you feel. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others, including strangers. It’s what you need.
Now at the end of day three, the question is now: what is the end result of courage, compassion, and connection? The answer, is authenticity.
Dr. Brene Brown sums it up perfectly:
“Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle and connected to each other through a loving and resilient human spirit; nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we let go of what we are supposed to be and embrace who we are.”