All of us need to feel a sense of love and belonging. We’re hard-wired to want to be connected to others – that’s what gives meaning and purpose to our lives. (Brené Brown)
A few days ago in my human development class we were talking about what drives our need for human connection, which led me to thinking about why those of us in recovery attend meetings. According to Gerald May, meaning comes to us through our relationships in life. He says, the three facets of human spiritual longing are the desire for belonging and union, the desire for loving and the desire for just being.
Even though we seek these three we are constantly frustrated because at the same time, usually out of habit, we protect ourselves against being rejected, or being found wanting, or not measuring up. We hesitate to open up completely and allow ourselves to be truly vulnerable. We have a false perception that to express any vulnerability is a sign of weakness. We hold back because of this ‘perfection culture’, fearing rejection or a sense of shame.
But we don’t have to hold back. We connect by mutual understanding and truth in life’s experiences.
Whether it makes you smile or cringe, a truth spoken is a healing thing.”(Jennifer DeLucy)
Our most fundamental sense of well-being is derived from the conscious experience of belonging. Relatedness is essential to survival. This is the underlying reason why we attend meetings or visit each other’s blogs on the sober blogging network.
We do it to connect with others who can identify with our experiences and who we can learn from.
“We are all wonderful, beautiful wrecks. That’s what connects us–that we’re all broken, all beautifully imperfect.” (Emilio Estevez)
Our feelings are our great connectors. Experiences and expressions of our feelings about those experiences allow us to connect and remember that we are not alone in this.
“Can I be honest with you, Mr. Wind-Up Bird? I mean, really, really, really honest? Sometimes I get sooo scared! I’ll wake up in the middle of the night all alone, hundreds of miles away from anybody, and it’s pitch dark, and I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen to me in the future, and I get so scared I want to scream. Does that happen to you, Mr. Wind-Up Bird? When it happens, I try to remind myself that I am connected to others—other things and other people. I work as hard as I can to list their names in my head. On that list, of course, is you, Mr. Wind-Up Bird. And the alley, and the well, and the persimmon tree, and that kind of thing. And the wigs that I’ve made here with my own hands. And the little bits and pieces I remember about the boy. All these little things (though you’re not just another one of those little things, Mr. Wind-Up Bird, but anyhow…) help me to come back “here” little by little.”
Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle