Three disparate voices, separated by 260 years, yet together, like a lighthouse, they point out the rocky shores of loneliness and separation. Three quotes, each stating the importance of connection and community.
Whether Brene Brown is writing from a spiritual perspective or not, when she states that “Connection is why we are here” and that “We are hardwired to connect with others,” it reminds us that there may indeed be laws of the universe that we simply must keep in mind. When I am standing near a precipice I keep the law of gravity in mind; as a passenger on a plane I am counting on Bernoulli’s Principle to create lift above the wings; and when going around corners in a car I should keep the law of centrifugal force) in mind. Maybe similarly, if I want a good state of mental health I need to cooperate with the law of human connection. As Brene Brown explains, without connection there is suffering.
We can resonate with Jesus when He informs us that “a new commandment I give to you — that you love one another” or we can agree with Paul McCartney when he sings “all you need is love,” but either way we are prodded toward Love. We are prodded toward our need to Belong. Is one – our beliefs or our spirit to love – more important than the other? I don’t think so. Instead, I think we need 100% of our being to be devoted to having both; to having our thinking be right and to having our view of others and our relationships be right.
We hear the word sustainable more and more, and rightly so. We question whether beliefs and habits of behavior contribute to the ongoing health of the planet. Most often these questions are about behaviors related to climate change, but I would add that our lack of love may destroy us before the adverse effects of climate change do. Within this context, learning to love is our only hope for a sustainable future. Unless we can get along, it won’t matter how high our seas rise or how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere. A short passage from Desire of Ages declares what is needed if we are to thrive in this life, as well as the next –
In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-sacrificing love is the law of life for earth and heaven. Desire of Ages, pgs. 19, 20
Smith’s truism is important, but so is the truism it solves — that being without the company of a friend our mind becomes disturbed. Relationships matter to us. The more important the relationship, the more deeply our pain and frustration are felt. Our work is adversely affected when we feel disconnected from our spouse; a child’s school work is affected when when he lacks support at home or friends on the playground; and soon, whether adult or child, even our physical health can be affected.
Loneliness is a smarts killer and a sense killer. We’re not as quick, not as sharp when we start downshifting into survival mode because of a hurting relationship. We are less able to accurately process things cognitively when our creative centers, in an attempt to cope with our relationship pain, begin to depress and shut down. We start off simply masking, but soon we are self-medicating or numbing, which almost always becomes a negative cycle, since people who numb are rarely able to think and act in a way that really solves their dilemma. Yet Adam Smith nudges us back toward tranquility — focus on a relationship, even if it is a connection with one other person.
Spiritual or not; religious or not; self-helpish or not – this is just the way things are. Connect, learn to love, value a companion.
The Better Plan blog has been going since the end of 2012. This post represents number 300. Thank you for being a part of The Better Plan and Choice Theory community.