EMOTIONAL CONNECTION—Part 1 of 3 – Self Evolvement Series
By Anna Elena Berlin
Certified Professional Coach, Experience of Life Researcher
We are energetically connected in ways that cause all of our hearts to beat at the same time in just twenty seconds of gathering together, and why one person laughing or crying causes others to as well. The research literature shows that the essential impulse of all life is the will to connect. According to Lynn Taggart’s book The Bond, deep connection is the quality most essential to human nature, we were never meant to live a life of isolation and self-serving survival. The important point here is that people experience the greatest stress and the most serious illnesses as a result of being isolated from others.
An enormous body of research reveals that the root cause of stress, and ultimately illness, is being isolated. Our modern devotion to competition has created a habitual inclination to pit ourselves against each other, which is most toxic to our species. This being against each other is the poster child of emotional alienation. Lifestyle risk has less to do with someone having a heart attack than does alienation and isolation from others, from our own feelings, and from connecting to a higher power. Heart disease can actually be viewed as a disease of emotional disconnection.
Brigham Young University pooled and analyzed data from 148 studies that averaged seven years each and concluded that relationships of any kind, good or bad, improve people’s odds of survival by 50%. They found that isolation was the equivalent of smoking fifteen cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic, and it’s twice as harmful as obesity. Their findings show that strong individuation and preoccupation with self is extremely bad for our health.
So why are so many emotionally disconnected when having good connection is so vital to the health and well-being of people? According to the insightful book Fear of Intimacy, by Robert Firestone, PhD and Joyce Catlett, being close to another in a loving relationship makes one aware that life is precious, but must eventually be surrendered. If we embrace life, we must also face death’s inevitability. Some are negatively predisposed toward those who tempt them to lower their defenses and inadvertently expose them to potential pain, loss, or rejection again by seeking to emotionally connect, even though it is essential in order to flourish.
According to findings from Dr. Firestone’s more than 20 year research project involving couples and families, people are afraid to realize their dreams. They have an intolerance of affection that is especially notable in close relationships. Intimate relationships between couples and families were the most resistant to further development, which can easily be associated with their finding that people tended to maintain negative attitudes about themselves. What appears to be beside the point of emotional connection, our own negative views of ourselves, is actually the source of emotional disconnection. The research literature has led me to believe that people reflect how they feel about themselves onto others. This is huge if the emotional connection you need is to have a life partner. It is essential to understand that it’s difficult to get someone great in your life if you don’t feel great about yourself.
Talk about the most important emotional connection of all… the connection we have with ourselves and our elusive emotions has got to be it. The way we feel about ourselves, more than any other element of living, determines how we experience our lives. The key to our experience of life is held within our own self views. If you find connecting with people challenging, learning how to feel good about connecting with yourself is the most beneficial place to start, and is more than worthwhile. The next best place to focus your attention on is learning how to come to terms with the temporary nature of our physical lives.
The research shows that we choose between fully investing in life in spite of its temporal nature, or we are accommodating to death and defend against death anxiety by limiting our gratifications and denying our zest for life. In other words you can go against your innate human need to connect attempting to avoid the pain of loss, or you can understand that loss can’t be avoided because dying is inevitable and spare yourself the negative emotions associated with it.
Learning this is invaluable because we are predominately feeling beings by nature and negative emotions have a damaging affect on all our vital aspects. Most negative emotions and feelings are attributable to fear. Our emotional aspect affects how we experience our lives more than any of our other human aspects. It is essential to understand that emotional connection is the main determiner of whether our lives feel good or bad and to improve your life by improving your emotional connections, starting with the connection you have with yourself.