Thoughts on Striving for Deeper Connections

When I read this week’s focused topic which is addressed to the family groups (Bible talk groups) on a section called Directions of the TVCOC online bulletin, I found myself guilty, on some levels, of emotional disconnect. The message talks about helping others in the family group feel a deeper sense of “family.”

TVCOC Directions, Weekly Email Bulletin

TVCOC Directions, Weekly Email Bulletin

I appreciate the nudge. It’s a healthy reminder. I also see this gentle push applies to the other relationships I have.

“Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.” Galatians‬ ‭6:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

So what do I need to know so I could do better? Watching Brené Brown again on her first TED talk provides some clarity. It’s summed up in one word – Vulnerability.

Although I am highly aware that I have a lot to improve on, I do place pretty well on the vulnerability scale. It’s not always like that. I don’t see vulnerability and authenticity with the same pair of eyes I had when I was younger and a much more determined person to prove others of my value.

Practicing authenticity invites grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives.

Authenticity by BBrown

Do you remember the times when you stepped on a yucky gum and annoyingly feels stuck while desperately trying to scrape it off? Ironically, that’s how my inner-self would use to look at vulnerability – as a pestilence, and the goo in my human existence. The thing is, there’s no way we could establish a deeper sense of connection with another person and show our real authentic self without vulnerability. Vulnerability empowers us to give our imperfect self the permission to be seen even with the fear of judgment and rejection. It allows us to tell our story, use our voice even when faced with a lack of support and plenty of doubts from some people. It gives us the confidence to consider a fundamental truth that we are enough and that we are wired to love and care for each other. And above all, it frees us of our predisposition to negotiate with God, and instead, it makes us surrender wholeheartedly to His will.

Even now I still experience, although not often, moments where I fight the essence of a vulnerable spirit, especially so when the desire to be in control is higher than what’s needed in the flow of events. Being in control is easy. Being vulnerable is not easy. And it’s not supposed to be. It takes lots and lots of practice and showing up even when the going gets tough to get accustomed to it.

Let me go back to TVCOC’s Direction’s gentle nudge of the week. There’s no doubt that I love the different relationships I have in my life and that includes my family’s Family Group Bible Talk. The members fought a good fight of faith and unity for this family group. We acknowledge that the next steps we need to take would be on the strengthening of the bonds of the relationship that was established. What can we do to ensure that everyone in that group feels loved and cared for by each other? How do we maintain connected in between meetups? How do we grow that connection? What’s my role in all these?

Here’s what my quiet time has revealed to me.

While it is true that I need to fight a little harder everyday for a deeper sense of connection, it is also true that given the hurriedness, hectic schedule, and personal challenges that I have to deal with these days, it is not easy. And when you have to battle with, among other things, chronic insomnia while refusing medication indicated for it, it’s even harder to care for new relationships.

Often the daily schedules and the physical burden I carry prevents me from individually reaching out on a much more personal level to the beautiful people in our family group. Sometimes the disconnect also lies in fear that I’d be misunderstood or that I could offend or inconvenience people of my struggles, and not to mention, be perceived as intrusive of their personal life when encouraged to share how they’re doing. Maybe I hesitate to ask for help because I either don’t want to burden others or be seen as a burden. Or maybe I’m more scared that the other person will say yes because when you’re used to hearing a no, you’re lost when you start getting yeses. Perhaps, I don’t offer help as much as I want to because of rejection fears or of my insecurity that I have nothing of particular value to others. After all, it’s not uncommon to feel frightful when we put ourselves out there and allow us to be seen in a state of vulnerable nakedness. And also, there are that physical fatigues and pains that are just hard to explain to others, mostly difficult because being misunderstood or not understood adds to the exhaustion, quickly.

Let me bring back Brené Brown and her helpful insights. She talks about letting ourselves be seen – being authentic by having the courage to present our imperfect self,  loving with our whole heart even without guarantees, practicing gratitude so we could lean on joy, and accept that we are enough.

Psalm‬ ‭34:5‬, “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”
‭‭
So, here’s a link to Brené’s TED Talk on vulnerability. She talks about being authentic and real – being vulnerably seen. I watched it probably gazillion times and every time I do; I gain fresh insights. Her research on vulnerability and shame and the book Daring Greatly were referenced many times by Todd Spatt, a minister and a psychotherapist in his couples’ address during last year’s Marriage Retreat.

Cheers to all of us! And let’s all feel – not just know – that we are well loved. We are loved! We just need to do a better job at making each other experience it on a sensory and emotional level. Also, we need to be forgiving and gracious, patient of each other’s various facets of awkwardness and social faux pas without becoming an enabler. Moreover, we have to be encouraging and nurturing of our attempts to foster closer bonds.

Most likely, we’ll get it wrong more than we’ll get it right, but having the heart and the courageous vulnerability to get back to wanting to work for much deeper connections is worth the love and the appreciation we all deserve to enjoy together.

Share

Leave a Reply