As Milestones Counseling & Consulting Services enters the new year (and decade), I wanted to take some time to share my vision for 2020 with you.
2020 is the year of Connection. Why focus on connection? Today’s world seems to provide us with more and more ways to connect and share things about our lives. Yet, as a therapist what I often hear about are feelings of disconnection and isolation. There are many reasons for this. Everyone is busy! It can be difficult sometimes to figure out how to make time for the people in our lives. Some of us struggle with moving past superficial relationships to cultivate meaningful, deeper connections. My goal for this article is to introduce some of the topics we’ll be exploring together this year and discuss why healthy connection is so integral to our wellbeing.
The Importance of Connection
At the end of the day, healthy human connection is essential. Numerous studies show that people who feel more connected to others have lower levels of anxiety and depression, have higher self-esteem, more empathy for others, and are more trusting. If these basic needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. For example, when children feel disconnected from their parents they may feel alone. When teenagers are disconnected socially they might feel that no one understands them. And if they are feeling lonely, misunderstood, and disconnected, they may not be able to tell you what they’re experiencing. They may not feel comfortable expressing how they feel. Healthy connections are essential for good communication.
Why We Struggle to Connect With Others
Do we know how to connect? If not, what’s getting in the way? Some of us struggle with the fundamentals of creating deeper connections with others due to a history of unhealthy relationships, underdeveloped social skills, lack of trust, anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. Are there things we’re telling ourselves, about ourselves, and to others that may also create feelings of disconnection? Because, if left unaddressed, these are issues that can negatively impact us as well as our future relationships with peers, friends, and family members.
For example, some people may make connections but are unsure of how to sustain them in a healthy way. They may expect too much from others and seek validation and love from the wrong people. On the other hand, they may have people in their lives that demand a lot of time and energy but won’t reciprocate. They may struggle to set boundaries, be dealing with the stress of social comparison, or feel uneasy when it comes to resolving conflicts.
When Disconnecting is Healthy
Another thing I frequently hear is how people are feeling almost too connected, overstimulated, and anxious due to the frequent notifications from our social media streams and news outlets. On top of that, there are so many divisive voices in our world today coming at us quickly and almost without warning. It can easily overwhelm us if we aren’t taking the necessary time-outs and breaks from the intensity of it all. Taking the time to re-evaluate relationships, practice self-care, and unplug from social media is essential and invaluable for our wellbeing and for our future relationships.
In the coming months, we’ll be taking a deeper look at some of the topics above and exploring other questions relating to the theme of connection:
- What are some obstacles to healthy, fulfilling connections with your child or teenager?
- How can we foster a sense of belonging within our community and among peers?
- How can we move past superficial relationships to cultivate meaningful, deeper connections?
- What impact does social media have on our ability to form healthy connections and boundaries with one another?
- What are the benefits of healthy boundaries in relationships?
- Are we seeking too much from the wrong people? How can we cultivate confidence and improve our self-esteem for ourselves?
I look forward to exploring these questions with you throughout 2020. Is your child, teenager, or young adult struggling with making meaningful, healthy connections with friends or family members? Would you like to develop fulfilling family connections? Please reach out to us at Milestones Counseling & Consulting Services. We are here to help you build stronger family relationships!