Humans need quality connections with other humans. We really only need a few “ride-or-dies,” plus maybe a handful of additional people in our lives to feel a sense of love and belonging. So why then, in this big ol’ world of 8 billion people, can it be so hard to connect with a lover or bestie?!
Many factors contribute to this phenomenon—our phones, work-life balance, trauma, your mom….all of it. Finding your way to good habits that lead to a good connection with yourself and others starts with small steps.
If you’re having trouble finding and or forming a connection with someone that feels satisfying, there’s usually an unproductive feedback loop that is occurring. This loop can be happening whether you’re overly connecting with a ton of people, but not able to feel close to any of them, or having trouble connecting with any one person altogether.
When I’ve had trouble finding what I wanted in terms of friends and lovers, my loop would look something like this:
“I don’t have a partner, so now I’m sad and putting out an edgy poopy pants boo hoo vibe; this isolates me even more (turns out that a scarcity mindset isn’t super sexy), now I’m blaming myself (and the rest of the world for that matter)”…..repeat.
So how do you get out of The Loop when you’re lonely, and you want someone in your life in a meaningful way—and just “cheering up” hasn’t always worked for you?
Give up. Ok, but take it easy. I’m not talking about becoming a total nihilist just yet. I’m talking about giving up on all the hoping and longing that happens when you’re looking for someone. Longing for something or someone takes you out of the present and hijacks your contentment until an event, that may or may not even happen, occurs. “I’ll be happy when I meet the perfect partner—then I’ll be legitimate, and my life will start!” When I think like this, I abandon myself and my current life, and I exist in an imaginary version of myself. This creates loneliness. (Side note: being alone doesn’t make one feel lonely. Loneliness is an emotional response to being disconnected from yourself and, therefore, others).
When I’m disconnected from myself, I can’t connect with other people, and they can’t connect with me in a healthy way.
Even if I were on a date with someone, I wouldn’t mentally be in the room with that person—I’d be off and running into the future (an imaginary place that doesn’t exist), cooking up all kinds of scenarios for the two of us there.
When I stopped longing for someone who didn’t exist, I could be more present in my actual life (where, incidentally, I ended up finding all the love and romance I needed).
Cultivate your current love life—with yourself. The degree to which we can connect with ourselves and our own body is the degree to which we can connect to other people and be connectable. How do you tune into your body and give it what it needs? What is your self-talk to your body like—are you speaking to yourself with kindness or judgment? The relationship with your body sets the tone for all of your other relationships.
Practice and validate small connections. If connecting with yourself and others doesn’t come naturally to you—start small!
Connecting with yourself:
- Practice asking your body what it needs today.
- Give yourself intentional and conscious touch.
- Treat yourself to lunch or a little gift this week.
- Check in with yourself throughout the day to see what you’re feeling emotionally and physically.
Connecting with others:
- Experiment with small, low-risk interactions with people who you’re not trying to be friends with or date. It doesn’t have to be anything significant—“Thank you for bagging my groceries so carefully. Cool hat! Nice shades.” The point is to practice being vulnerable in small doses.
- During conversations with other people, note if your mind is wandering or not—do your best to be present in the conversation and focused on what the other person is saying.
Have a generous spirit. Showing up to an event, flirting, or actively listening during a conversation is a gift to others. Can you give this kind of gift without expecting anything in return?
Cozy up with risk. If your life is cluttered with too many people or dating apps, you might have to risk letting people down by saying no thank you. Or, if you’re having trouble showing up at all in social interactions, you might have to risk rejection when you ask that cute babe out for coffee. Without actual actions on your part, The Loop will keep circling.
Check your checklist. Do you have an unrealistic checklist that your future person needs to fulfill? Focus on how you want to feel within a relationship vs. specifics. “I want to feel happy, secure, compatible, and I want to be laughing a lot…etc.” Leave room for the Universe to surprise you with how the details will take shape.
Incidentally, since I started working first and foremost on my connection with myself—I enjoy being alone significantly more, and my relationships (new or existing) are more fulfilling. I no longer get sucked into The Loop over something I don’t have—which feels like freedom.
Blog written by Three Brodsky,
Three has a unique perspective as a psychic and as someone who’s married with two kids, a member of the Queer community, and polyamorous. Finding new ways to create space for more love, community, and connection is her passion.