“What attracts us doesn’t always connect us.”
This time of year, as evenings are cooling down and more people are gravitating towards the chill of the autumn air, many of us find ourselves sipping on hot drinks and gathering around bonfires with those we love. Amid falling crunchy leaves and hints of chilly days approaching, there is a kind of nostalgic yearning for connection. And yet, rates of reported loneliness are at an all-time high. While rates of anxiety, depression, and overarching loneliness are in part due to the social climate within a global pandemic, there are additional internal barriers to a sense of intimacy.
Donald Miller writes with striking authenticity in his book Scary Close, sharing personal stories and struggles that many of us would prefer to keep buried in the closet with all our boxed-up memories and out-of-season clothing. In his vulnerability, he admits to having structured his life around performing for a sense of connection, writing, “Nobody steps onto a stage and gets a standing ovation for being human. You have to sing or dance or something. I think that’s the difference from being loved and making people clap, though. Love can’t be earned, it can only be given. And it can only be exchanged by people who are completely true with each other.”
What is it that keeps us hidden from others? Is it fear? And if so, what are we afraid of? The heart is often waging a war between love and fear in a quest for belonging, security, and self-protection. While performing for love is innately human, genuine connection requires the courageous vulnerability to be seen as you are. What would that look like for you to lower the mask and experience more meaningful connection with those around you?
If you would like additional support, we are here to help. Please contact The Refuge Center for Counseling at 615-591-5262 today.
Blog written by The Refuge Center Master’s Level Intern – India Lacerda