Connection can be a beautiful and painful affair. As I get older, my introverted nature seems to make its presence known more and more and connecting with other humans requires higher amounts of energy each time. I don’t think however that I will ever completely isolate myself from people. When I have been alone for a while, I do feel the need for real human connection. I am slowly understanding though that for connection to be real and more beautiful than painful, there are a few nuggets of truth that I need to remember.
When I choose to open my heart and connect with another human, what I actually do is travel half of the journey, to the door of their heart and knock. I feel in pain, physically and mentally, when nobody answers, so I often make myself believe that the door in front of me opens wide, that the authentic connection is there and that what I feel is reciprocated. But regardless of how good my daydreaming is, the other door actually remains shut. Or at best, just barely cracked open.
For a very long time I was convinced that the other door not opening was about me. That I was not worthy of this connection and therefore, no answer … . Fortunately, I get it now (most days). Every single one of us, humans, represents a complex web of experiences, culture, upbringing, social and physical conditioning, and so, so much more. What anyone we connect with does, the way they act, is never about us and it is always about them. The only thing that is about us is the way we react to what is happening. And when we do, we’d better be honest about the connection – did the door really open when we knocked or did we dream it?
This week I realized that I imagined my connection with a group of humans I work with. And not for a few days … for years. It was tough for me to witness stories and events showing me their doors were actually never open (or, worse, were open every now and again when opportunity to get something in return presented itself). It hurt and it made me feel like a fool. What was news to me was not the idea that I dreamt the connection – my guardian angel of a partner had sent numerous warnings. What was news to me this week was that, this time, I did feel the divide myself. I had come to the edge of this divide several times before but chose to look the other way … it was too painful. This time, too tired to tell myself different stories, I decided to not ignore the grief, to feel it and see where it takes me. At the end of the journey alongside disappointment and heartbreak, I found clarity and peace, took a step back and remembered to always wait for the other door to fully open. And maybe, next time, wait to hear a knock myself before I decide to open.
Any unrequited connection gives way to grief. Any open heart that is not welcomed in the same manner by another open heart will hurt for a while. But vulnerability is key to growth and so … we try, we fail and grieve and once we integrate our grief, we feel brave for trying and wiser for learning a lesson.
Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash