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Dear Stranger

Updated: Jul 26, 2021

Dear Stranger,

The paradox of humanity; how we are social beings and thrive off relationships, yet the most important relationship we will ever have is with ourselves.

I do not think we realize the extent to which others we are in relationship with impact our lives. Humans are social beings, and we are hardwired to be social and to live in groups. In fact, research has shown that people whose only relationship is with their therapist, are actually less likely to improve compared to someone else who has healthy relationships with friends, family, etc. Even though someone might have a good therapist and they are learning all kinds of ways to improve their lives, they lack relationships to apply this to, and are far less likely to improve.

As a society, we are very focused on individual achievements and experiences. Most Western cultures are individualistic, and we generally like it this way. Although we are taught to focus on personal uniqueness, we could barely function if we were truly by ourselves. The brain is hardwired to help us function as part of a group, or members of a tribe. Even when we think we are truly by ourselves and enjoying our own company, many times we are still connecting with others. We listen to music (written by someone else), we express ourselves through clothes and accessories (that someone else made), or we might read a book (that someone else wrote). Many times, our connection with others is what we crave, whether we are aware of it or not, because as social beings, we survive with the help and connection from other beings. “Most of our energy is devoted to connecting with others.” – Bessel Van Der Kolk

As an introvert myself and someone who likes to spend a lot of time by myself, the fact that most of our energy is devoted to connecting with others was surprising to me. I often get emotionally drained from socializing too much and I tend to prefer time to myself. Sometimes I can be extremely outgoing and talk to anyone I see, and other times I choose to save my energy and simply listen in social situations. I have learned that when I am socializing or when I am by myself, I am still connecting. I am either in connection with myself or I am in connection with others, both are just as beneficial to my mental health and Spirit.

When we fall out of line with our connections, this is when our lives can get difficult. Most cases of mental suffering are a result of trouble in our relationships, either with others or with ourselves. While we are social beings and devote the most energy in connecting with others, the most important relationship and connection we each have is with ourselves. Strength, resiliency, empathy, and love all come from within. When we nourish and devote the time to connect with ourselves, our connection with others becomes stronger and our lives become fulfilling. It is so important to connect with ourselves, and I encourage everyone to do something every day to connect with their highest self. Whether it is going on a walk, watching your favorite show, having an orgasm, or reaching out to someone else. Do something everyday to feed your soul.

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