r By Julie Hall for My Story Matters
In recent years, the words connection, belonging, acceptance and inclusiveness, have made it to the forefront of our collective social mindset. As a human race, we crave being part of “a whole”. It is crucial to our ability to live our best life.
At My Story Matters, we engage in communities and embrace the stories and personal journeys of individuals. We believe every story does matter and we can become more united in compassion, understanding and empathy as we realize that we are more alike than we are different.
Exclusion, intolerance, alienation and loneliness can be witnessed in our elementary schools, high schools, local and national government. It is rampant in social media posts, news and opinion articles, on the highways and byways, in our cities and neighborhoods.
So if the saboteurs of our best life; are the practices we see the most, how are we to satiate our craving for being part of “a whole”?
Finding connection, belonging, acceptance and inclusion with ourselves (owning our story) may be the most direct pathway to our connection with others. If you look in a mirror and do not know, or like the person reflected there, can you ever hope to truly connect with others?
So am I proposing that the ability to connect begins with standing alone? Yes. Sound contradictory? Bear with me.
Being alone and loneliness are indeed different. While the definition of lonely uses descriptive words such as, without, cut off, sad, bleakness. Separated, exclusive, incomparable and unique are words used to define alone. See the difference?
To find connection with oneself, could mean to love oneself. Be content with who you are. See yourself as an individual, who is unique. Create times for solitude so you can get to know you. Discover the world in which you live. Read, listen, play, consider, paint, create, write. Decide if you agree or disagree and then discover why you feel that way. Find yourself, know yourself, so you can love yourself. Own your story and connection, belonging, acceptance and inclusiveness with others will be possible and much easier.
So here is a challenge.
Today, make a list of ten things you love. Hopefully, you are that list. Then share your list with five people. By doing so, you might discover you have more in common with others than you thought and you will find a story that matters.