Day/Card 2 of 39 … Connect …
I have a confession to make. I am a self-professed anti-social. It started off as a joke between myself and one of my best friends and mentor. But in all honesty, I’m not one for large crowds or being around a lot of people. It overwhelms me. I like staying home. I’ve never been one to hit the social scenes, go to parties or events, or have a lot of friends. I have a small circle that I love and hold dearly, and, of course, my family, but that’s it. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand the importance of making the effort and taking time to connect with those who are important to me.
In 2018, I made a conscious effort to connect with at least 2 people in real life (in person) every month. This carried on into 2019 and was to carry forward again in 2020 until Covid-19 placed a protective ban on socializing. I was able to make several connections every month and I have to admit that connecting with the RIGHT people made a huge difference for me. But real connection is more than just reaching out and spending time with family and friends when life is good and easy. It’s more than just talking and sharing interests.
What I know, and what I preach is that in this life we cannot get by without the help and love of others. I tell my patients this when they are in my ER telling me that they didn’t/don’t want to bother anyone so they struggled alone. We were meant to have different purposes in life in order to help others with our strengths. We need others to help us see the bigger picture when we are struggling to see, to nurse us back to health when we’re ill, to guide us out of the dark when we’re lost. But the thing is, we need to reach out to others without fear of being seen as “weak.” Many fear that asking for help is seen as a sign of weakness, when it’s by far more of a sign of strength. When you’re at your lowest or weakest and having to ask for help takes courage. Connecting with others when you’re not at your best takes courage. I know this first hand because it’s difficult for me to ask for help or to be vulnerable with others which is why I was reluctant to connect with others in the past. What I know and what I’ve learned is that true connection doesn’t always require words or deep conversations, nor does it have to be with people who are close to us. I’ve made some really deep connections with patients that I’ve cared for in less than 2 hours.
In this time of shelter-in-place, wearing a mask so no one can see your face, no touching, no hugging, not able to tell if one is smiling … During this time of isolation and forced separation … The “Connect” card urges you to reach out, or be open when someone else reaches out to you. Listen. Have empathy and show kindness and compassion. You don’t have to have all the answers, you just have to show that you genuinely care. Real connections allow us to feel seen and heard. Real connections allow us to demonstrate our humanness, our love for each other, and to allow us to not feel alone. Connect.