Will you join us in our campaign for connection?
We invite you to join us in our campaign.
2020 will go down in history, that we can be certain of. Its legacy, in contrast, remains to be seen.
Global research evidence was signalling a silent pandemic before we’d even heard the phrase “Covid-19”. That pandemic was loneliness (although I prefer to call it ‘disconnection’) and wealth, fitness, profession, status or postcode do not provide immunity.
The most shocking data is that those over 65 are the least lonely, instead it’s prevalent across all ages and the youngest suffer the most.
Identifying with the disconnect
Loneliness has an associated image of isolation, of feelings of sadness and emptiness.
Whilst this sometimes is the case, it frequently manifests as anger or anxiety. It can also be hidden with food, alcohol and other drugs, over-exercising, sex or work used to fill the void.
And although we spend time with those we call ‘our friends’, our desire for belonging leads us to abandon our values just to fit in, with unfortunate consequences for us and our families.
I see some of these masks all around in the people I interact with, and I feel it physically.
Are we allowed to be lonely?
We have a culture of individualism. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We are wired to seek connection which we do through being kind to each other.
So, if you think about it, it’s selfish to be kind to others. Win-win.
However, the idea of individualism has become corrupted: if you can’t survive alone then you aren’t good enough. But human evolution designed us to seek connection; it’s one of the few instincts we are born with and it’s life-long.
We aren’t designed to cope alone.
Language of connection
Negative judgments around the word ‘lonely’ or ‘loneliness’ and the stereotype of the lonely person are a problem. Rather than battle to adjust perceptions of the words, I use the language of ‘connection’ and ‘disconnection’ so I can focus on changing how people feel, rather than how they think.
But we all know this
As I’m typing away, I’m sure I’m not telling you anything new. OK you might be surprised by the age thing, but you know really that to thrive we need connection with others, to be true to our values and be kind. Right?
The legacy of 2020
It’s some comfort to hear that loneliness is a consideration in the UK response to Covid-19.
Although we can speculate, it’s hard to really know what the impact will be as none of us have gone through this before and the mental health consequences will only be understood in the years to come.
Something we do know, is that when faced with crisis, we open our hearts and are driven to be kind. And we’re seeing that during the Covid-19 lockdown.
My personal belief is that it could ‘go either way’; either we have a crisis of disconnection or we discover what’s important and make big changes to how we live our lives.
I hope with every ounce of my being that by having our hearts opened by the crisis, we learn enough to give us the courage we need to find a way to make the big changes; so our hearts don’t close up again.
But we must find the courage to act NOW.
I declare to you it is my mission, along with my colleagues at Counselling West Bridgford, to do all I can to help you and your communities to connect.
It’s not only my mission, but also a call to arms:
Will you join our Campaign?
I’ll do my best to provide resources, collect ideas and create an environment where we might, maybe, start a movement.
Campaign for Connection
This is the first post to launch the campaign. There are various things I’m working on: a ‘connection inventory’ piece to help you understand more about your own connections, my own ‘On Loneliness’ blog giving insight into this personal mission, emerging ideas for ‘communities of connection’ (although I’m hoping for a better title!), for those in business there’s a seminar on loneliness in the workplace, I’m working on an ‘office connection inventory’, and that’s just the start.
And counselling will of course provide some of the solution to understand our own values, although that’s just a small part of the movement.
I would love to hear your ideas for information, tools, events and so on that you would like to see as part of this *Campaign for Connection*.
Please email thoughts and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org or message me through the social media channels.
Go to our Campaign for Connection page.
Follow us on social media to follow the campaign and join in!