The last time I visited Sydney, I walked amongst tired and drained people. They were disconnected from each other, themselves and life. Coming from the Sunshine Coast where I regularly connected with nature, other people who practiced mindfulness, and to myself, I was very aware of their disconnect. I could not help but feel sad. There was a kind of deadness or “numbing out” on their faces and in their vibe. While perpetual shut-down from ourselves is not desirable, there is a role for inner-disconnection as well as inner-connection.
The Challenge of Connecting to Ourselves
Cultivating connection with ourselves is a practice where we open our awareness to what’s happening in our minds and bodies. To connect is to open, feel and allow. It is to listen deeply with a clear mind. Only when we connect with our thoughts, feelings and actions and watch ourselves with openness and curiosity, can we begin to truly see ourselves. It is this “feeling INTO ourselves” that allows us to acknowledge what we really think and feel.
The irony is that initially, we often meet with the part of us that criticises and judges us, and emotional pain that we would do anything to avoid. This pain often aggravates our inner judge and we become more distressed. So even though we may want to connect with ourselves, the reality of connection may increase the intensity of emotional memory which recruits us into disconnect.
The other thing that can happen as we attempt to authentically connect with ourselves, is that we meet an inner “brick wall”. To our surprise we may find that our inner self is firmly cut off, even from ourselves. This could leave us asking why do we disconnect from ourselves?
The Nature of Self-Connection
Connecting to ourselves can only happen when it is emotionally safe. Our inner self is like a flower that opens and closes naturally to what is happening around it. If the connection with others is safe and respectful, and the emotions within are not too intense, then the inner self can open. If the self becomes triggered or if the environment ceases to be safe, then the inner-walls will solidify and the old defensive patterns will protect the inner self again.
We can witness this process of opening and closing down to what is happening around us. If the environment is severely unsafe then we can close down completely. This is a survival mechanism that we are born with. So the trick is not to always remain connected but rather, to be aware of when we are open and connected and when we are closed and disconnected. We can give ourselves compassion and understanding for the flower like movements of connection to and disconnection from ourselves, in knowing that this process is completely natural.
Psychologist- Conscious Solutions