Brene Brown’s statement defining connection is powerful reflection for us all to keep our focus on what is truly important in the giving and receiving that this time of year has become synonymous for: “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
Many people struggle at Christmas and it can be made even more difficult when we are bombarded with the constant reminders of the perfect family and friends coming together for lunch and dinners laughing across a table laden with food and white dusted light layered trees under which a carpet of gifts are strewn via our television and other technologies.
It has always struck me as slightly bizarre that we represent this time of year (originally established as a Christian celebration of birth i.e. Christ mass) as a commercial frenzy in which no-one will be satisfied or happy unless they receive just the right gift; and it’s done in Australia as though it was the middle of winter so everything has a dusting of fake snow, with fat men in funny suits and false beards sitting in shopping centres surrounded by so much kitsch it borders on the absurd.
Let me take a moment to explain; I am not the grinch. I do love this time of year, though for a different reason. It’s a time for me for reflection and reconnection. While the commercial nature of Christmas has little interest to me and I am not religious, what is most important personally is that it is a time to reach out and check-in with those people who we think of and care about.
We have lost friends this year due to illness and accident and on the horizon next year will be three other families who will suffer that saddest of losses. These are the friends and families that we reach out to, letting them know that they are in my heart and in my mind, sharing love and laughter, joy and pain. That is connection and it is too easily lost as we make excuses, get too busy or perhaps are too afraid to reach out because we don’t know how to handle that sadness or grief.
Relating back to Brene Brown, if we don’t connect we are denying people the sustenance and strength that is needed to first survive and then to thrive when times become challenging.
Enjoy Christmas, enjoy the excitement and the joy. It’d be nice if we got a lot of that from reaching out and reconnecting in a real way.