This Thing Called Connection

Photo of author
By Gabriel Gonsalves

Personal mastery, leadership development, and spiritual growth with the heart in mind. 

“I’ve been feeling disconnected from you lately,” I told a friend recently. “That’s weird.” She replied, “I feel very connected. You’ve been a lot on my mind lately.” This simple interaction got me thinking about how we all experience connection differently.

There are four primary levels of connection we can experience with others: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. To my friend, feeling connected meant holding me in her thoughts – the mental type of connection. And there’s nothing wrong with that. This is one way of experiencing connection.

But my heart seeks a deeper level of connection; the same one Brené Brown refers to in The Gifts of Imperfection. In her book, she defines 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.”

The type of connection she describes includes and transcends the level of our minds to include the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our being. This, I believe, is the only place where genuine, meaningful heart-to-heart connections can be made, grown, and developed.

As Heart Leaders, our job is to create and experience more of these types of connections on a day-to-day basis. The way to do this is by assigning top priority to those relationships we value most and showing up fully for ourselves and the other person at all four levels. 

To be present physically means I’m here, physically for you; that you can count on my physical presence, my heartbeat, my gentle touch, and my warm embrace. “I am here for you,” I tell you. 

To be present mentally is to hold you in my mind, in awareness, and at the center of what I know is that mental universe in which you and I exist together. “You’re in my thoughts,” I tell you. 

To be present emotionally means I allow myself to be real and vulnerable with you, holding a safe and loving space for you to be you without trying to change you, heal you, or fix you. “You’re in my heart,” I tell you. 

To be present spiritually is to be the witness of your existence. I hold a higher possibility for you and honor the greater reason we came into each other’s life. “There’s a purpose for which God brought you and me together,” I tell you.

Looking back on the conversation with my friend, I wanted to tell her all this, but I didn’t. I wanted her to know I needed to feel seen, heard, and valued. Not from a place of neediness, but the basic human need to feel more connected to each other, not just mentally or electronically via Social Media, but also physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I needed to feel more of this thing called connection. 

From my heart to yours,