The other day it dawned on me that one of the things that happens as Fall begins is that our daylight becomes shorter and the darkness becomes longer. And for many people, this is the beginning of a difficult time.
Add to this, the fact that we all are beginning a second fall season, against the backdrop of a pandemic, and it’s pretty clear that people continue to need connection now more than ever.
Connection is a very important piece of support you can bring into your life when you are struggling or having a difficult time in your life. So, I decided to write about connection in the hopes that this might offer a piece of helpful information about why some of you might struggle to feel satisfied with the kinds of connections that you have in your life.
One of the beliefs about connection is that closeness is enough.
For some people it is.
Sharing a lot of time and space with another person, regardless of how deep the connection goes, is enough for you. You feel filled up by closeness to another person and don’t need depth in order to feel satisfied.
For many others of you though, closeness is not enough.
You might have many close friends and acquaintances that you connect with quite a bit, yet often feel dissatisfied or like something is lacking in those relationships. You might even struggle to understand why you could have so many close connections and still feel so unhappy or dissatisfied.
I want to let you know that there’s a very important reason why you might be feeling this way. You’re not crazy or defective or ungrateful.
The truth is that closeness is not enough connection for you.
You also need depth and meaning as well in your close connections, in order to feel full and satisfied in your relationships. There are different kinds of connections.
Connections can be close. Connections can have depth.
You can have closeness without depth. You cannot have depth without closeness.
Many people confuse closeness with depth while in fact, these are two very separate and distinct experiences.
If you’re someone who wants closeness and not depth, then I’ll bet once the conversation takes a turn into a real, authentic and vulnerable conversation, you get uneasy.
And if you’re someone who needs depth and meaning in your life, then I’ll bet that just being close to someone, although a nice way to spend time, often leaves you feeling like something is missing.
You're not alone.
I, too, need depth and closeness in my connections. If I don’t have a particular amount of deep and meaningful connection in my life, then I become imbalanced, unhappy and dissatisfied.
Once I understood that closeness does not equate depth, this helped me to not only understand myself more deeply, it also gave me the ability to understand why I was often unhappy around certain kinds of connections in my life.
They just weren’t enough of the kind of connection that I needed.
Truth is, I appreciate connection in all its forms. As a social species, we would not survive without some form of connection in our life.
The fact is, though, that for me, I cannot feel alive without connection that is deep and meaningful.
I’m glad that I understand that now and that I’ve learned how to seek out the kinds of connections that bring depth and meaning to my life. Because there’s a distinct difference between closeness and depth.
Regardless of how you live your connections to others, my wish for you is that you find more of whatever kind of connection you need in order to feel supported and satisfied this Fall season.
Kate is an INFJ-3 on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Enneagram.