Emotional Connection During This Time of Disconnection

By Nouelle Dorrow

Do those in power remind you of anyone? Who or what are you most afraid of right now? We are in a time of political, racial, interpersonal, and internal conflicts, along with concerns over climate change and economic loss. We are in a time of great contrasts, during which we more than ever need to feel emotional safety and to feel valued. Yet just when we are needing others most, we are told to separate, and are bombarded with news of divisive values, status, and actions. Must we be left to deal with our feelings alone?

Many of us are worried, and often our negative future-oriented thoughts perpetuate anxiety. Sometimes worry thoughts can be channeled into positive action if we are willing and able to do so. However, if anxiety replaces constructive action or needed rest, it can become a problem, leaving us feeling stuck.

Some of us recently have been triggered by traumatic news, reminding us of our own personal experiences. Trauma is a felt sense in the body and can be a challenge to process. It needs to be taken seriously – despite how anyone else perceives the precipitating circumstances – and to be shared in a safe space.

Most of us are needing a breakthrough. Needing something to change.

Relief can be possible if we find a safe space to courageously explore our emotions and bring to light the truth of our experience. Light brings revelation, along with the ability to know and be known.

What can we do?

At a time like this, when many circumstances are beyond our control, we can make an active choice to not remain in emotional isolation.

First, we may need to stop working so hard to shut down our emotions. Shutting down or ‘not feeling’ may have been a response we developed out of fear of feeling overwhelmed, ashamed, helpless, or rejected. This was an intelligent response developed for very understandable reasons – perhaps because there was no safe place to share. Over time, however, we may feel exhausted due to the enormous amount of energy it takes to remain shut down. Often anxiety or unease becomes our perpetual feeling.

Once we take a vulnerable step to reconnect with our internal emotional experience, we can then risk connection with a trusted other so we do not have to feel so alone. Is there someone you can trust? What would it look like to share the truth of your experiences with them? Some of us might feel that right now there is no one safe to share with or we might struggle with not feeling valued enough by another. What would it look like to seek out support through individual or group therapy? Perhaps a community of faith or shared interests? Others may choose to begin by writing down or drawing our experience, using our emotions to make meaning and guide us to action.

Despite the remote circumstances most of us find ourselves in at this time, this does not have to be a barrier to emotional connection. If we begin to consider how to further value ourselves and respond to our innate human need and core longing to connect, we might just make room for a step out of isolation.