Have You Made the “Connection” About Connection?

Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 in Reconciliation Focused Counseling | Comments Off on Have You Made the “Connection” About Connection?

Life at its most basic level is about relationships…about connection. And the quality of one’s life is fundamentally shaped by the quality of one’s connections.  The quality of one’s connections, in turn, is determined by one’s own relationship skills and personal character and their presence or absence in the persons with whom he or she chooses to connect.  Life at its core is really that simple and fortunate is the person who makes the “connection” about connection.

Of course this is not to suggest that life is simple because it’s not.  It is really quite complicated.  But the idea above, the one that reduces life to connection, is really not that hard to appreciate. For centuries writers, poets, and musicians have lauded the virtues of connection in all of its shades and hues. Today social scientists use the term “attachment” to discuss connection but the subject matter is still the same.  Connection, in all its various forms, is the thread that weaves together the tapestry of human history all the while infusing it with tremendous potential.

By making the claim above I am mindful that the thoughtful reader will likely be put off by such a sweeping assertion. Certainly many objections to this claim can be raised and should be acknowledged.  Surely the quality of one’s life is determined by many things outsides the bounds of the narrow discussion of connection.  The quality of a blind person’s life is surely limited by merely being blind isn’t it?  Or doesn’t the suffering experienced by those living in extreme poverty mediate the quality of their existence?  Well, if by diminished “quality” you mean to say that life is more difficult for people facing any of the myriad sufferings that this world has to offer, then the answer would certainly be “yes.”

But what we must remember is that the sufferings of this life are not optional for any of us…they are a given.  Everyone suffers at different times and for different reasons.  And severe suffering can cause even the most well-adjusted among us to experience times when we wonder if life is even worth living.  But the quality of our lives is not necessarily determined by the presence or absence of difficulties.  What we in fact discover, if we are fortunate enough to experience meaningful and healthy relationships, is that the sufferings of this life are mediated and the joys magnified by the quality of our connections. Ultimately, it is our connections, our relationships, that help to enhance the quality or contentment or happiness that we experience in life.

Now to acknowledge the simple truth above and better yet to determine that we are going to cultivate our relationships is a good thing…a simple decision.  But to live out that decision, as we all know, is not so simple.  In fact it may be one of the most complicated and challenging things that we will ever do. But the rewards are more than worth it for those who are brave enough to renew their commitment to their relational world.

New idea?  Not really.  Underappreciated? Most assuredly.  Let me invite you to recommit to forming and nurturing meaningful and healthy connections in your life.  Become a student of relationships and what makes them work.  And set goals for self-improvement that include identifying and working on your own relationship weak spots.  The benefits will be well worth it.

“If you want to go quickly, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together”

African Proverb

 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Eccl. 4:9-10

Copyright © 2009 Asa R. Sphar III, Ph.D. – All Rights Reserved

 This has been a guest post by Asa R. Sphar III, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT.  Dr. Sphar was a Professor and Chair of the Psychology and Counseling Department – NOBTS from 1993 – 2007.  He is the author of Helping Hurting People: Reconciliation-Focused Counseling and the former director of Counseling Services of Austin, LLC, co-owned with Dr. Courtney Putnam.  After many years of devotion to helping individuals, couples, and families and teaching counseling to hundreds of students, Dr. Sphar retired from his practice in 2013.  Though the principles that he has embodied, taught, and written about will never stop being practiced as long as he is alive, we will miss the day-to-day interaction with him about how best to bring healing to people’s hearts….he is a deep well of wisdom.   As we move forward at SpringLife, we desire to honor his contribution to the many individuals, couples, and families that he has impacted during his professional counseling career, and will do so by sharing his writing on our site from time to time.