Hi from Sophie Scott.
One of the most powerful lessons I've learned is about the power of connection.
Science shows that one of the biggest predictors of happiness is the quality of the relationships we have.
And now neuroscience has gone even further, showing us that what humans need more than anything to survive is social connection.
Neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman from UCLA explains it this way:
"Humans, as mammals are born immature, incapable of looking after ourselves."
"Each one of us survived infancy because someone took care of us. Our urge to connect and the pain we feel when it is thwarted is one of the seminal achievements of our brain, that motivates us to live and work and play together," he said.
He goes further in his book 'Social' explaining how the brain is hardwired for connection.
Research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) shows the brain mechanisms that make us profoundly social creatures.
The importance of social connection is so strong, he writes, that when we are rejected or experience other social "pain," our brains "hurt" in the same way they do when we feel physical pain.
So where does this intrinsic, biological need for connection fit with our 24/7lifestyles?
And how do we wade through all the distractions, commitments and responsibilities which can so easily swamp what we really crave - that meaningful connections with others?
I challenge you to this.
Think about who it is that you can turn to, to express what's deep inside of you?
What people, or communities do you feel safe enough to be your 'authentic self' with?
Often the deepest conversations I have are with my husband, my girlfriends and my sister, when you have the freedom to be yourself, to say anything and to not be judged or dismissed.
For me, it's when you admit that you are vulnerable that you open yourself to that deeper connection.
We all want to be heard and listened to.
US TV star Oprah Winfrey said of all the people who came across her TV set who she interviewed, famous or not, the driving force behind all of them was the desire to be heard, to be listened to and to own their own stories.
Many of us struggle with the same issues such as fear, disconnection, or anxiety.
But when spend time with those people who you can be your authentic self with and who accept you as you are, that helps you navigate through those difficult feelings.
When you are with people who accept you unconditionally, put simply, 'you are enough'.
It's one of the reasons I think adult children go through so much grief at the loss of a parent, as I did when my mother died.
That's because a good parent encapsulates someone who fully accepts you as you are, and who is in your corner no matter what.
I'm grateful to have had that experience with my own mother and have tried to be the same with my own children, though not always successfully!
It's something I wrote about in my book 'Roadtesting Happiness.' http://www.sophiescott.com.au/store/c1/Featured_Products.html
So think about those people who are in your corner and who you can be your authentic self with.
We need to prioritize those special people who are there for us in both the good times and the bad. :)
Make time for them as they are the people who understand and accept your strengths, flaws and vulnerabilities just as we accept theirs.
Let me know your thoughts.
Until next time.
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