Growth in Connection – An Introduction to Section V

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All growth occurs within

emotional connection.

- Jean Baker Miller


ow frequently does this happen to you – the world invites you to participate in an activity and you decline, citing too little time? Then you walk over to your favorite chair and collapse, too tired to use this time you so obviously have. You feel yourself sink into the cushions as if all the iron in your blood has turned to lead. This happens to most everybody. And when it does we chastise ourselves as we sit there, believing that we have lied. We did have the time. See? It’s right there on the clock, ticking by as we sprawl, unable to motivate ourselves to do any little thing. To further chasten ourselves, we quickly add “lazy” to our words of internal shaming.

I am hoping that after you read this introduction to the complicated truth that energy is an essential component of time, you will never treat yourself so unkindly again.

I’m not after you to always take the world up on its invitations. I am after you to understand that, without energy, time does not exist for us because it is functionally inaccessible to us.

But long before we get to the just-sitting-here-in-our-chair condition, we can be vulnerable to the ill effects of a reduced level of energy. With respect to resilience specifically, low zeal will throttle down all five characteristics that buttress our ability to overcome adversity, to push boundaries or to take a risk. (A quick reminder here of the five personality traits that strengthen our ability to be resilient: openness to experience, conscientiousness, outgoing energy, emotional stability and agreeableness.) Because we humans have a dismal understanding of this vital aspect of time, we are left extraordinarily vulnerable to dwindling power reserves. Career burnout is a clear example of this vulnerability.

I have found, hidden away in the library of existential, feminist and psychological works, the raw material needed to create a dynamic understanding of this final dimension of time. And when this information I have gathered is viewed through the lens of neuropsychology, a clear picture of how to power up a life emerges. What follows in this introduction is a trek that will take you through the poorly trodden topography of the metaphysical nature of the human mind vis-à-vis energy production. Ok, just because I love that last sentence doesn't mean you will, so let me put it more plainly. If you find yourself too pooped too much of the time to fully engage with life, you can fix that dilemma once you understand where life energy comes from. It is novel and complex theoretical terrain, but I can pretty much guarantee that a little effort spent now on this exploration will prove to be a wise investment.

Energy Vector: Humans are herd animals meaning we each need to create a pack to join us in the hunt for a meaningful life. We can only do this using the emotional and social intelligences that enable us to both extend toward and accommodate significant others in service of developing bilateral caring. With those attachments in place, we create more that enough emotional equity to provide both the energy and the moral support that people need from each other.

If we want to maximize our resilience, then, this fifth and final aspect of time – energy – must be understood.

Not just calories

Returning to our tired little selves sitting in the chair, we know that if we got a text that said Michelle Obama was going to be at our friend's party, we would explode out of the chair and rush to get ready. What just happened? Where did this energy suddenly come from? How were we able to instantly reanimate?

In order to understand that miraculous burst of verve, we have to make the distinction between caloric energy and will energy.

When most of us think of energy, we think of the effort it takes to move our bodies. This is caloric energy. Our muscles move using the calories, water and nutrients we consume and the air we breathe in. And because our muscles can stockpile only so much energy in local stores, when our biceps are depleted, our bodies need to rest in order to resupply. (Many of you will recognize this energy-creating process as the Krebs cycle, that test nightmare of biochemistry students.) The caloric energy system runs in all healthy mammals and takes very little sophistication to maintain. All you have to do is stuff food and water in the top of the machine daily and keep breathing.

 

Spark

- John Ratey

I and Thou

- Martin Buber

 

Will energy, on the other hand, is much more complicated. Will energy moves the human animal beyond obligatory survival behaviors and into the realm of meaning creation. We don’t need to go to a party to survive, obviously, but as soon as we heard Michelle Obama was going to be there, we were instantly energized. That’s will energy. We instantly wanted to go because the idea of meeting her held meaning for us, triggering our will system. It would make sense to stop here and discuss how willpower, will and will to power are all key ingredients in the wanting protocol of all people. We could talk about how quintessentially human this system is and how bland our lives would be without it. But these existential concepts are so rich and intricate that they each have an article dedicated to them. While stopping to read the three articles linked in this paragraph would probably help you understand this introductory article a little better, all you need to know to read on is this: To will is to want something because it’s meaningful to us, and our ontological relationship with wanting determines our level of will energy.

Suffice it to say here, while also a biochemical process, will energy is created only when we will it into existence. Because it is created within the human brain, it takes much more sophistication to create and maintain it.

Humans obviously need both types of energy. If you are low in caloric energy, you will tend to use words like tired, exhausted, or beat to describe your level of fatigue. If you are low in will energy, you will find that words like spent, drained or depleted better describe how unmotivated you feel. When the former is true for you, good food, a tall glass of water and decent sleep are what the doctor would order. When the latter is true for you, you will need to understand all that follows in this introduction. Otherwise, you will be vulnerable to only being energized when Fate drops a Michelle Obama in your lap.

Note: Most of us know well and good how to generate all the caloric energy our bodies need. Therefore, the remainder of this article addresses the very intriguing process of creating will energy but I’ll simply use the word “energy” to refer to it.

The existential human

In order to make my case for this idiosyncratic view of time – that energy is a nonnegotiable component of it (in addition to the components past, present, future, and death) – I need to take you back a bit into the existential reality of what it means to be a human being. Please bear with me, for I believe that this esoteric side journey will lead you to a refreshed and re-invigorated state.

Because human beings are each individually wrapped packages of meat, we are totally isolated from our world. We discover this lonely truth early in life when the emerging independence of our narcissistic little two-year-old self starts to puncture our illusion of complete merging with our support staff. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, this is a tender age to experience our first existential crisis! As a result of our shattered illusion and for the rest of our lives, we spend much of our energy trying to close the gap between ourselves and everything else in our world.

So, absent serious mental illness, we all strive to connect as completely as possible to the people, places and things that we find delightful. Think of the phrases we use to conceptualize connection – “closeness,” “identify with,” “lose yourself in,” “fit in”, “feel as one,” or “indispensible to” – be it with our schnauzer, main love interest, career passion, the company we work for or a frenzied crowd at a rock concert. We cannot help pushing for intimacy with just about everything we come to like, for we are both affiliative and terribly lonely creatures. No matter how we try, however, we can never, ever end our existential isolation – never, ever meld our minds with anything outside our skull. A barrier remains, Plexiglas-like, between us and everything that calls us to merge with it. There is terror to be had in the realization that we are alone inside our heads.

Our existential isolation leaves us with only two choices – work constantly to get as close as possible to those things that matter to us or resign ourselves to a life of disengagement.

We can easily deplete the stamina needed to constantly push against the asymptotic space that keeps us isolated within ourselves. Partly we get drained because, even though we are pushing, we cannot close the gap completely which means that some of our energy has to go into handling the existentially disappointing results of our efforts. And partly we get drained because relationships, even established ones, require constant work to maintain.

Yet we must keep trying for that is who we are – beings who crave growth, innovation and the resulting stipulation which are all available to us only through meaningful connection. That high energy requirement means we must maintain a reliable energy pipeline to resupply us with the power to keep trying to stay close to our people, places and things in order to gather more energy to work to stay close.

How on earth do we meet that relentless, ouroboric challenge?

Unfortunately, the reality is less pipeline and more spark plug. By this I mean that the gap between us and everything that matters to us precludes us from attaching a large hose to our world and drawing in energy. All we can do is gather the sparks that fly in that tiny space between us and our world, hoping these little tidbits of accessible energy will accumulate sufficiently to recharge us. That truth suggests that we need to be able to attach to many sources of this little trickle of the juice that keeps us vitalized.

If we do not understand how this subtle power grid supplies pizazz to our life, we will be less likely to pay attention to how reliable our generators are. Put less metaphorically, if we fail to watch how healthy our connections are to the meaningful aspects of our lives, our vitality will slowly deplete. Again, because we are human, we have no choice but to constantly work to close the gap as completely as possible between ourselves and whatever and whomever we have decided are important to us. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that whatever we are seeking to attach to is willing and able to send energy back our way. Sparks have to fly. Otherwise, to return to my metaphor, when our energy wanes, brownouts as described in the opening paragraph are likely to follow.

The electric company

I can imagine you wondering, “But how exactly do we gain access to and collect the power that allows us to continue to continue?” Or perhaps you're just thinking, "What the hell is she talking about?"

As I said, this is novel and complicated material. Let me summarize and press on.

You could think of your brain as a little electrical conduit and your soul as a little battery. The way you interact with the things out in the world that matter to you determines your recharging status. It all boils down to attachment. What we plug into determines our energy flow. If we put energy out into our environment unsuccessfully, we will generate no sparks and power will simply drain away from us. This is clearly fine occasionally, but when this is true routinely, our batteries will not be recharging. If, on the better hand, the vigor we put out into our world comes back to us in those deeply satisfying ways we humans have of receiving feedback from the things that matter to us, we can feel our get-up-and-go get up and go. Our spirit has been recharged because we are plugged into the alternating current of attachment.

Here’s how the energy grid is engineered:

Our world is sizzling with potential energy. Close your eyes for a second and think of the zing you feel when you brush up against one of the little delights that surround you – a shared grimace with a fellow impatient customer in line behind you; the sound of nothing but net; a glimpse of a hummingbird chasing a Stellar jay; standing next to a giant sequoia; a high-powered, cordless reciprocating drill; a snappy new song for your walking playlist; the sunlight shining through your just (finally) washed kitchen window; winning a debate; a glowing performance review; the smell of pies in the oven; the end of a bout with the flu; a brilliantly written op-ed piece; and on and on and on. These are not just raindrops-on-roses moments. They are moments of proof that we are in a successful relationship with our world – we have closed the gap to a certain level of intimacy that demonstrates that we see the world and the world sees us. Further, every such experience thus created provides a scintilla of stipulation that our intimacy with our world is as good as it can get. We are on the right track, in other words, even if our success must always fall short of complete merging. We are attaching to important parts of our world and those parts like us enough to attach back.

Now this is key: because this gap-narrowing stipulation represents our only possible level of intimacy, our brains have evolved to harvest the potential energy in it. It does so in a literal energy conversion process, taking calories and nutrients from the food we ingest and turning it into psychological verve.

At its most basic, this is what it means to be a human being. We take energy from the sun and use it to create meaning.

Let me connect those dots for you.

We access these exterior sources of vitality through our five senses, but the actual recharging process occurs neurologically. The people, places and things that look, sound, smell, taste or feel pleasurable or meaningful or significant to us animate our brains through an actual electrical and biochemical process. What happens is this: as attachment data enter our senses in the form of, say, a stirring come-from-behind win by our team, petting a golden retriever or a chirpy text from someone we love, our sensory brain cells send out electrical signals to all those parts of our psyche that register success. At something like 250 miles per hour the joy message that we have connected goes out and dozens of parts of our mind light up. Those brain parts launch a cascade of neurotransmitter activity, alerting the autonomic system which innervates the entire body. That electrical process triggers a glandular response which sets into motion some of the 60 plus hormones that regulate energy on the cellular level. Follow that? In a nutshell, an endearing text from a daughter goes in your eyes, through your brain’s neurochemicals to your endocrine system and then right to your thigh muscles, moving you along faster on your walk. Think how much easier it is to go out to mow the lawn after your alma mater has won a close game; how much more likely it is that you will tackle a tedious project at work after your boss praises you; how petting that golden retriever can lower the draining anxiety of stress; or how music can thrill you into a harder aerobic workout.

Just to complicate matters, however, in addition to recharging input from the five mammalian senses, we humans have a self-contained sense that can create that same cascade of electrical, biochemical energy. Like coiled copper wire spinning around a magnet, our brains can generate energy internally by “spinning” our thoughts in a sanguine or mature direction. More than just the power of positive thinking, this inner experience is created with that part of us that has the ability to establish meaning. We could call this sixth sense our attributional sense, and it is the one over which we have the most control. Examples of this process would be: taking stock of the progress you have made in your life in any endeavor that matters to you and ascribing the credit to your self-discipline; thinking your way through a difficult work problem during your aerobics class and noticing that you are doing so; chiding yourself consciously when you slip into a bit of hypocritical thinking; reminding yourself to remind yourself to check in with an especially onerous to-do list, etc. You will notice that each of these examples contains a similar component – a meta-cognitive step that involves thinking about thinking. To generate energy you must give a self-directed activity a thorough thinking through. This meta-cognition creates several loopings around the same brain parts that register success described in the above paragraph, setting off the same cascade of energizing biochemistry at the cellular level.

You can practice this skill right now. Pick a challenging thought to think. Think it. Then think very, very respectfully about your thinking about it. If you truly do this you should feel a slight stiffening of your mental posture – your ego holding a slightly more confident pose. You have energized yourself by validating your internal connection with yourself. To clarify, this process is distinct from counting your blessings, a different and lovely activity that stimulates the biochemistry of serenity. Internal self-respect actually generates energy by taking the electricity of thought, spinning it through the limbic system to trigger a hormonal flux that changes us on a cellular level. (Here is one explanation of how that happens.)

So we have two major sources of those sparks of energy – effective, bilateral attachment to our world and intentionally harvested self-esteem.

Now, you can see that psychic energy needs to tap into physical energy – calories, nutrients and oxygen – so we always are on the hook for keeping our biochemistry well stocked. That is to say, we need to always be concerned with our diet, hydration, exercise and sleep, but the ability of our brain to transform experience into energy is seemingly boundless.

Having said that, however, I must point out that this inner process is not an entirely closed system. Without some outside input it will eventually grind to a halt – hence the need to not be a cave-dwelling hermit. At a serious depletion point, a jump-start from an external attachment source of energy will be required. Priming the pump may take as little as awaking to a sunny day (connecting to the beauty of our planet) or as much as personal therapy (connecting to a deeply healing presence).

In conclusion, like a top-notch hybrid car, your brain is capable of switching from one source of energy to another depending on circumstances. An astute brain owner will learn to make excellent use of this capacity by rotating as needed among all the sources of energy in her life.

Worn battery

What does it mean when your batteries won’t hold a charge? The energy is going in, it just isn’t sticking. When there appear to be many electrifying aspects to your days but you still don’t have the energy you would like, there are several systems to check.

First are the shame levels within you. If the world is connecting to you but you feel unworthy due to an internalized sense of shame, the energy coming in will proceed automatically and completely to ground. None of it will enter your battery system. Please read the article dedicated to eliminating shame.

Next, do a bit of a critique of your lifestyle. Poor health habits can corrode our battery terminals.

If you are eating well, sleeping well, staying hydrated and exercising effectively but still feel unplugged, it’s time to check in with your doctor. If you have a physical disorder that cannot be cured, your energy needs will be much higher than they would otherwise be. Please remember to seek out open-hearted people, places and things that can reliably provide you with that needed energy. If you have a physical disorder that can be cured, you may also want to recruit some staff support to assist you throughout that healing process.

If your physical health is fine then the culprit could be a mental health problem. Depressed folks are often too depleted to hold open a connectedness to their world, and anxious ones are often too fearful to risk attachment. If either of these states feels true for you, please find a good therapist for an evaluation. Addictive disorders create a different set of problems relative to energy production. In addition to often negatively affecting physical health, addictive substances also often seem to “attach” themselves to a person in such a way as to block the possibility of healthier attachments. A familiar example, if someone is too committed to consuming alcohol, they might let their interpersonal attachments dwindle down to only drinking buddies. You can see why many of the steps in a 12-step program are focused on repairing and reconnecting with important interpersonal relationships.

If all those systems check out, another thing to think about is your environment. If you are surrounded by people but are lonely; if your five senses are being consistently assaulted by ugliness; if there are people in your life who seem to need to bully you; if you are constantly stressed about keeping up with your peers; or if your resources are being stretched too thin by the demands of your surroundings, it may be time to rethink the choices that got you to this place. Sometimes the amount of energy needed to keep pushing to connect with our immediate world when not much is coming back to us tells us that we are looking for attachment in all the wrong places. If you believe you are barking up the wrong tree, please remember that there's nothing wrong with trying to find another tree. To the extent possible, start looking around for possible fresh environments that might be more hospitable to you. This may take professional support if your coefficient of adversity is high. (It's important to acknowledge that mean people are especially effective at corroding our terminals. If you cannot kick them out of your life, you will certainly want to kick them out of your head. For a whole book on how to do this, see Assholes: A Theory by the philosopher Aaron James.)

Another way our batteries leak has to do with how many of our gifts are not being both utilized and recognized. Gifts are hungry and will stomp their little feet demanding both sources of training and opportunities for sharing. All that stomping diverts energy from other things we may be trying to accomplish. If you’re being drained by the fish-gotta-swim dilemma of an unused talent, at the very least it helps to acknowledge the abandonment of a gift and make that talent a promise to get back to it when you have the time. That last sentence may sound a bit woo, but talents are very much like siblings residing within our brains – each wanting to be the favorite child. They will listen to reason if you will listen to the reasons for their petulance.

Finally and importantly, the human animal is most energized when it has a clear route to mastery. From a tiny tot learning to walk to an experienced surgeon trying out a new procedure, people yearn to learn. If you do not have a job that taps into this very basic human need, you will want to read this.

You will be most energized, then, when your life is free from shame, your physical health is well tended, your mental health is robust, your environment is at least minimally supportive, your gifts are all exercised regularly and you have a fairly clear path ahead in terms of doing the work you were designed to do.

The relational human

To this point we have addressed the existential and neurological aspects of power generation and consumption. Our understanding of the dynamics of being human will only be complete when we add the feminist recognition that this final dimension of time – energy – is entirely dependent on emotional connection. To put it neurologically, sparks only fly when the amygdalae get involved.

There is a reason why solitary confinement is a torturous punishment. Without connection to our world, we humans fail to thrive. What mediate that connection to our world are the tiny amygdalae – the part of our brains that basically control our avoid/approach behavior. In other words, these two brain parts help us determine what drains us (what to avoid) and what fulfills us (what to approach). As we mature, these two little structures learn to communicate very closely with the neocortex in further clarifying what matters to each of us in particular. They learn quickly how to skillfully amplify and pass along the joyful messages of attachment when they enter our brains. They tend to be less sophisticated when it comes to assessing the life situations that drain a person of their verve.

The amygdalae, like all parts of the brain, react to how they are treated. These two emotional centers increase in volume as the number and depth of contacts a person has increase. In other words, these twin love bunnies of the brain get bigger and stronger with exercise. Plus these are the brain parts that both control and react to episodes of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the human skill that deepens our sense of connectedness to our social world which will then increase our emotional intelligence. A lovely positive cycle.

Setting aside for a moment valid sociological issues concerning gender binary classifications, we must acknowledge that women in general and feminists in particular tend to be highly aware of this growth-through-connection phenomenon. It might be helpful, therefore, to take a brief detour into the domain of the feminist thinkers to see how they can lead us to an improved energy system.

Underlying the diverse and complicated world of the feminist movement is a clear mandate: we must elevate respect for how women view the world to be equal to respect for how men view the world. In other words, feminists demand that the female bias be honored to the degree that the male bias has always been venerated. Specifically in terms of attachment energy, maybe even more greatly respected. Women have long realized that they get energized by relationships and have historically put more effort and thought into creating and maintaining intimacy of all sorts. Women, however, are too often donors in relationships – being too willing to drain themselves in service of extending themselves more than halfway toward others, and doing so for far too long.

This creates the tragically unacceptable reality that women become the generators of energy but they are less often the beneficiaries of this power. Indeed, the patriarchy often pits women against each other, thus cutting off one very crucial source of energy for women – their relationships with other women.

And, it must be said here that the male tendency to belittle women’s attachment to their sources of energy is the absolute height of hypocrisy. Too often relegated to the “silly and inconsequential” domain of “silly and inconsequential” women, energy generation through attachment is often ignored by at least half the world’s population. Women go about their day gathering energy from their world to create the vast resources needed to befriend, parent and partner. Men often happily receive consistent contributions of energy from the women in their lives while simultaneously ridiculing how women fund their endowment. This cannot continue.

I hope you can see how this skewed and naïve situation is harmful to both men and women. The energy levels of men are artificially bolstered by donations from women, women less often get contributions of energy from men, and women are often too depleted to support themselves and other women.

There’s a fairly straightforward fix to this global dilemma – motivate men to do better in the interpersonal realm by pointing out to them that they will be better off when they do so. Males can learn from females the skills that underlie a balanced intimacy – creating attachments that provides bilateral energy flow. Men can also learn from women this simple truth – for some reason, energy conservation laws don't exist when it comes to the generation of interpersonal energy. By that I mean, it takes very little energy to spin attachment energy back toward another – much less than the energy supply that comes back in return. If men could come online with both the skill and the willingness to co-generate attachment energy, the net vitality of the entire system would increase considerably. Women would feel well met and fired up as they realize that their zest has been amplified by input from the men in their lives. As a result they would be more productive in general and more energizing in relationship specifically. And all this is to say that when women stop being in donationships with the men in their lives, they open the possibility for men to step up and join them in co-creating sufficient energy to allow everyone to thrive. When men learn to respect the heightened attachment skills of the women in their lives, they will be in a position to awaken the part of their pre-adolescent brain that trusted attachment.

So let me state the obvious here – the articles in this section of the website are all concerned with interpersonal relationships because the health of our social world affects our two greatest sources of sparking – our relationships with others and our relationship with ourselves. You can find elsewhere tons of material on enhancing your other sources of vitality – be it hobbies like cooking, hiking and karate, or careers like horseshoeing, geology or library science, so this section of the website is designed to help you enhance your resilience by maintaining adequate energy resources through interpersonal attachment.

It should not surprise you to hear that, by agreeing to work cooperatively with your social world, your energy levels will increase which will further amplify your vitality. Positive equity in all your relationships will also set you up to rebound more easily from setbacks.

Energy assessment

I’ll bet the foregoing concepts of this article have been somewhat exhausting to read. Let me take another approach to this material by outlining an uncomplicated process for making an energy assessment.

Try this: Look over the first list below to see what energy is routinely coming into your grid. Look over the next list to see what is draining you. If you need to increase the input from the first list and decrease it from the second, think about making changes described in the articles presented in the third list.

Sources of energy – a partial list:

• Love

• Humor

• Exercise

• Stipulation

• Empathy

• Sympathy

• Forgiveness

• Membership

• Kindness

• Mastery

• Task magic

• Winning

• Financial resources

• Crowd contagion

• Promotions

• Accumulation of the positive

• Provisions

• Results

• Safety

• Comfort

• A dream job

• Mother nature

• Music

• Art

• Theatre

• Movies

• Dance

• Books

• Health

• Ideas

• Justice

• Massages

• And so on.

Sources of energy depletion – a partial list:

• Miscommunication

• Bullying

• Accumulation of the bad or the ugly

• Pain

• Depression

• Loneliness

• Illness

• Poverty

• Lack of opportunities

• Disrespect

• Danger

• Hunger

• Shunning

• Toxic work environment

• Shame

• Boring work

• Lies

• Mistakes

• Lack of confidence

• Fear

• Confusion

• The yips

• Injustice

• Chaos

• Rejection

• Losing

• Silence

• Bad weather

• Fatigue

• And so on.

Chapters in the energy section of the website:

The Architecture of Love. This is a long and involved article that busts the unhelpful myths surrounding this most crucial aspect of maintaining the human spirit. It outlines a complete working definition of love in order to allow you to better create and sustain loving connections. It also contains some math. Really.

The Work of Relationships. I know that you know that you need to work on those loving relationships. This article describes one very, very clear and effective way to do that.

Communication. It turns out that the trick to good communication isn’t I-statements, it’s topic selection. If you want to stay connected to other people, it helps to be able to converse successfully with them. This article explores the only way to do that.

Empathy. Empathy is a terrific little skill that has many pieces and takes practice to do well.

My Bad. A complete apology is a surprisingly difficult gift to wrap, but one of the nicest things you can give to someone who matters to you.

Forgiveness. One of the more controversial items on this website, the article on forgiveness describes my take on this glorious human construct.

Positive Feedback. We simply need more of this in our lives. This skill will allow you to be part of the solution for a world that needs help.

Assertiveness. Ego violations create a huge energy drain, hence the need for assertiveness that both sets limits and protects the potential attachment.

Listen! Please believe me when I tell you that it’s harder to do this than you think it is.

The Fightin’ Side of Love. Unless you and everyone you know is saint material, this article will help you do a better job of working through difficult issues with the people around you.

Trust. The misconceptions surrounding this psychological construct are legion. And, sadly, every one of them will take you further and further away from establishing this ability to believe in another person.

Loneliness. A thought we tend to dodge is how lonely we are. I think this is because we believe that lonely people are flawed and pathetic. Understandable as it may be, shying away from the truth about how alone we feel is both unnecessary and unhelpful. It is unnecessary because loneliness is not caused by flaws in our personalities. It is unhelpful because there are steps we can take to minimize loneliness once we acknowledge that we are feeling too isolated. This article is written to expand your thinking in terms of the causes of loneliness and to provide strategies for enhancing your social support system.

Stipulation. Hoo, boy. Stipulation is one of the most important sources of energy in our world and also one of the least understood. I wish this psychological construct was taught to everyone in elementary school. Our supply of impersonal stipulation comes at us randomly through the whim of Fate, but luckily our interpersonal sources can be engineered to provide a fairly stable influx.

Honey, I’m home! The final article in this section is a discussion of the importance of reconnecting thoughtfully after an absence with people who are significant to us. It also provides an example of a protocol that can be used to make reentry a valuable relationship tool.

To sum it up

Being resilient takes energy and our greatest source of energy is other people. But interpersonal relationships are bewildering, dangerous and precarious, meaning they can take a lot out of us. How do we manage to stay connected in the face of this dilemma? Where can we get the needed stamina to find, grow, and maintain all sorts of vigorous bonds with other complicated humans? Is it possible to entice men to develop the skills needed to contribute equally to the interpersonal energy grid?

All we can do is commit to constantly trying to do relationships well. I doubt that any person at their deathbed didn’t come to understand utterly that attachment is all that matters. It would behoove us to use that latter-day insight to up our enthusiastic participation in and skill around our people connections.

In order to keep all our mental operations running smoothly, we need psychological energy. If we are able to maintain a certain level of agreeableness in order to relate consistently to others, we create deep attachments that will supply us with that necessary verve. The articles in this section of the website are designed to assist you in enhancing your confidence in your lovability which will increase your willingness to participate in intimate relationships which will up your level of agreeableness. This virtuous cycle is pretty darn close to a perpetual motion machine, for it will reliably provide you with the energy you need to answer positively to any delightful invitations that your world offers you.

© Copyright 2024 Jan Iversen. All rights reserved.