Genuine connection

We all want genuine connection BUT living in this generation teaches us to wear masks to protect ourselves from coming to one another, to hide parts of us that we don't like, and to constantly find imperfections and faults in being ourselves. Living in this generation that diagnoses every lil' thing of our actions and mistakes, "there's something wrong with you." Thus, many of us are trying hard to be someone we're not, afraid of failing, afraid of trying and making mistakes and scared of being human. It's hard to pursue genuine connections if we're not being true to ourselves. It requires authenticity, vulnerability, sincerity, and accountability. It's easy to say than done.

Brené Brown said, "We are wired for struggle but we are worthy of loving and belonging." Publishing my journals to thousands of people on the TikTok platform is scary and terrifying. Receiving messages from strangers is weird and conversing about their heartaches and struggles as a human being is new to me. Yet, just like what I always say, "It's terrifying and liberating at the same time." We are wired for connections but many of us try to cover up and hide our truest selves. Connection means to lean into discomfort, to open up ourselves, our values, truths, and beliefs at the same time having the courage to be seen as imperfect. Brené Brown is one of the best speakers at Ted Talks and researchers who talk about vulnerability.

I was thinking why do some people have the courage to say mean things to others while hiding their true identity? Critics. Critics are everywhere and it's one of the consequences of being vulnerable, in sharing your creativity, and in publishing stories. And I learned now that it's okay, it's good to have critics at the corner but you can always walk away from them particularly if their words don't have weight and substance to your crafts. Don't give them power because they always want you to stay small. Hence, criticism from the people who wants you to improve in your crafts or in your purpose should be welcomed.

Connection always requires authenticity, vulnerability, sincerity, and accountability. Working with the little ones for almost a decade from being a Sunday school teacher when I was young and now as a professional teacher, these traits are important to build genuine connection. When you talk to the lil' ones you don't need to sound great and to look smarter than them to touch their hearts instead you need to make them feel that you are a real person with goodness and imperfections.

Teaching requires authenticity, students should see you as a trustworthy individual. I remember we imposed reminders or classroom procedures but the thing is we must follow them also as a teacher, to walk what we preach. We have eight reminders that are all non-negotiables meaning everyone must follow them. One of the reminders is to be gentle, we're teaching the students to be gentle when they close the door, push and pull the chair, and when they open their cubby. So, I was so tired thus I push the chair so loud and everyone noticed it, so they looked at me. One of them said, "Oh teacher, push the chair five times!" While acting like me when I am mad. Everyone giggled and started murmuring to one another and of course, I did it. I smiled and laughed and imposed the rule on myself.

Another day, I cut my hair shorter because I was so stressed because of all the work while fears and doubts are creeping up because of adulthood and my students were all surprised and got mad at me. My brutally honest student said, "You're so ugly in your hair, I don't like it for you" and all the boys seconded the motion. Like I was so stressed then an additional load of discouragement about my attractiveness. That's totally a mess. Of course, my good girls were there comforting me and tapping my back. ( I miss those scenes. )

And there were days that I needed to apologize to them when I hurt their feelings and not minding them when they needed help, thinking they could do the tasks alone. When I lost patience when they couldn't read paragraphs and solve division and other so many things. There were also days when I really felt bad for not knowing and listening to their story first. And when they shared their truths with me, I really need to do a pinky promise. You really need to wear their socks even if it's polka-dots.

That's when accountability comes, vulnerability requires accountability. But I think most of us fail to do this at times, it's when someone shares his or her vulnerabilities and shows imperfections and weaknesses they are giving us the power to embrace them or to manipulate them but may we choose the right one. I think it applies to all relationships if you want to pursue genuine connection.

Yet the utmost important connection we should pursue is to be connected to God, He gives us genuine connection and true belonginess that no other person can give. It is because of His great love for us that we can experience the real sense of belongingness so we can find our real identity to Him. It happened at the cross, Jesus died for our sins so we can come to the Father and we'll experience genuine relationship, real ones. He's the only One who can fill the void inside our hearts so we won't find satisfaction to other people and we can be true to ourselves and to others. Only God can meet our deepest needs. God alone can certainly brings purpose, satisfaction, and value to our lives.

Published by Merrel Ya

A lady who has been pondering her hope into Christ, inhaling His grace, and enjoying the beauty of life. Writing about life, asking God about "kuliglig sa kanyang dibdib."

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