Thanks to Project Reconnect, in 2019 I’ve been more intentional about reaching out, initiating contact, and checking in on friends and family than maybe ever before in my life. And it’s started to rebuild a delicate web of friendship and connection that I’ve been missing for a while now. Over the past month I’ve truly felt a nascent sense of community, and I’ve even begun to feel my default mode shifting subtly away from privacy and toward relationalism.
But I’ve also realized that no matter how many texts or emails I send, crossing the chasm between superficiality and intimacy remains daunting. And so I’ve begun to wonder–how can I take all the rekindled connections in my life and nurture them toward the closeness I really crave?
And so my Project Reconnect challenge for February will be moving from connection to closeness. I’ll be exploring all kinds of different strategies, methods, and tools for creating more intimacy and depth in my relationships.
The most important path to intimacy is, of course, vulnerability. As Brene Brown’s work has famously shown, authenticity is critical for connection. And authenticity is born of the courage to be imperfect and to “tell your story with your whole heart.” And so, in that spirit, the second part of my challenge this month will be to write in a more vulnerable, self-revelatory way. Which is all about experimenting with what it feels like to tell the whole story–not just the carefully curated story–of who I am.
Self-disclosure–whether in conversation with friends or in writing for a public audience–can build bridges and create bonds faster than almost anything else. But it can also feel like ripping off a band-aid. A band-aid that covers up the parts of yourself you think are better left unseen. But, as I always tell my daughter, the only way to do it is just to take a deep breath and pull. The faster the better.