There it is. Hiding right in plain sight. One of humanity’s most powerful forces.

It is something nearly all of us have experienced before. Without even trying, most of will continue to experience this powerful force at times throughout our lives.

  • It is the force that makes us feel less alone in this crazy and chaotic world.
  • It is the force that can begin to unravel even the most deeply held prejudices.
  • It is the force we can all nurture on a daily basis that impacts those around us while changing us in the process.

I believe, that on a long enough timeline, this could be the force to save humanity.

Before moving forward, please pause for a moment. Without looking ahead, try to guess what force I’m talking about.

Now, let’s talk about it.

It’s not what you’re thinking…

It can often feel like humanity’s most powerful forces are the ones keeping the majority of people in their places.

Fear, hatred, and indifference can all cause people to fracture along the lines of their differences.

We feel the same forces inside of ourselves.

  • It’s what stops us from seeing our own opportunities and from taking pride in our accomplishments.
  • It’s why we harshly judge ourselves and individualize all of our own problems.
  • It’s what distracts us so effectively that we fail to see ourselves mirrored in every person who fights for their own liberation.

In an economic system that produces so much inequality, fueled by a belief in never-ending productivity gains and reliant on our collective anxiety about having enough to survive, it can be tough to see opportunity or accomplishment.

In a world plagued by ongoing war, poverty, slavery, and genocide, it can be tough to look up from everything and see the perfect sunrise and believe in better days ahead.

What will save us from all of these problems?

The obvious, pithy, and cliche answer would be that Love is the only thing that can overcome what ails us as individuals and a society.

While Love is a potent force, it is hardly an easy and practical answer in this world.

  • How can we expect people to Love more at work when they are one Wall Street decision away from being laid off?
  • How can we expect people to Love more in their friendships when they are so burned out from their week of work that their free time is reserved for rest, side-hustles, or self-medicating?
  • How can we expect to cultivate the widespread practice of Love everywhere, in a world entrenched in complex systems that shows virtually no signs of changing?

To suggest people lean into Love when their material conditions remain the same, is naive at best. Because “Love thy neighbor” is quite a challenge when you don’t feel safe around many of your colleagues or neighbors.

So, if Love is not the most powerful force I’m talking about, what is?

When do we feel most human?

Rather than expecting people to skip to the end and go all in on Love to heal the world, perhaps we can encourage a smaller step that has the potential to be equally as powerful.

Think about a time when you felt a connection with someone else. What happened in that moment?

If your experiences of connection are anything like mine, in that moment, you felt as though you saw the other person clearly, and recognized an element of yourself, in them. Perhaps you’ve even uttered the phrase “I feel seen.”

Connection is recognition.

In that moment, you may have felt a little safer. As if your shared experience created a space with less judgment. You probably even felt vulnerable enough to share something about yourself.

Connection is safety.

Connection produces a feeling of closeness and familiarity. As the space between you and the other person shrinks, you can’t help but see them with greater nuance and depth. Your recognition of yourself in them, feeling of safety around them, and perception of them as a multi-faceted human, make it significantly more difficult to fear them, hate them, or feel indifference toward them.

Connection is the force that binds humanity together.

Points of Connection

We, collectively, talk a lot about the importance of empathy. Much less talk is dedicated to how to cultivate empathy in those who struggle to feel it.

I believe connection is the answer. It is the gateway to seeing things from another’s perspective. To see anything from another’s perspective, you must first see something from their perspective. Connection is the bridge to see that something.

Small talk can only build the lightest of connections. We may both hate the discomfort of hot weather, but we can only really connect about that when we share something like our concern about the impact of climate change.

That is why to use this powerful force, you must look for the things that nearly all humans have in common. We all have fears, desires, hopes, dreams, and traumas. We all want to be happy and free, and to experience the feelings of safety and security.

Powerful, profound, and meaningful connection comes from our willingness to address each other’s shared humanity and look for ourselves within each other.

Honor what it means to “Connect”

Don’t take conversations for granted. Each one represents a chance to see yourself again, and to help others see themselves.

Connection is a gift. If we keep giving each other this gift over and over, we might start seeing ourselves everywhere, and that might just change the way we do everything.

I hope you enjoyed this post!

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