We are born whole humans. Happy, pure, emotionally sound. Then we experience life’s happenings, expectations not met, subversive messages from strangers and the people we love most, and little pin prick holes start to build in our psyche and our hearts. These holes are uniquely created within each individual, making us the beautifully broken and formulated people we are. This evolution is what creates the core essence of who we are in this world.
And while this initially sounds like a dreary perspective on things, it is not. These holes simply create space to be filled with the connections we make with others, like that 80’s children’s toy, the Lite Brite. We all have empty spaces within, and the people who bring meaning to our lives are those that connect with and light up that empty space, maybe even helping us realize there was emptiness in the first place. These connections also help us articulate new pictures of love, happiness, safety, belonging, companionship and any other of the myriad human experiences that are essential to self-actualization.
I can think of every meaningful relationship I have had in this life and can describe exactly what hole that person helped me understand,the beauty they helped me achieve, and the value they brought/bring to my life. Each connection is a gift, and those that are the most meaningful light up many spaces in the heart and lead to a greater understanding of self and others.This is also why losing a connection to someone can feel so fucking brutal — a sudden hollowed emptiness where there was luminous cohabitation.
The happiest people you know in this life, the most lit up people, have the most human connections. It is vital to our essential being, despite our best intellectual attempts at dismissing the propensity to need anyone. In A General Theory of Love by Dr.s Thomas Lewis et al it is articulated from the neuroscientific perspective: “Total self sufficiency turns out to be a daydream whose bubble is burst by the sharp edge of the limbic brain. Stability means finding people who regulate you well and staying near them (86).” This is why babies who receive no human interaction die, and the elderly tend to die immediately after their loved ones depart the planet. Those of us with overly developed limbic brains crave connection like an alcoholic craves whiskey, and being ignored can feel like uncontrolled descent into a chasm of despair. This is why an orgasm is referred to as “le petit morte” or, tiny death. The connection, at a very pragmatic level, has ended, and death is the logical next step.
Not everyone needs connection in the same way, a biting reality which has led to many of the world’s best works of art. How to achieve connection, and how many people it takes to feel lit up is relative to individual needs, how willing you are to be vulnerable with another, and how many holes you may posses in your emotional ecosystem. There is not a wrong way to connect. But, you are a fool if you think you do not need to at all.