Connection is a feeling of belonging to something greater than oneself. It is a basic human need, as vital for a thriving life as food and shelter. As far back as primitive humans, we have collected in social groups to hunt, travel and live. Yet, somehow, despite the advances in technology giving us more ways to connect, so many people in society still feel unheard, unsupported and disconnected. And the repercussions of this affect our quality of life mentally and physically.
The Harvard Study of Adult Development is the world’s longest study of adult life, starting in 1938 and continuing today. Scientist chose 724 men (Only men. Don’t get me started – the issues with that are a whole different article!). There were two groups, Harvard College students and boys from disadvantaged families in the poorest suburbs of Boston. Researchers tracked their physical and mental health over the span of their lives through detailed interviews and medical exams. The study expanded over the decades to include the men’s children and, eventually, their wives too. The results are fascinating and worth exploring if this interests you. You can watch a TED talk about it by the current Research Director, Robert Waldinger here.
What surprised researchers most, was the undeniable link between happy, fulfilling relationships and longer, healthier lives. Thousands of hours of interviews and data collection, found that men who had good romantic and platonic relationships at the age of 50, turned out to be the healthiest at 80. Indicators like weight and cholesterol levels weren’t as effective at predicting long life. An active social life is more likely to keep you going in retirement than an active exercise routine! (note, we’re not suggesting you ditch your gym membership, stop eating vegies and just enjoy perpetual cocktails with friends!)
“The good life is built with good relationships.”— Robert Waldinger (TED talk on ‘What makes a good life’)
Throughout history, women have been pitted against each other with by a sense of scarcity, from cavemen days of vying for the best genetic match to the modern fallacy of not enough jobs at the top for women. Our instincts have been tainted by the media-driven image of perfection that leads us to compare ourselves to others, resulting in many women feeling they simply aren’t good enough. Shame researcher, Brene Brown, says, ‘The opposite of scarcity isn’t abundance. It is enough, or what I call Wholeheartneness. Facing uncertainty, exposure and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough.’
You are enough right now. You deserve connection. You deserve to be heard.
We are hard-wired to seek acceptance and love from others. We crave a deep sense of belonging. The number of friends isn’t nearly as important as having a few trusted people you feel you can confide in. People who understand you, enrich your life, expand your knowledge and lift you up when you are low. The best way to foster new connections is by finding common interests and shared experiences.
That’s what we are passionate about at her.platform. We want to build a diverse and inclusive space for people to have real conversations and nurture authentic relationships. We are ready to let go of the edited, filtered highlight reel we display on social media and celebrate our differences and imperfections. We want each person in our community to feel heard, understood and connected. We want to share our passions, our fears, our challenges and our skills so that we all benefit from the collaboration.
Join the conversation because we are all STONGER TOGETHER.