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#57 Community and Connection

Have you ever felt the sting of loneliness, the rage of being excluded, or the overwhelming sadness of feeling unseen? You're not alone.

Discover how emotions such as sadness, rage, and feelings of inadequacy can be alleviated through genuine connection and seeking out spaces where we can truly belong.

I also offer you an opportunity to be part of our winter cohort of Your Favorite You, a supportive community designed to help you become the best version of yourself.

"When I belong, I don't have to change a thing about myself in order to do so. That's belonging."

What you'll learn in this episode:

  • How genuine human connection can help alleviate negative thoughts and feelings

  • The importance of belonging to communities where we feel truly valued and heard

  • The impacts of human connection on mental and physical health

  • How digital relationships can be as enriching as in-person interactions

"We are craving community. We're craving to be seen, we're craving to be witnessed and possibly even understood by other human beings."

Mentioned in this episode:

Be sure to sign up for a consult to see if coaching with me is the right fit for you. Join me on the powerful journey to become your favorite you.

Listen to the full episode:

Read the full episode transcript

Hey, this is Melissa Parsons, and you are listening to the, Your Favorite You podcast. I'm a certified life coach with an advanced certification in deep dive coaching. The purpose of this podcast is to help brilliant women like you with beautiful brains, create the life you've been dreaming of with intention.

My goal is to help you find your favorite version of you by teaching you how to treat yourself as your own best friend. If this sounds incredible to you and you want practical tips on changing up how you treat yourself, then you're in the right place. Just so you know, I'm a huge fan of using all of the words available to me in the English language, so please proceed with caution if young ears are around.

Hi there. Welcome back to Your Favorite You. If you are not aware, I am once again, currently launching my group program aptly called Your Favorite You, and I would love to invite you to join us. This cohort will start on January 10th, 2024, and we will finish on July 3rd, 2024.

I will be doing a webinar on Monday, November 6th at 7 pm. eastern to teach you all how to become your favorite version of yourself. In this webinar, I'm going to be concentrating on dropping mom guilt, which I feel like so many of my clients go to sleep feeling guilty about their parenting and then wake up still feeling guilty.

So, I hope this will be very useful to all of you. If you're not a parent, you can apply this to any type of guilt. So, it can just be dropping the guilt. And then after I do the teaching on the webinar, you can stay on the zoom call with me and I will be telling you all about the program, why you should definitely join, answering all of your questions, and just being generally delightful. The easiest way for you to hear more about this is to get on my email list by going to scroll to the bottom of the homepage and join the mailing list.

You will then be subscribed to my emails, and you will get all the information you want and more from me and don't worry you can unsubscribe at any point. So today I am called to talk to you about the importance of connection and community in your life.

When I set out to coach women in groups, I knew the importance of this, but I wasn't sure that I could create the environment where women would be able to feel vulnerable and share, but now I know for sure that I can. Now, sure, I had been part of these groups, I had been led by other coaches and had felt the sense of the collective healing that we were all experiencing, but I wasn't certain that I could do it, that I could be the leader.

The coaches I hired must be unicorns, right? What I've seen now over and over again, time and time again, is that we are craving community. We're craving to be seen. We're craving to be witnessed, possibly even understood by other human beings. I think this was a cultural imperative way before the COVID pandemic had us all so isolated and individualized.

And I think that the pandemic only magnified what we were missing as a collective. I absolutely love that I am delivering this podcast to you on a day where I am actually traveling to Arizona to attend and to present the icebreaker activity at a Physician Coaching Summit presented by the Institute for Physician Wellness.

This will be the third year that I am presenting at the summit, and it is a community that I am so proud to be a part of. So, can't wait to see all of you physician coaches in Carefree, Arizona this week. Isn't that an excellent name for a town, Carefree? We'll see if it actually is carefree or not. Okay, so let's talk about connection and community for a bit.

Why is it so important? Well, first, and maybe not so obvious to some of you is that being in community is an imperative human need. Just in May of this year, 2023, the surgeon general of the United States, Vivek Murthy called the epidemic of loneliness and isolation, a public health crisis. The statistics are pretty staggering, as quoted in Dr. Murthy's advisory, we will link it in the show notes.

Physical health consequences of poor or insufficient connection include a 29 percent increased risk of heart disease, a 32 percent increased risk of stroke, and a 50 percent increased risk of developing dementia for older adults. Additionally, lacking social connection increases the risk of premature death by more than 60%.

If those statistics aren't enough to have you seeking community, I'm not sure I can help convince you otherwise. The beauty is that the converse is true. People with healthy connections in community with other people tend to live longer lives that are healthier, and they also tend to be happier. In her amazing book, How to Do the Work, Dr. Nicole LePera, also known as the Holistic Psychologist.

If you follow me at all on social media, you know I'm constantly sharing her brilliant ideas and words. She states that in order to heal, we should all be doing the work to find our community. She shares a 2012 study by Anthonis et al. that shows that internet connections can be just as meaningful as real-life ones.

I have found this to be true in all of the online groups I have participated in over the past five years, but I will be honest, there's nothing like meeting these people in real life and hugging them and getting to know them and, you know, just being able to be in their proximity. Emily and Amelia Nagoski in their amazing book, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, dedicate an entire chapter to the importance of connection.

They acknowledge that psychologists likely made an error when they suggested a linear path to growth from dependent baby to completely independent adult. It is incorrect to assert that, “individual development should be a linear progression from dependence to autonomy”. Instead, in their book, they posit that “human beings are not built to function autonomously or by themselves. We are built to oscillate between connection and autonomy and back again”.

They further go on to state that “sadness, rage, and the feeling that you are not enough are forms of loneliness. When you experience these emotions connect”. I want you to imagine that the next time you are feeling sad, rage, or that feeling of not being enough, I want you to question yourself in that moment.

Could I just be lonely? Which person in my life do I have right now whom I could reach out to and be seen by that other person or group of people in their book, the Nagoski twins point out over and over that connection is good for us. It does not make us needy, needing connection does not make us weak, it makes us stronger.

I'm on a roll now of going through all of the books that I have read and loved in the past five years, I will now move on to Brené Brown's definition of connection in her book, Atlas of the Heart.

She says, “Across my research, I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued. When they can give and receive without judgment and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship”.

She further goes on to speak about the difference between belonging and fitting in the way that I think of it after thinking about it for some time is that when I belong, I don't have to change a thing about myself in order to do so.

That's belonging. I belong without changing at all, when I am attempting to fit in, I have to diminish parts of myself in order to make myself fit. This leads me to offer you something different, but related. Many of you may be taking part in many different social groups. You have these “connections”, but still are feeling lonely, unseen, unheard, undervalued, or really not valued at all.

If that is the case, my guess is that you are participating in groups where you are attempting to fit in, instead of searching for, or maybe better yet, creating groups. Where everyone is allowed to be exactly themselves without having to change. As Brené Brown says in her book, “Any belonging that asks us to betray ourselves is not true belonging”.

I'm going to read that quote again. “Any belonging that asks us to betray ourselves is not true belonging”.

I want to take a moment to invite each of you listening to consider joining our winter cohort of your favorite you. It will certainly be a community where you can experience connection with other incredible women.

If you are not feeling incredible right now, that's okay. You can borrow my belief in you that you are already incredible right now, just as you are. And. That you can still want my help and the group's help to see just how incredible you are as you are on the path to becoming your favorite you. We start in January, and I just can't wait.

All right, folks. See you next time.

Hey, don't go yet exciting news as a way to celebrate the one-year birthday of the Your Favorite You podcast, I wanted to do something fun. So just like when I launched the podcast, I am asking you to once again, spread the word.

If anything, I have shared over this past year has resonated with you, that makes me so happy. And I want to continue to help as many amazing women as possible as an incentive for participating. I will be offering three one hour one on one coaching calls with me. In order to qualify to win, all you have to do is show me that you've shared the podcast on one of your social media platforms.

I don't care if it is Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, whatever you use most. Share the podcast please. The other thing you must do to qualify is to write a review of the podcast on Apple Podcasts. Do it right now since you're already on the app. Click the three little dots at the top of the podcast page.

Click go to show, scroll down until you see ratings and reviews, click on write a review. In order to join the birthday bash and to qualify for one of the one hour coaching calls with me, all you have to do is go to

That's B I R T H D A Y B A S H, birthday bash. Enter your information and everything you need to participate will be there. Thank you so much.

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