Connectivity may just save the world. Growing up in New York State, there was this great, old New York Telephone jingle, “We’re all connected, New York Telephone!” I also loved the famous Coca-Cola commercial from 1971 with the chorus of multi-ethnic actors standing on a mountain top singing, “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony!” And of course, I bet most of us remember the epic collection of music greats singing “We Are the World,” aimed at ending hunger in Africa. Well, it ends up we really are “the world,” all of us, and like a ripple in the water when you drop a rock in, we’re all connected.
Connectivity, and I’ve written about it before, is wired into our DNA. Emilio Cozolino, a well know Clinical Psychologist and Professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, identified this so beautifully in his book, “The Neuroscience of Human Relationships,” where he describes the neural pathway development that occurs when the mother, or primary care giver, and infant interact with one another. If there is no interaction, essential neural development does not take place in the infant which can lead to later deficiencies in normal psychological functioning. Okay, I realize that’s getting a bit technical, but when you think about it, quite simply, we don’t develop properly without interacting with another human being. We’re hardwired to connect in order to grow, and in order to actually survive.
Looking at the aging population here in the United States, we now know that a lack of human connectivity, aka loneliness, creates a decrease in brain function. Use it or lose it basically. And not only will you lose it, you’ll shorten your life span. So, we don’t develop properly when we don’t have connection as infants, and we die earlier when we don’t have it as older folks.
In our current culture of independence, it’s so easy to feel alone. But how is it we’re connected? Looking through the lens of psychology, us human beings are all quite similar. I find a certain level of comfort in this awareness. The human condition, it ends up, is very, how shall I say it, universal. This is part of why I love the study of psychology so much, because it proves that we all experience any range of challenges in similar ways, and conversely, we all heal from these challenges in similar fashion. Yes, there’s a need for cultural sensitivity, because individuals from different cultures require a slightly different approach, but by and large, we’re going to walk a very familiar path. I’ve seen this over the past 15 years as a professional Life Coach. There are behavioral patterns, along with ways of thinking and acting that create not only external, but internal conditions we don’t like or want, and then there are other practices and ways of thinking and being that create change which assists people in healing and shifting their lives in a positive direction. I know this in large part because I walked the path first, and from an experiential place I now know how to create the changes I was, at one time, seeking. Now that was a lot of years of therapy, reading self-help books, and getting a rather lengthy and expensive education in psychology and personal transformation. Live and learn, then pass it along. At least that’s been my path.
Now there is, of course, a richness in our human diversity that makes us all unique-ish. Different skin color, eye shape, culture, religion, sexuality, and the list of variables goes on. Yes, we’re all different on the outside, but just below our unique outer shell, something magical happens right below the surface which tells a story of our connectivity.
If I cut my finger, I’m a fairly pink toned guy on the outside, and a brown toned woman cut her finger right next to me, we’d see something quite interesting. Both of us have red colored blood; actually, everyone on the planet does. I know, I’m stating the obvious here, but sometimes it’s necessary. Again, I know this seems so elementary, but it’s the first thing that goes out the window the minute someone thinks they’re so different from someone else and starts judging. Yes, on the surface we are, and in our thinking we often are, but at our core we’re really not, all, that, different.
Now let’s take this oneness thing a step further via our universal challenges. From what I’ve seen, we all have incredibly similar issues, so much so that they’re categorized in the field of psychology in a very large, thick book. Yes, they’re still making those, and this one’s called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. I know, it all sounds very clinical, and probably why I didn’t quite finish that doctoral degree in psychology, but you get what I’m putting down here, yes?
This particular manual is filled with disorders like depression and anxiety, which, it ends up, have no border of race, sexuality, religion or country. Every human being on this planet can be assessed with this guide because we all experience similar thoughts and feelings. And again, cultural sensitivity is required, but whatever part of the world we live in, our opportunities for healing are quite similar. Who knew the DSM would be the great equalizer?!
We’re all connected, and it’s this awareness that anchors my hope for human kind. @barryaldenclark (Click to Tweet!)
Connectivity shows us so clearly that we need it. From birth to death, we’re literally better people when we have it. The world, and specifically all the people living in it, need connection to survive, and ultimately, to thrive.
How do you want to show up in your world knowing this? How might you think or speak about others knowing just how deeply connected we all are? And what actions might you take knowing they have an affect on others around you?
When we start to think about how we’re similar, these questions begin to make sense, and to the degree we’re willing to take a look at the possibility that we may all be a lot more alike than different, well, there’ll be more peace on earth, more kindness and caring, and more loving. And like Sandra Bullock’s character Gracie Hart in “Miss Congeniality,” I’m going for world peace. Care to join me?
Barry Alden Clark has coached thousands of individuals in connecting more deeply with their hearts, their life purpose, and helped create a pathway for these folks to move forward in a direction more aligned with who they truly are. He & his creative partner Eliza Swords are currently delivering uplifting content on social media every Wednesday via “Best Day Ever with Barry and Eliza”, a Facebook and You-Tube phenomenon reaching thousands of people around the world. They are also inspiring love and joy through creating heartfelt and entertaining content via their production company Pure Honey Ink. Currently they have projects in development for social media, film, television and publishing. You can reach Barry at www.barryaldenclark.com.
Image courtesy of Hudson Hintze.