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To go far, go together.
One of my favorite speakers and writers Brene Brown says:
Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.
In his book Social, scientist Matthew Lieberman made the case that our need to connect is as fundamental as our need for food and water.
I started thinking about this yesterday when I heard the old proverb:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
To me, it’s so much more than a meme. It’s a saying containing great meaning. I painted a landscape to illustrate it for a friend’s wedding gift a few years ago.
Together we are stronger, we are better and we can do more. This has been a theme of many writers somewhat older than Brene Brown. They include the wise King Solomon writer of Ecclesiastes and Izaak Walton in the 16th century both of whom I have illustrated.
I am so grateful for friends who have walked beside me, not just on the pleasant prom strolls of life but through the rocky valleys and up the steep climbs. I’ve been especially thankful when they’ve been that way before. I’m blessed to have friends who have helped me through, at a cost to themselves. People who’ve risked a barb and got muddy coming to rescue me.
Having a friend beside you is not everyone’s experience and has not been my experience all the time. In 2020-2021 80% of respondents to the government Community Life Survey indicated they at times suffered from loneliness (that’s 36 million people in England) and 6% felt lonely often or all the time.
If connection and relationship are so important but also lacking how do we increase them? My suggestion is to start at home and to start simply. If possible create a ritual. Can you eat at the table together once a week? Maybe even put the mobiles away? Could you choose a tv show to make a date to sit down and watch together? What about chess or board games or a walk in the park
Things we do together often make the best memories. Whilst looking for an illustration for today’s post I came across a photo of our family my dad, my brother, and his kids cycling the Blackpool lights together. We certainly went further that day because we were together.
I know that this is not easy for some as they are home alone or have strained family relationships. But there are opportunities for connection out there. You can find connections and friendships through:
volunteering eg PTA groups, governors
local groups eg life long learning or local development (Kirkham treasures)
online support groups and charities eg Parenting Mental Health
visiting and being part of a church eg Christ Church Blackpool
If you would like help making new connections please get in touch. I’d love to support you.
If you are blessed with the comforts of friendship I’d encourage you to look out for anyone looking alone and offer them some warmth.
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