Recently on a cold, wet and snowy day, my little Westie, Winnie, came running inside to find me. I was busy but she wanted to be as close to me as possible. She scooted as close as she could, with her cute little face as if saying please pet me, cuddle me, see me. The happy little dog sought me out, asked for love, warmth, connection and eagerly soaked up my love and pets as she happily wagged her tail. Then she was content and curled up for a little nap.
My interaction with Winnie was a good reminder that we all need this kind of connection, comfort and closeness. We are created for connection. Secure attachment is knowing that we can get this need met, that we can turn to our key people and ask for this connection. And, that our key people will be there- whether for a cuddle on a cold day, or a listening ear or just being present with us in a way that allows us to feel connected. AND secure attachment is us letting that connection, comfort and closeness in.
There is NO part of my little Winnie that thinks she should not need this love and affection or that she needs too much, or that needing this makes her weak or that it makes her a burden. She joyfully sought it out and soaked it up.
Yet, so often we do believe that needing closeness, comfort, compassion, true emotional connection does make us weak or needy. So we don’t seek it, or we don’t ask for it clearly or we don’t let it in.
We certainly live in society that tells us we shouldn’t need this type of emotional connection. And many of us did not grow up with the kind of emotional connection that we needed. So of course we have learned that we should not need it or that it’s not going to be available. And we don’t seek it out. But, it is truly the way we were created and the most effective way to soothe and regulate ourselves.
Think of a time when you were with a friend, partner, family member and you felt a sense of connection- maybe through a shared story or laugh, a hug, a genuine interest in how you were. Can you remember what that felt like in your body when you were safe, seen and connected? Just take a moment to soak that in and ease your body, maybe add a slight smile to your lips. Remembering such moments can help us regulate. Try to notice these little moments and take them in and see if, like Winnie, it helps you be content.
And stay tuned for more on this topic.. because maybe a lot comes up for you as you think about connection or the lack of it in your life… we will talk more about how to know what you need, how to ask for it, how to heal from significant times when you did not get safe connection. But maybe you can start with validating for yourself that needing reassurance that you are not alone is in fact very healthy!