When talking about a specific term, I like to get clear on the definition so you and I both know what I mean.
The Oxford English dictionary defines disconnected as "having had a connection broken".
When talking about people, it also means separate from; not fitting well or not understanding.
Interestingly, its usage has also drastically increased over the past decade or so. And I think I know why.
The state of being disconnected from ourselves - from our feelings, needs, wants and inner knowing is one that more and more of us are experiencing, but we may not always understand what is happening or have the words to describe the feeling.
From my own experiences and the intentional work I have done on reconnecting with myself, I can now see that I spent a big chunk of my adult life disconnected from myself - and yet on the surface, no one would ever have known.
It's almost as if so many of us are disconnected from ourselves, the associated behaviours actually become the norm and are an accepted (and expected?) part of modern society and culture.
Here are a few signs of being disconnected - do they feel familiar?
Consuming more than creating. Binge watching, doom scrolling, over indulging and generally over consuming can all be signs of being disconnected from yourself.
Modern living is so stressful and the world we live in offers up an almost constant barrage of distractions that it can sometimes feel easier to sink into the numbness bliss of simply anything else rather than spend time with our own thoughts and feelings.
I'm not saying there is anything wrong with a good box set marathon and pizza night - when done with intention, it can be a great way to relax. The issue is when these behaviours become an alternative to dealing with and moving through your thoughts and feelings.
It can also look like reading all the self help book; subscribing to all the podcasts & audio books; doing all the courses and workshops - yet not giving yourself time and space to reflect, integrate and implement learning. Self development isn't self development if you're not doing the follow up bit of being in intentional action.
State of Distraction. Multitasking, starting more things than you can actually finish; feeling overwhelmed by an ever growing to do list - all signs that you are pulling in too many directions at once.
When you are disconnected from yourself, your intentions; your dreams and goals, you can lose a sense of what direction you want to be heading in and why it's important to you.
Other people's stuff can get in the way of what it important to you because you don't have access to that inner guidance system. Internet guru coaches will tell you how important it is to be in alignment - but how can you do that when you don't even know what you want to align with in the first place?
Being a martyr. Feeling out of touch with others, feeling cut off from their love and support; making assumptions and not reaching out for help or like you have to do things alone are all signs that you are disconnected from others.
It can also look and feel like spiralling comparison, envy, jealousy, judgement and resentment as you spend more time looking outward at what others are doing, rather than looking inward and focusing on what you need and want for yourself.
Not being able to access self trust and self compassion that say "hey, its ok to be vulnerable and ask for help here" leaves you feeling isolated and alone - a great place for overwhelm to swoop in with its good buddy burnout following fast behind.
Lacking fulfilment. No longer feeling a sense of joy, interest or passion for your life and work can indicate you are on the wrong path (and haven't yet accepted that) and/or are experiencing burnout.
When life looses its shine and every action feels burdensome, boring or uninspired it can be really hard to get up each morning and feel motivated to get on and be in a state of action.
Even if there is so much to be grateful for in your life and you have a job you love, being in a state of burnout and not even realising it because it just feels so "normal" is a big alarm bell from your system that some deep restorative, restful time is needed so you can reconnect with what lights you up and inspires you.
And yet, we live in a world where burnout is seen as a badge of honour for so many - its become normalised. Sad, right?
Numbing emotions. Not caring, feeling blah or meh; not being able to conjure an opinion or preference can all be a sign of being disconnected from your emotions and feelings.
This can happen when our systems feel overwhelmed by the emotion's we're carrying and flips into self protect mode by retreating from all of them and dropping into a state of numbness or feeling empty.
The thing with emotional numbing is you don't just get to switch off the stuff you don't want to feel, all the good stuff gets switched off too. Joy, fun, passion and creativity - all of those can feel like they are out of reach or even not of interest when you disconnect from your emotions.
What's the answer?
Funnily enough, the antidote to feeling disconnected from life, your emotions and desires is to intentionally and actively seek out ways to reconnect with yourself. Here are a few ways that can help:
It's an inside job. No one can do this work for you, you need to be in intentional action in ways that are going to support you reconnect with yourself. You have your own answers about what feeling connected means to you, but you must give yourself the time and space to explore and then be in action. Having external help, especially from a community can be a great way to feel supported, motivated and inspired - but the work still comes from within
It's not a one time fix. Feeling connected takes ongoing, intentional effort. Feeling connected is not just a state you reach, it is a state you need to proactively and reactively maintain on an ongoing basis. Which means making self connection a priority in your regular routines and having the right tools and knowledge that will support you.
It's not just about the "good" parts. Reconnecting to joy, intuition and creativity is great, but you are also going to have to find ways to establish and maintain healthy connection to your anger, sadness and hidden desires too. Being reconnected is a journey back to all the parts of you - even (and especially) the ones that hide in the shadows. Your whole self needs to come on this ride, even the parts you may not like. In fact, they are the ones that need the most love and time.
Establishing and maintaining a strong sense of self connection can feel like hard work, but it is so worth it. The benefits include:
being able to make intuitive, aligned choices and decisions that come from a place of self trust.
being able to create and hold healthy boundaries that keep your time and energy sacred whilst also allowing love, support and help in when you need it.
being connected feels like not being scared of being overwhelmed by any one emotion and trusting you can move through your feelings with self compassion and grace.
Reconnect is a group coaching journey that begins on the 23rd Sept and will be exploring all this and more.
If this post has resonated with you and you would like to know more about how Reconnect could support you on your self connection journey, book in for a free, non salesy connection call today and we can have a chat in the time it takes to drink a cuppa.