#OneWord2022: Connecting with strength

abstract close up cobweb connection

This month I took a strengths assessment survey as part of a writing workshop I’m taking part in. Interestingly enough, given that my One Word is “connect,” my top strength came out as “Connectedness.”

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The survey’s description of this characteristic includes phrases like “In your soul you know we are all connected…If we are all part of a larger picture, then we must not harm others because we will be harming ourselves.” It tells me I can be a “bridge builder” for various groups with differing views. It says that my faith in our underlying connection is strong and sustains me in the face of life’s mysteries.

I don’t always feel strong or faithful. I don’t always like being a bridge builder. Sometimes it feels as though I’m being torn apart between opposing forces that don’t want to be bridged, forces that are inside as well as outside me. And sometimes, the time for connection is not yet. I have to let go and wait for a more opportune time. Not everyone is ready to accept that harming other people means harming themselves, and vice versa. It’s too frightening a revelation of the depth of harm that they have both caused and sustained, crushing them with the consciousness of all there is to make up for and repair. I find that tough to face, too.

photo of a broken concrete bridge
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I don’t think it would be possible to survive such a revelation unless one feels connected not only to all of humanity, but to some power that holds on to our higher potential, something like a universal power of love. That’s what saved me, when I was brought face to face with the damage I had done to myself and others, when I had to choose whether to collapse under the weight of my misdeeds or find the strength to stand up and try again.

People who were willing to give me another chance, to stay connected with me, helped me find that strength. People who believed I was more than the sum of what I’d done so far helped me to reconnect to myself. And the mystery of life that brings us into existence must somehow be connected to this unfolding strength as well.

I believe that this mystery does connect everything under the surface, no matter how distant and opposed we may seem, and that is the ground of any strength I may experience. To remember and practice that strength is surely one of my reasons for choosing the word “connect” this year. As this year comes to a close, I am grateful for all that it has taught me.

abstract close up cobweb connection
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What resonates for you in this reflection? Or do you have another word to share?

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11 thoughts on “#OneWord2022: Connecting with strength

  1. How perfect that your strength turned out to be connectedness! Interesting that one of the arguments for not harming others is that we harm ourselves in doing so, but I can certainly see how that might be a more effective argument with some people rather than saying we have a responsibility as individuals not to do harm.

    1. I don’t think it is effective as an argument unless you actually perceive its reality, i.e. you perceive how we really are all connected. But then it’s immensely effective, because you start to see that literally everything you do has an effect. Took me a while to realize that, but now I see it everywhere. Anyway, I suppose I can feel confirmed that this is my strength and keep developing it!

  2. Was this the Marcus Buckingham “Know Your Strengths” assessment? We did that in our team at work and it was fascinating. I found that my strength is “ideation” (awful word) which means I am energised by the discovery of new ideas and facts. It’s so true – I’ve always described myself as having a butterfly mind where I flit from one new thing to another. I’d thought of it as a weakness!

    1. It was called the Clifton Strengths assessment from Gallup, but it must have been something similar. I think Ideation was one of the other strengths (not in my top five). What was most interesting is that our strengths can indeed often be seen as weaknesses when they’re not understood or used properly, but when we cultivate them it’s what makes us really stand out. Trying to improve the areas where we are not naturally so strong doesn’t give such good results.

  3. How crazy that your top strength was Connectedness! I love this so much, Lory. 🙂 I join you in believing that this mystery does connect everything, even when we can’t see it or feel it. I’m holding on to that truth for dear life, as you know.

    1. Haha, I guess I chose the right word! It won’t leave me after this year, as I keep searching for those invisible threads. I wish for you that they lead you in ways of healing, too.

  4. I appreciate you sharing your journey, Lory! Moving and evocative, and what a crucial strength you share.
    Ha, I don’t remember the name of the strengths finder assessment that I took a year or two ago, but it named mine as Appreciation.
    The word that came to me for 2022 was, “Enough.” Both as in, appreciating where I/we already are enough, and have enough, Plus, willingness to say, “Enough!” and use boundaries when appropriate.
    So glad for the connection you offer through your writing.

    1. That’s a good way to express it, the word really has taken root in me and spread its branches through many aspects of life. I’m so grateful for this year which has brought much healing and transformation.

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