It’s not about how we connect with others that helps us grow… it’s that we continually make the conscious choice to connect with others. That choice is the impelling force of growth.
By simply being in relationship with another person, we have created the opportunity to grow. In the same ways that plants have relationship with soil and water, we have similar relationships with other people. Even a quotidian act, like saying “hello” to a stranger, or a kind word, puts us in relationship with that person. When we become conscious of the relationship-thread that connects us in that moment, we are in the position to practice symbiotic relationships… the kind of relationships where both (or more) people provide a balance that can only be achieved by working together… a reciprocity of sorts.
Reciprocity doesn’t have to be a magnanimous affair, but it does have to come from a place of sincerity, so have something sincere for them and, even though you can’t be sure they will present you with something specific, you can better your chances they’ll at least come from a place of sincerity. This practice creates the opportunity to listen to our minds as they either spin out of control on implicit expectations, which by their nature are unfair expectations, or help create a space for understanding and humanity to arise.
We do not exist alone, in some sort of social vacuum. On the contrary, we are complex social beings, whether that socialization be face-to-face, through social media, or myriad other ways. To say “I don’t need another person…” is one of the most delusional things someone could say. If we trace our human-genome history far enough back, we find that we all come from tribal cultures where we grew together, and built relationship together. From our very beginnings, we exist in relationship with one another, the land, and our dead.
Through the process of consciously choosing to connect to another person, divine being, ancestor, or spirit-of-place, we enter into relationships grounded in Hospitality, the seminal virtue in relationship-building.