This morning I woke up thinking about all of you dear ones and how I am missing you. I am missing not seeing you in person, hugging you, grabbing a cup of coffee, a cool green juice, taking a walk, laughing with you, and just being in your presence, even for a fleeting moment.
And then my favorite songbird came on and I jolted up. I listened in and the melodious, rambunctious voice of my teenage idol, Tina Turner, filled the room. Tears welled in my eyes as memories floated before me: the day I met Tina at a senior prom, how I snuck away to the hill district in Pittsburgh PA to hear Tina and Ike rock out in the 60s. My 60th birthday dance party where we learned to Salsa Dance and Tina came to visit and party with us. To traveling to London to see her immortalized in her musical biopic to even trying out a few of her Zen Buddhist way and to always riding with her on my Birthdays no matter where I am in the world.
And my mind traveled as I suppose yours does to what you might be missing today. To folks you have loved and lost. To jobs you once had, to the ability to come and go as you please. To pack your suitcase, hop on that plane, serve others and then hop on home and have your loved ones ready to great you. In my case I also have two dogs Teddy and Coco who think the Palm Springs airport is ever so cool.
Programmed For Connection
Ever wonder why you miss someone or something? As humans we are programmed for connection, for companionship. It’s not healthy to live in solitude, genetically speaking. And we take it a step deeper there is a science behind this question. It all comes down to emotions, which of course are unpredictable and complex, harder to track.
In a chemical sense, our is going to release specific hormones and chemicals intrinsically when you are with that special someone, when we are in connection and when they are gone, your internal circuitry is changed. We like to be comfortable and when we are in connection more often when these neurotransmitters are triggered and we release feel good dopamine and serotonin.
Connected or Disconnected?
The word missing is a contronym, one word with two different meanings. Missing means to be either connected or disconnected. To miss people means to love them, to be partial to them, incomplete without them.In other words missing helps us find connection.
In our world as addiction, mental health and behavioral health specialists we know that connection to others is the cornerstone of recovery. Self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotic anonymous, sex and love addiction SLA and their counterparts Alanon, Naranon, Recovery Partners SA etc, Coda connect us with others and provide guideposts of how we may live. They help us feel good and learn to live lines so that we do not miss addictive substances and or people, places things ,thoughts, feelings and actions that took us down self-destructive pathways
Which leads me to the second definition of missing. Missing means being wholly independent of people, places things, substances etc.. When you are talking, you might say, “I will take a miss on that”, meaning ‘I am going to disconnect from that thought, that feeling, that action.’ You might feel disconnected because you were not actually paying attention, so you were missing out on what the person was saying or doing. We see these often with families we work with. One partner doesn’t listen to the other; they disconnect before the other person speaks or discredit them. Experts report we often give away too much information, so we have the option of disconnection because of the details missed. Other times we aren’t giving enough information so you’re totally missing the connection.
Or missing can mean we are disconnecting out of choice. We have chosen to miss out on listening to the news 24-7 as it causes us to much confusion or worry. Or we choose to miss out on certain people as they do not meet our needs, are self centered or narcissistic.
So missing can mean we are missing the connection or missing can mean we are disconnecting. Think about that most human negotiation is over whether we should connect or disconnect or perhaps it is best to ask in what ways might be connected so as to increase health and well-being. And in what ways might we disconnect . As professionals, we do that all the time as we teach families who are inextricably enmeshed in relationships of caring which are not healthy. We teach them how to disconnect and connect in ways that foster autonomy, independence and inter-dependance.
Relationships become unstable when one misses one more than the other way around and that by both definitions of missing: when one longs for the other more, and when one disconnects misunderstands, misses the point and fails to understand. And connect more.
So lets think about what you might do if you are Missing A Person, Place or thing etc
• Feel your Feelings – Its important to identify what you are feeling. Don’t try and stuff your feelings down a trash bag of I don’t cares. Feeling one’s feelings is helpful. Journal about what you are missing’
• Reach out and Talk to Someone. This can be a friend, your spobsor if you are in a self-help group a counselor, Sharing with another validates who you are
• Be Curious and Take Action
However, in our vocabulary we probably have endless ways of saying let’s connect and no thank you let’s disconnect. Care about this and not care about that. We are always making decisions and in truth we embrace two general yet opposite views about missing and missing, disconnecting and connecting. Here are a few ways to see this:
Miss (ignore what you want to miss) In these Covid 19 days I have for example taken to not being glued to the TV set and not reading every news article that pops on my phone or tablet every 15 minutes helps me I have been disconnecting from news 24 -7 as for me I become too anxious. I choose to miss listening to news reports all day.
Don’t Ignore Red Flags – If your heart and mind are telling you, maybe I should spend more time being quiet , detaching from social media, or spend more time reaching out. Don’t ignore your internal red flags.
What are you choosing to miss?
How does that make you feel
On the other hand
Don’t Miss Out – In this environment I have taken to seeing more and more people on zoom. I have increased the number of support groups I personally attend, the number of online zoom networking events and trainings. It is my way of staying connected.
I have also become more philosophical and have been discerning in how I choose not to miss out. I find I am more present, more available and a better listener.
So whether you are Missing Someone or you choose to do the Missing
1. Give yourself permission to explore
2. Be Open to Exploration
3. Invite in Curiosity
4. Invite Your Feelings in – keep a feeling chart nearby so you can explore your feelings
5. Be Discerning – Is what you are missing really important in the scheme of things – does that ultimately bring you contentment, joy, love personal or financial success or is what I am missing give me time to explore to grow to be more present with ones I need to be more present with or with important issues
6. Be Receptive to new Ideas – to New Ways of Being -even if its uncomfortable
7. Miss What you Want to Miss
8. Don’t Miss Out – on what you don’t want to miss out
9. Embrace Your Authenticity
10. Take Action
And please know that with a song in my heart and Tina by myside I am Missing You and Welcome Hearing From You.