Editorial: Discovering the benefits of personal connections

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It has recently come to my attention that other people, even strangers, are in fact worth the effort of getting to know. Throughout my life I’ve developed an appreciation of the peace that comes from being alone. There’s so much less chaos when the only person in your environment is yourself.

It’s also made me supremely comfortable in my own mind and skin. I have standards for myself, and meeting them is all the validation I need. My lifestyle is predicated on the belief that we are whole without the presence of others, and I stand by that.

But it had never crossed my mind that being a whole person may not be the best we can do.

I started volunteering for the Cord in March 2018 because I was bored, and figured the weekly contributions would give me something to do as I recovered from the kidney transplant surgery I had had that January. I had no intention whatsoever of making friends, not out of misanthropy, but because I didn’t feel the need to.

But as the weeks went on, I started to go to look forward to the copy editing sessions. I enjoyed the conversations in that lounge, and meeting the other members of the team when they sometimes came up there to work.

It sometimes feels like I have no interests in common with them, but I’m reminded that that’s possibly the best part

I came to appreciate their different styles of humour, perspectives and interests.

That didn’t change when I took a position on the team, and though it sometimes feels like I have no interests in common with them, but I’m reminded that that’s possibly the best part.

They have experiences that I could not possibly have had because of the differences in our interests and personalities, just as I have experiences that they could not have had. I have benefited from my relationships with others, whether that is as friends or as strangers, and not just because human interaction is necessary for our well being.

We live life through the filter of our own biases. We can explore outside those biases and take on other perspectives, reducing the filter’s intensity. Thus, we start seeing more of what is than what we think there is. But we are all limited, simply because we can’t explore every possibility or know of every opinion.

Forming connections with people has helped me to see things in ways I wouldn’t have been able to on my own. Everyone has different beliefs concerning what’s important in life, about how we ought to approach work and pleasure, and every other question you could possibly ask.

Considering those beliefs and perspectives reduces our filter more. It’s helped me refine the way I live life and make decisions.

I submit that the importance of relationships with others is not that we wouldn’t be complete without them, but that they make us better than we can be on our own. We are each other’s whetstones, and we sharpen one another through conflict and bonding.

On our own, we can be whole. With others, we can be more.

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