Built for Connection and Storytelling

Your back pocket vibrates as your phone lights up with a new cacophony of updates and voices, each one pleading to be heard.

Behind every blog, status, Tweet, or picture is the urgent yearning to be known. This comes as no surprise—we are built for connection and wired for intimacy.

Research professor and author Brené Brown recalls,

“The surest thing I took away from my BSW, MSW, and PhD in social work is this: Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives…”

Brené Brown

This interdependence starts at the moment of conception. During the first twenty-four months of life, the brain’s right hemisphere begins developing its functionalities with incredible speed. This hemisphere is responsible for interpreting and generating nonverbal cues such as intonations, body posture, and facial expressions.

Using these cues to contextualize words and exchanges, the right hemisphere works in conjunction with the left side of the brain to paint a holistic comprehension of the world that is rooted in interpersonal connections.

Psychiatrist and author Curt Thompson explains in his book, Anatomy of the Soul,

“The brain is capable of being wired in response to the interactions an infant has with parents…secure attachment has far-reaching and positive implications for a child’s future cognitive, social, and emotional development as well”.

Psychiatrist and author Curt Thompson

Happy baby and Mom.

Babies have the potential to recognize a sense of connection and being wanted starting as early as seven months. From the get-go, we require connection. It is responsible for ordering how we will perceive and interpret our role in the world. This inclination or, rather, this need, is truly hardwired into us.

Brown writes,

“As members of a social species, we derive strength not from our rugged individualism but from our collective ability to plan, communicate, and work together. Our neural, hormonal, and genetic makeup support interdependence over independence.”

Our brains respond to stories with an attentiveness that is not equally paralleled when we hear facts.

Dr. Thompson continues to write,

“The integrated nature of the right hemisphere produces, a deep awareness of the sensation of ‘we,’ a sense of connection.”

This sense of connection allows us to construct our own stories and to engage in others’.
Volunteer donors.

We have the unique, beautiful capacity to invent the world we inhabit by sharing our stories, dreams, and aspirations.

The more connections we build with and between people, whether they be close friends, students exploring the world on the support of a scholarship, or the donor placing hope in an institution, the fuller the world will become.

The key to humanity’s progress involves our comprehension of this reality.

About the Author

Lindsay Isler

Lindsay is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she received a Bachelor’s in English Literature.