Slowly, I am getting back into the swing of work life here. And the theme of the week I’m noticing is about #connection. ⠀

Yesterday, we found out who’s responsible for the #Austinbombings and there’s so much to observe and so much to say. ⠀

The people in his community felt that this was a “shock” because he was so “polite.” Here’s the deal though, politeness is something we are trained to do without regard for how we feel. Politeness is not, by itself, an indicator or substitute for meaningful connection.⠀

Others are focusing in on whether or not his attacks were politically or racially motivated. Similarly, more are focused on how his race plays into how this is being talked about. All of this is important. And, as I sit with this I can’t help but go back to connection. ⠀

Connection to others is vital. The quality of that connection is vital. Healthy, meaningful, reciprocal connection with people different from us is vital. Do we feel oppressed by the other? Do we feel felt, heard, and understood? Have we ever felt that way? The people who have made us feel felt and understood – how’s their connection to others who are different from them? ⠀

This isn’t just fluff I’m talking about here – as a mental health professional, I am trained to ask questions about connection when assessing risk of harm. Because the more connected someone feels to others, particularly others who are different from them, the lower the risk is of #violence. ⠀

In this way, working on our connections with others and fostering environments for healthy connection is actually a form of prevention work.

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