I know this sounds a little on the hippie side, but I’m hear to say that we all have a love bubble. This post is from the work of Emily and Amelia Nagoski’s book, Burnout: The secret to unlocking the stress cycle. During my usual 2 mile walk, I listened to Chapter 6 of the book on “Connection”. We all know connection, especially during quarantine, has been the subject of research and discussion. Even the most serious of introverts have shared the impact of social distancing.
I have found this book to review things we are familiar with in science and bring something new or thoughtful –deeper meaning. Hence the words “love bubble”. I smiled as images popped in my mind of what a love bubble would look like. As they continued their narration, I was literally jumping for joy and crying (you know the tears of “yes!”). THIS explains so much and validates what is important to me as a human in so many roles.
What is a love bubble?
It’s your realm of connection–work, family, clubs, place of worship, your pets, any place you find yourself connecting and socializing. Your many love bubbles looks and performs differently in your life. Your work love bubble will be different from your family love bubble. Regardless, two unique ingredients exist in your love bubble: trust and connected knowing.
The book has so many great examples and personal stories. I encourage you to get the book. Bottom line is that trust means I can count on you to have my best interest at heart and it is reciprocal. I do the same for you.
“The belief that the people around us will reciprocate in proportion to what we give others is called trust.” (p. 141)
If trust is broken, we repair the hurt. We say and do things that acknowledge the broken, and we repair together.
We also engage in authentic trust with some of our love bubbles. We are totally ourselves and vulnerable enough to share without fear of judgment or rejection. We also recognize the moments we are called to be inauthentic and suppress our thoughts and feelings. For example, when you attend a public function, your ex shows up, and things haven’t been going well. You pull it together for the sake of your children. You save your authentic self until later that night when you call someone in your love bubble to share your true feelings.
This was my favorite! They first explained separate knowing. This is pretty much what it sounds like. You start talking and my approach is to look for flaws in your conversation and take a stand of my agenda only. Connected knowing is me listening to understand your point of view, your perspective, and includes wanting to understand the context. I take the time to not only understand all the reasons why you may think the way you do, and, in return, (this is the best part), I will discover who I am–my identity. Think of a love bubble in which you experience trust, authentic sharing, and connected knowing. Reflect on a meaningful conversation within that bubble. When you walked away, were you not changed in some way? Maybe the conversation confirmed your values and beliefs. Maybe you changed your point of view. Maybe you grew closer to them, and your bubble was feeling a whole lot of love.
You can add separate knowing and connected knowing together which will evolve into constructed knowing. The authors conveyed that they are hopeful that the science they shared (separate knowing) and the stories, worksheets, and examples will help you “consider how you may accept or reject any given idea–connected knowing.” (p. 147)
Maybe you are thinking “who cares?”. I mean really, I knew this, but you just put fancy words to something I already know. Here’s the thing. I started thinking of my love bubbles, and I started appreciating them more. That was when I started crying. If you have a love bubble in which you can experience trust, repairing of trust (we are humans), and connected knowing, you are blessed. Treat those people like they are a blessing. We can take people for granted.
I also was reminded by some of the stories in the chapter of why some people are not in my love bubble, and that’s okay. You know how you always think it’s you and not them? You think what could I do better? Well, stop that. Be nice, work with them, love them, pray for them, but they are not welcome into the sacred love bubble. Certainly we don’t announce these things.
‘YOU ARE NOT IN MY LOVE BUBBLE! (That would be awkward.)
You know how to set boundaries. You know what this looks like.
They used one of my favorite metaphors of “separating the chaff from the wheat”. Connected knowing relationships are okay with chaff and wheat together. Moreover, I want to understand the chaff and it’s connection to the wheat.
Remember this quote? I wrote about it on my blog.
“A friend is one to whom one may pour out the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that gentle hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”
― Dinah Maria Craik
I’ll never read that quote in the same way again. Before I blow the chaff away, I want to know why, how, and seek to understand your chaff. That’s a true love bubble.
After taking a walk, I brought my mom her mail. She was listening to an older CD of when I sang in a group called, One Reason. My song just happened to be playing, “Praise You”. At first, I did not recognize my voice. It’s been many years since that CD was made. Slowly the Spirit moved in to show me my years of “love bubble” with my mom, my church, my friends, and most of all God. I cried, and said, “Mom, I remember……..” which launched into a worshipful time of giving thanks.