We crave connection.
One form of counterfeit connection is more along the lines of projection, aligned around our effort to appear a certain way, to display our lives in a certain light however far that might indeed deviate from the reality of who we know ourselves to be.
Thomas Merton offered a rather stern warning around that approach…
All sin starts from the assumption that my false self, the self that exists only in my own egocentric desires, is the fundamental reality of life to which everything else in the universe is ordered. Thus, I use up my life in the desire for pleasures and the thirst for experiences, for power, honor, knowledge, and love, to clothe this false self and construct its nothingness into something objectively real. And I wind experiences around myself and cover myself with pleasures and glory like bandages sin order to make myself perceptible to myself and to the world, as if I were an invisible body that could only become visible when something visible covered its surface.
And yet there is a better connection open to use. One based on who we, in God, are, not just the projection our ego desires others to see.
Returning to Thomas Merton again….
To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name. If, therefore, I do anything or think anything or say anything or know anything that is not purely for the love of God, it cannot give me peace, or rest, or fulfillment.
How might we know the difference between those two? One possible sign is joy. When we seek to be known through projection, for most, anxiety is the outcome. When we seek to be known as part of God’s creation, maybe joy comes alive!
The angelic state is such that everyone conveys his or her own blessedness and happiness to others. In the next life there is a communication and keen perception of all feelings and thoughts so that in the sharing of joy each communicates to all and all to each, which essentially makes every individual the center of all the rest. That is how heaven is set up. (Secrets of Heaven 549)
Thinking of how to connect more? Maybe work towards sharing, together, who you are in God, and the joy that comes right alongside.