Are you planning to wear a Christmas Jumper to work this year? Perhaps a crazy one with a huge Rudolf nose on the front? To be part of the fun. To raise money for charity?    

We wear some interesting clothes today but underneath we are still like others. I visited many remote tribal people when I was Head of Marketing for an international charity and I found out that despite appearances, they are really not that different from you and me. Their hopes and fears, loves, happiness and pain are similar even if their surroundings are not.  

What they do have in spades is connection. We are basically hardwired for this. Our primary and most fundamental human needs are for connection and protection. A human baby, separated from or abandoned by its mother will survive a matter of hours. Our very DNA knows this so we seek connection often at any cost.  

That is why many of us feel so isolated when we retire. It is why my Great Uncle Bill went to play dominos at the Miners Welfare every week. To be connected and accepted by those he felt familiar with.  

The reality is, that no matter what you wear on the outside, you won’t feel connected in the place where it matters: inside. People, such as celebrities, believe that by gaining the trappings of success that they will be happy. Sadly, when they become super successful they end up isolated. They can’t do ‘normal’ things such as go to the supermarket or to the local pub. They probably long to go to work, take in mince pies and wear a loud Christmas jumper.  

So, what is the solution? 

Choose your ‘tribe’ wisely for starters. ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven’ is a novel by Mitch Albom. Eddie is a maintenance guy at a fairground who wants everyone to be safe. He dies and meets five people in ‘heaven’ and learns how his care and attention has touched so many others and that everything is connected. To quote the book:

“It is because the human spirit knows, deep down, that all lives intersect”.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. We are greatly influenced — whether we like it or not — by those closest to us. It affects our way of thinking, our self-esteem, and our decisions. While it’s ideal to be closely surrounded by positive, supportive people who want you to succeed, it’s also necessary to have those who hold you accountable or push you. It is also important to have some friends who just love you simply for who you are. And to start that love with your own inner connection. Every morning as you brush your teeth find five things you love about yourself, look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself of them. At the end of each day write down five things you did well or were proud of. 

You are unique, as everyone else is taken. So, wear that jumper. Have fun. And love being you, imperfectly perfect as you are.