Human relationships are such an integral part of life and although sometimes messy and complicated, they can also be pretty precious. No two interactions we have will ever be the same, and even the smallest small talk has the potential to change the course of a life in its entirety. Talk about power and potential!
We drive our relationships, which, in theory, directly affects half the outcome of our interactions. Yet, how we choose to steer is often taken for granted because the process can be such an automatic part of day-to-day life we don’t get too much time to truly think about it. More so, the process of connecting with others may sometimes even leave us feeling disheartened, disappointed, or misunderstood.
This all happens because our brains and hearts rarely work in sync. Information processing is largely biased to aid in basic survival, which may, unfortunately, tint circumstances darker than they should be. Providentially, however, we can choose to transcend these cognitive processes by simply cultivating awareness and keeping in mind a few basic principles.
1. Assume Nothing. It’s so easy to jump to conclusions when things don’t work out as planned, but, truthfully, we have no idea what happens beyond our own experience. An assumption can never be accurate because we simply don’t know the full circumstances of any given situation. The next time you are faced with this kind of challenge, try keeping your mind completely open and consciously forgive if necessary. It doesn’t matter why things panned out as they did, but you can be pretty sure there was a learning experience in there somewhere.
2. Don’t Take It Personally. So much easier said than done, but consciously being making this a goal can be crucial to staying positive and not letting your defenses dictate your mood for the rest of your day. This applies to everyone of course, but people with lower self-esteem are likely to be especially sensitive to the actions of others and maybe feel unworthy as a result of an interaction. If this sounds familiar, remember that we are all equally special beings within an abundant world that has so much to offer. The certainty that everyone is different, combined with our hold of free will, makes each individual person uniquely equal and amazing.
3. Listen to Your Intuition. Try turning down the volume of the mind chatter and up that of your more subtle intuition when it comes to making connections and decisions. We are all wise beyond our understanding, but our intuitive hunches tend to get tuned out because we don’t usually have the time to listen. We are not all meant to get along, and sometimes people pass through our lives just to teach us something. Our egos may also sometimes drive us to expect certain favorable outcomes (which can lead to disappointment), but try taking the time to see beyond this layer to consider all that is going on objectively, and in-tune with your true self.
4. Truly Be There. Regardless of whether you are talking to the cashier at a supermarket or are on a first date, try to remain fully focused on your interaction with the other person. What they are saying, their subtle mood, body language, and so on. It may sound like a cliché, but all we truly ever have is the present moment, and it’s a gift that should be treasured. This may require some conscious effort at first, but it can be very rewarding in return. Consider a night out with close friends and an absent-minded domestic conversation; one is likely to completely consume us while the other just produces empty words.
5. Love. Consider allowing your actions and decision to come from a place of love, and see how that affects your inner peace and life outlook. We may sometimes feel like other people don’t understand us or are taking us for granted but it can be very worthwhile to simply show them love in return and release any negativity the situation brought. The definition of love is, of course, subjective, but in action, it may involve simple actions such as cultivating empathy and being understanding, to name a few. Human beings are incredibly social creatures, and love is at the core of our nature. Try letting it lead the way.
What strategies have helped you strengthen your ability to connect with others?
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Photo: Jez Timms via Unsplash