Our biggest lessons and most significant rewards are found through our connections with people
Most things in life are better when you share them with others.; celebrating the highs, and growing closer with the lows. But is there a way to deepen those relationships? Connect on a more understanding, authentic level?
There is one thing I know for sure; people need to connect with people.
Countless studies have determined that people suffer when they are unable to make stable bonds in their lives. Depression, anxiety and other issues can result due to lack of social connections - which can be profoundly affecting in numerous ways - including an adverse effect on physical health.
It's important to note that the quality of connections is what's vital not the quantity. More friends doesn't mean better health, it's the genuine connection that's significant, even if it's only with one person.
Forging connections and deepening relationships, all starts with the way we communicate with one another. Keep in mind that you need to prioritize basic communication skills as well as to develop emotional intelligence and resilience.
This means expanding your capacity to perceive, use, understand, and manage your emotions, as well as the emotions of others. (This might sound complicated but lets break it down).
1. Be open to possibilities and new ideas.
If you never allow yourself to see and hear something new you'll never grow or move forward. Connecting is understanding and understanding is being open to receive new ideas and possibilities.
2. Being authentic means being vulnerable.
As scary as that is, it's the only way to truly connect with others. This doesn't mean you need to "sell" your story to the world but being the real you shows that you trust that person and are ready to connect on an authentic level. (You don't have to share your deepest thoughts to connect, but being the real you is necessary)
3. Show your interest in others.
If you are engaging and interested in the other person, it allows them to share and be vulnerable with you.
4. Put aside judgment.
Keep an open mind. If you find yourself judging situations and people, you are closing the door to potential social expansion.
5. Say, "yes" more often.
Do your best to pursue the things that interest you. Commit to saying yes to the activities that most invigorate you. Challenge yourself to try something new. (Even if you are scared).
6. Be mindful.
The benefits of living mindfully, with more awareness, are boundless. Mindfulness enables you to more easily identify your strengths and weaknesses, get a better handle on stress, and become more sensitive to the needs and emotions of others.
7. Step up. Lead the way.
Do you know someone who could benefit from more social interaction? Reach out and try to bring people together. Start a walking group, a monthly movie night or other recurring social events.
8. Be a good neighbor.
Little things can have an immense impact. Help someone with the groceries; open the door for others; visit an elderly neighbor; give someone a compliment; smile more often; make eye contact a habit. Not only will you be making someone else's day, but you will also feel great about your efforts as well.
9. Stay positive.
There are many times in life when this becomes a monumental task, but we have to persist. Remember that we don't see the world as it is; we see a version affected by our hopes, experiences, dreams and fears. (The good news is that we control our own the narrative)
10. Stop blaming.
If you focus on blaming others for your problems, you are refusing to take responsibility for changing or growing as a person, and some people may be apprehensive to make a connection with you.
11. Avoid predicting the future.
Don't assume you know and see all (because you don't). Particularly if you always expect the worst. Try substituting internal statements such as "they aren't going to like me" or "they're just being nice to me because they feel they have to" with statements like "it's entirely possible that I can forge new friendships with this person (or group.)" It may feel strange to you at first, but persistence pays off.
12. Ask thoughtful questions.
One way to keep a conversation flowing is to ask more questions. It also takes the pressure off you when trying to gather your thoughts. Be more inquisitive and watch the magic happen.
13. Take care of you.
There are boundless opportunities for authentic connections with others if you make self-care and personal growth a priority. If you take good care of yourself, you will have more energy and emotional resilience in your interactions with people.
14. Practice active listening.
Most people tend to think about what they want to say next while someone else is speaking, thereby breaking the chain of meaningful conversation. When you listen actively and mindfully, communication is more authentic and productive.
15. Forgive someone.
Sometimes we wear anger likes it's just part of who we are because of the things that happened to us. This might prevent all other wonderful connections from happening for us.
If you are holding onto resentment or a grudge, work on letting it go. Not forgiving someone that has hurt or disappointed you, can stop you from truly connecting with some amazing and wonderful people.
I fixed me because sometimes I was the problem
To create authentic connections and lasting memories, is to focus on things we want more of in our lives. More time with our families and friends; doing more of the things that we truly enjoy; focusing on the positive aspects of our lives instead of the negative ones.
We all make connections with others, but to truly bond with people requires us to be authentic with them. It means that we are open and vulnerable. It requires that we set personal boundaries and learn to listen better. Ultimately it means that we interact with them in loving ways, as love is the only genuine way to connect with others.