4 Ways to Build a Deeper Connection
[In February, my posts will focus on connection.]
Connection is “energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
With Valentine’s Day looming, now seems the perfect time to think about connection. It’s hard not to talk about connection without using the word “feelings” in the same breath. We feel connected to someone based on…well, how they make us feel.
People tend to forget the things we tell them and even the things we do for them. Yet, it’s rare for people to ever forget how you make them feel.
A poet brought that to my awareness. I am only paraphrasing Maya Angelou.
I believe a connection is a give and take between the parties; otherwise, they wouldn’t have derived “sustenance and strength from the relationship” as Researcher Brené Brown so aptly pointed out in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection.
I like Brown’s definition of connection because within the definition itself, she listed the essential ingredients needed for building a deeper connection with someone.
Make Them Feel Seen
Sometimes, our biggest struggle is against our own feelings, that we are irrelevant or invisible to the world, especially to the people who matter most. We want to be seen for who we are and to be appreciated for it.
I’m reminded of one particular scene from the movie, The Joy Luck Club. After a dinner party, the character Jing-Mei confronts her mother, Suyuan, about a deep hurt. She believes that her mother sees her as a disappointment because she failed to live up to Suyuan’s high expectations.
Suyuan’s response to her daughter not only shows what escaped everyone else’s attention at dinner, but it is one of the best examples of human validation:
“That bad crab, only you tried to take it. Everybody else want best quality. You - your thinking different. You took worst because you have best quality heart. You have style no one can teach. Must be born this way. I see you.”
Make Them Feel Heard
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey pointed out that “Most people don’t listen with an intent to understand; they listen with an intent to reply.”
We want to be understood.
But to be understood is a luxury. (Ralph Waldo Emerson was wise to point this out.)
Yet, it is a luxury we can afford to give. But it requires that you be fully present. What do I mean by this?
If you are fully present, you won’t break the flow of conversation to respond to a text message or take a call. You won’t interrupt to make a side comment about something completely unrelated. The other person will have your full attention and focus.
When you are fully present, you will go past the words and appreciate the intent.
Make Them Feel Valued
If you consistently do the above two things, naturally, people will feel valued because they will know that you have emotionally invested in them.
Work Towards Absence of Judgment
According to this article, contempt is the number one reason for tearing couples apart. I believe you can only feel contempt if you judged someone or some ideas as inferior, rather than as different from your own. As humans, we cannot be absolutely free of judgment since we rely on it to survive. However, we can do with more kindness and generosity.
If you consistently cultivate the above habits into your daily interactions, you and the people in your relationship will benefit greatly. You will derive sustenance and strength from one another. And with your ability to make this kind of meaningful connection, you will continue to put forth positive energy that attracts the right kind of people into your life.
For more on connection, please read the below articles, and if you believe them to be of value, please share them with your circle of influence.
How to Make Others Feel Special, click here.
How to Be Present and Make the Moments Count, click here.
The Beauty of Small, click here.