How to create more honesty and connection with others

We all want connection. It’s a basic human need. Although some of us need more time alone to recharge than others, we all need some sort of human connection. We need to feel seen and understood.

But sometimes it’s difficult to really create that connection. When we’re busy doing tasks and pushing on through our day, true deep connection can fall by the wayside. We can be surrounded by others but still feel lonely, disconnected, unseen and misunderstood.

True connection comes from being honest and vulnerable with each other. It can feel scary to be honest and open, it feels like we might be judged, or like the information shared might be misused in some way. But as Dr Brené Brown states, vulnerability and authenticity are the paths to feeling wholehearted, alive, fulfilled, energised and empowered.

So here are two key ways you can deepen connection with friends, family, partners and colleagues.

Own your stuff

Firstly, this is about doing some self reflection. This is about noticing what’s going on when you fly off the handle at someone, or when you feel low, or when you’re reaching for the wine bottle again. This isn’t about judging yourself for doing any of these things, it’s about gaining some awareness around what you are believing in the moment. For example, when I know I’ve got too much going on work-wise I become more stressed at home about the cleanliness of the place, or whether we’ve got adequate food plans. What I’m doing is what Brené Brown describes as ‘chandeliering’. I am believing things are out of control and so I start to become more controlling in unnecessary ways. This plays out for all of us in all sorts of ways. The game changer however is sharing this stuff. Owning that you feel stressed about something and it is causing you to behave in a certain way. By sharing with others the cause of the stress and taking ownership of it, you automatically experience greater connection. The bonus piece here is that when you do that, you automatically give others permission to do the same, and the connection is deepened even further.

Listening from a place of self-compassion

Sometimes being honest and open and vulnerable might involve sharing the way we feel about someone. If you’re the person on the receiving end of that feedback it can be a challenge. But for the sake of connection it’s important to find a way to take on board what they say. This is all about finding a peaceful, kind, self-compassionate perspective to be in, in order to hear the feedback. If we are in a self-sabotaging perspective when we hear feedback we become defensive or judgemental or cynical. But if we have a strong foundation that we are a complete, worthy, whole individual then any feedback is just something to work on, something to tweak. Personally I have held a self-sabotaging belief about myself for a long time that I am fundamentally a ‘bad’ human being. But over the past few months I’ve done a lot of work on this and now know myself to be kind and considerate in my heart. At times, I may slip away from it, but fundamentally I am kind, compassionate and considerate. When I hear feedback now from those around me that I haven’t made them a coffee for example, rather than my ‘you are a bad person’ gremlin raising it’s head, I re-acknowledge myself – I am a kind, considerate, compassionate human and that forgetfulness was just a momentary blip. When you hear feedback from this place you are able to avoid jumping to the defence, the channels of communication between you both remains open.

When we own our stuff, and listen from a place of self compassion we stay open, we stay available to others, we stay connected. Life feels richer, more abundant, more loving, we end up feeling lighter and more able to swiftly move from situation to situation without carrying heavy baggage of defensiveness.

This stuff takes time, it’s an on-going process, it’s a life-long process. But goodness me it’s worth it.

If you’d like to chat more about coaching or workshops drop me a line. I have availability in my calendar from late April for two new coaching clients and some availability in May for workshops.

With love, Hannah

*Image by Rémi Walle

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