As I ponder topics for my blog, I often look to issues that are coming up with my clients, family, friends, or those with whom I have recently interacted. I enjoy looking at shared stories and themes, and just like Twitter, my experience has taught me that there are trending topics in life. The one that is currently on the front burner is fear of being real in relationships—there is a universal longing for meaningful connections at work, home and socially and yet, people are opting to keep themselves distanced and protected, inadvertently shutting out the very thing they are longing to create in their lives.
I don’t know if the age of the Internet, texting and Facebook has created the opportunity to detach ourselves from personal connections or if these social options were formed out of the wellspring of discomfort of being real with others. Enjoying the ease and functionality of electronic innovations has revolutionized our ability to communicate, what seems to have gone by the wayside is genuine connection. I am amazed at how often someone opts for a quick easy text to address larger issues rather than reaching out to talk about the deeper needs people are expressing.
If you are longing for a richness in your relationships that currently does not exist, here are three easy steps you can take right now:
- Trust: First trust yourself; you are worthy, amazing and have something to offer the world that no one else can, so sharing who you are with others is not only essential to your happiness it helps other people as well. Second, trust that despite surface appearances, other people are feeling, as you are—wanting more and are simply unsure how to create it. By taking the first step in opening up to greater connection with others you are creating the change you wish to see in the world. Finally, trust in the value of connection to improve your life. While not everyone will want to walk this path with you, those who do will create many unforeseen opportunities that can only come after you have had the courage to create the connection.
- Be Real: Once you have taken the initiative to open up to connecting with others in meaningful ways it is important that you honestly share who you are with them. There is nothing more powerful that a person who is willing to reveal vulnerabilities, mistakes, past pain, aspirations and dreams with others because despite feeling so personal these experiences touch on universal themes in all our lives. Revealing that you are human, in touch with who you are and courageous enough to share it, allows others to do the same, deepening connection and providing for new ideas, attitudes and solutions to evolve in ways impossible without such interactions.
- Stay Centered in Who You Are: As you begin to shift and offer the opportunity for greater connection, others around you must adapt to the change. Some will welcome it and others will be unmoored by the changing tide. The key for you is to remain anchored to the value of genuine connection and allow others to make the choice that is best for them in the moment. If you are uncertain as to how to respond to a particular person, return to step one and repeat!
If we want to have genuine connection in our lives, we have to first connect with that part of ourselves that knows we deserve vibrant, healthy relationships. As we own our ability to allow these relationships into our world, we have put ourselves on the path to creating them in every area of our life. By following these three simple steps we can transform the quality of life by increasing the enjoyment of being with the people we interact with every day. Through that increased connection we are leading the way toward greater satisfaction for everyone with whom we interact—and that is the mark of an extraordinary leader!