Our relationships in life bring us the most enduring joy and at the same time they present us with the biggest challenges and opportunity for growth.
While it may not seem like it, we come together in our relationships in a perfectly matched way, kind of like a lock and key. With some people in our lives it's like we are walking down the same pathway together. Yet with others, the opposing dynamics offer a space of tremendous learning and growth. In any form, our relationships provide us with a reflection of ourselves, as well as insight into another, as we move along the ever changing river of life.
How can we deepen our most important relationships and bring harmony into the more challenging ones?
Communication is the key.
Acknowledge feelings. Human beings want their feelings to be acknowledged. On any day we might ask "how are you?" Notice if you take time to look at them in the eye -- and really listen to the response.
It is easy to ask the question and then continue opening the mail or walk out of the room to get something. But listening to someone share their thoughts and feelings is one of the most powerful ways to show we care about them. Our inner feelings are windows into the soul. Listening and validating another person's feelings allows them to be authentic and expressed. Inviting them to say more and really listening creates that sense of connection we all crave.
On the other side of the coin, are you able to talk about your most inner life with your partner, friend or loved one? Some people are naturally less expressed than others. Using the lock and key example again, some of us may be good listeners but less comfortable sharing close held thoughts and feelings. If someone who walks away after asking them "how are you", it is a message that the answer doesn't matter. If this happens frequently, these people begin to feel like they don't matter. They may start putting their inner self on the shelf with that person. Then their connection begins to diminish.
Create space for connection
Ask for what you need. Good listeners may not be good at "getting listened to". They can help bring balance into their conversations by asking their loved ones for what they really need. In long standing relationships it is easy to get into a routine, to have expectations, or preconceived ideas about what someone's behavior means. Simply stating, "I have something I'd like to talk to you about". "Can we sit down and take a moment", sets the tone for conversation and connection time away from distractions.
Scheduling regular times for sharing and listening may help create the balance we seek. My partner and I used this idea when busyness seemed to be claiming our close connection. Planning 15 minute daily visits of listening and sharing restored intimacy and transformed our communication space.
Sharing our most inner thoughts and feelings deepens our relationships. When we can share our true and authentic selves, we feel loved, seen and heard. Why not bring the gift of connection into your most important relationships with heartfelt, engaging conversations?
Blessings to each of you on your journey,
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