What we are all looking for is love, joy and connection.
We know that success, money and health are important, however, the reason is that they give us the choices, resources and energy, to connect to others.
Our relationships can certainly be the greatest source of joy, yet they can be a great source of pain, even with those we love the most! What I have discovered is that by changing our perspective, or employing simple tools and strategies, it is possible to maintain golden connections with our partners, children, friends and work colleagues on an ongoing basis.
My top 5 tips for authentic and lasting connection are:
1. If we change, the people we are relating to will change
If we are struggling in our relationship, it is essential we do not keep on doing the same old thing. If we are unhappy, it is important to develop awareness of our actions. By making a different choice around our behaviors, we lay the foundation for different outcomes. When we blame and think “if only they would change, things would be different”, it keeps us stuck in our current situation. For example if every time we talk to our partner about a difficult situation we end up in an argument, this is a huge clue to take responsibility and change the way we communicate. The way we start a conversation is how it is likely to end. So if in the past we have started the conversation in a defensive, aggressive way, that is how it is likely to end. However if we approach even difficult topics in a light and easy manner, when our partner is calm, relaxed and has time to listen, the conversation is more likely to end the same way.
2. Set healthy boundaries
Others (at this point in evolution!) generally cannot read our mind. Well intentioned people can have expectations that are not right for us. Learning how to be still and go beyond the mental chatter of our mind (meditation is a great tool for this) and listen to our intuition, (that wise voice within), lets us know what is right for us. The next step is to have the courage and conviction to speak our truth—to be able to tell the person in a kind and loving way that in certain situations they need to “back off” when it innately does not feel right for us. For example our children may feel comfortable having us as their 24/7 taxi service however this may be at great expense to ourselves and themselves as they do not learn responsibility. As the appropriate age, they may need to be told in a kind and loving way, that they need to catch the bus.
3. Lead from behind
In healthy relationships we need to let people know what is expected of them, in a positive non-judgmental way—and then get out of their way. We need to have belief in them. It is common to set expectations and then get in the way with worry and fear things will not happen. Having faith that people have their own inbuilt problem solving capabilities, paves the way for a respectful relationship. They may even come up with solutions that are better than what we could have imagined! Just the way that we enjoy using your creativity to work in harmony with others, we need to allow others to do the same! For example, once I said I would like I would like to spend more time with my husband (but let him work out the how). He planned a four day trip away. I was just thinking some time together at the beach, but he really took things to a whole new level!
4. Be still when we want people to come to us
Often we want people to be close to us—we want them to want to be with us. We can try so hard to “make this happen” for example by aiming to be the most successful, prettiest or funniest. We can be so wrapped up in ourselves and trying to say and do the “right” thing that it can actually create a barrier to people wanting to be near us. What most people actually want, is to be in a non-judgemental space where they feel validated, loved and respected. Most people just want to be heard. So what we need to do mostly to create this space, is nothing!! Just be there. We need to empty our minds of judgement and be able to look into their eyes and see them as the loving, divine, people they are. We could still contribute to the conversation or add our words of wisdom. Ironically when we are in this state of stillness, people will be more likely to ask for our opinion.
5. Meet people half way
When people come to you in a warm and friendly way it is OK to go up and meet them in the same way. I am not a big fan of being “COOL”, as often it means being standoffish, judging the other as not good enough to receive your warmth and love. Sometimes others are taking a big step outside of their comfort zone by moving towards you. Being warm and loving is our natural state. Extend warmth and love to those around you and feel the joy of connection.