Connecting with people…what does that even mean?
For the past weeks, I’ve felt oddly demotivated and unenergized; like my battery just didn’t want to recharge. Which is fine…but not really the go-getting entrepreneurial mindset necessary to make this World Peace thing happen…
Anyway…somewhere last week I began to receive snippets of clarity and peeks of renewed energy. Little bits of thought and feeling around everything that I am and that I’m doing. And, even though I would love to run with the credits, these snippets were not triggered by my own hibernating brain, but by a whole host of other people.
See, one of the biggest wheels I’ve set in motion the past couple of months is to build and grow my network of like-minded and like-hearted people. I’ve met with friends, former colleagues, people who I’d only met once but of whom I felt it was significant to meet again, people who came recommended by others, and, somehow, I also stumbled on fantastic interactions with people in shops and streets.
And interestingly enough…every single conversation I’ve had was seriously fantastic and valuable…
- Because I had deliberately planned to have no ulterior motive.
- I also knew upfront that there was not one outcome to expect.
- All conversations were open and honest (and sprinkled with mutual respect).
- And, above all, because there was a mutual recognition.
Recognition that the other person is every little bit as human as I was.
I was struck by the ease of the conversations, the sense of safety and trust even when meeting someone for the first time, and perhaps most of all, by the sensation that told me: “WOW, I MIGHT NOT BE THAT BAD AT CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE AFTER ALL.”
(I distinctly mention ‘people’ because I do exceptionally well with cats! Cats and babies…)
Because it is the simple truth that I’ve not always experienced this ease in relationships. Far from it actually…
- I’ve felt unseen, unheard, unsafe, threatened, manipulated, rejected, and laughed at.
- I’ve felt the need to defend myself, to hide, to run away, and to smack people silly.
- I’ve felt very, VERY, alone whilst being surrounded by people…
But even though I’ve felt that way plenty of times, I do recognize that it was rarely, if ever at all, the intent of the person on the other side. Just like it has never been my intention to not connect with someone.
The inability to connect with someone else is simply 2 human beings miscommunicating
It could be circumstantial (like when you bite someone’s head off because they cold call you to sell you grocery vouchers while you were in deep work mode…). It could be cultural (like how it isn’t easy to not roll your eyes when you’re accidentally part of a conversation about how “like, totally wasted” everyone was over the weekend when you don’t drink yourself). It could also be emotional (like when you want to bitchslap your manager in the face when he starts bragging about the size of his
penis team again).
And of course, a mismatch in human connection is not necessarily all that crude. It is also that void and slightly confused sensation you get when coming out of an inconclusive 2-hour meeting. It’s the impatience you feel when someone obviously only wants to sell you whatever crap he’s selling. And let’s not forget the ultimate classic among human misconnections: that you, in the most passive-aggressive tone you can muster, say “Fine.” when your partner asks you how you are (and you’re obviously NOT fine).
Ah yes, it’s not easy to be human sometimes…
But…what if…we all made conscious efforts to truly connect with the people we interact with?
- What if…we all made conscious efforts to connect with ourselves? So that it would become a whole lot easier to connect with other people too…
- What if…we all made conscious efforts to go beyond whatever we’re struggling with at the moment? And take the time to really see and understand where the other person is coming from so that we don’t react on snap judgments…
- What if…we all made conscious efforts to take responsibility for our words and behaviors and not mindlessly blame everything on other people (yes, I’m looking at you, Donald…).
Now close your eyes and imagine this applied to your world…
Wouldn’t your world be a whole lot more pleasant? And softer? And peaceful? With a lot more calm and quiet grace? Wouldn’t many of the frictions you now experience simply dissolve? And wouldn’t many fights and discussions not even come into existence?
Of course, I’m not saying this is going to be easy… Because connecting with people (or with yourself for that matter) is very much not easy a lot of the times… And it’s true that there are a bazillion people out there who really couldn’t care less about meaningful human connections… But does that mean that we shouldn’t at least try to make this gorgeously imagined world reality?
I obviously think we should… I also think that the only way to do so is by indeed taking that responsibility in our own 2 hands…
…by consciously trying to connect with ourselves each and every day. And to inspire as many people as we can to do the same.
What do you think?