Connection, or communing with other human beings is a primal need that spans Millenia.

We communicate using any means we can: voice, touch, light, sound, smell, written word, art, clothes we wear, and more recently (for better or worse), social media. Our bodies produce the hormone oxytocin when we’re bonding –  raised when a mother looks at her new-born, post-orgasm and even after 10 minutes of stroking your dog, both you AND the dog’s oxytocin levels reach peak levels. You may also be familiar with our own addictive hormone dopamine, produced in great amounts when we fall in love. They both have huge health benefits: lowering blood pressure, reducing cortisol (stress hormone), act as natural pain killers by binding to opioid receptors, boost memory, and even protect skin from aging. Lack of these hormones has also been shown to cause stress, and depression. Basically, we’re programmed to connect, and it sure helps us get through the tough stuff that life throws at us.

GOOD VS. BAD CONNECTION

Every person reading this can relate to that certain someone we’ve known where it’s felt like hard work, joyless or simply drains your energy every time you spend time around them. As part of the human experience, we’ve also been that person too, but when a connection is consistently negative – it’s time to reassess.

STEPS TO FINDING YOUR BEST CONNECTION

  • You attract what you believe – when aspiring for better connections, it starts with you first. We’ve spent years perfecting our persona, thanks to past experiences. Repeated thoughts become beliefs – who we think we are, how we should behave and how we expect people to react to us. Thankfully, we can interrupt unhelpful thought patterns and reframe beliefs that no longer serve us e.g. “I was always told by my Dad that I was stupid, so I’ll never earn good money”, “My Mum always told me I was ugly, so I’m just grateful to attract a man even if he treats me badly”, “Bullies at school told me I’m fat, that’s just who I am, so I’ll never lose weight”. Time to admit you may have stuff to look at, first step is to question yourself.

 

  • Meeting kindred spirits. Write down fundamental qualities that you expect from someone with whom you’d have the greatest connection with e.g. loyalty, trust, compassion, intelligence etc. Make it a bright and as bold as you like. Imagine being around this person and how it makes you feel. Now the tough part, whatever qualities you listed, emulate them. Some of you won’t like this, as we all connect with different people, but I’m talking of best possible connections here e.g. you want someone who is compassionate, but you aren’t – do you think they’ll be attracted to you? And if they are, would respect or joy be maintained in this relationship where they initially dropped their standards for you?

 

  • Connect. Ok, so now you’ve done some self-reflection and soul-searching, time to get out there and have some fun meeting like-minded souls. Start with all the places and activities that you might enjoy – get abstract in your thinking. A good place for ideas is, “Eventbrite”. Look at your list and circle the things where you think you’ll meet those you’re looking to connect with. Book a course, or attend said activity for at least a month, give it a good go. If it helps, here’s how I met some of my greatest connections: dog walking group, travel group to Bali, a Meetup group to an Art exhibition, theory class for a sailing qualification.

 

  • Building and maintaining quality connections. This is the part less talked about; we all just assume that we meet people that we enjoy the company of, and expect good times to continue. Wrong. All relationships require two-way effort – if this becomes imbalanced, friction is created or relationships fade away. Just be more conscious in your relationships:
  1. Listen – what does your connection like about you. If they don’t openly tell you, ask them. An important lesson in what you bring to relationships.
  2. Tell them what you appreciate about them – you don’t need to get weird about this, it’s OK to make a flattering observation without being struck down by lightening.
  3. Share experiences which you both love doing, strengthen that bond and make important memories together.
  4. Ask them about how they FEEL about things…..their job, politics, beliefs, what upsets them. This is where true understanding and deep connection happens.
  5. Ensure you call or message them as much as they do, and return the favours they gift to you. It’s only your parents who give to you without ever expecting anything in return – you shouldn’t expect this from anyone else.

You don’t have to love everyone you connect with, but you do need connection. Call me old fashioned, but something special happens when you’re physically hanging out with a loved one. So get out there, make the effort to meet your kindred spirits and nurture those relationships.

 

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