“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
This week’s exploration is about where you experience a deep sharing connection in your community. How can you develop relationships that you can count on to support your growth and self expression? Knowing someone in this way, without judgment, provides a safe haven of acceptance and platform for rising up to the challenge.
In seeking to develop such relationships you may feel vulnerable and exposed and as if you are taking great risk. To reduce this, first take steps to establish and build trust. You can build an emotional connection through thoughtful and caring communication. Answer the following questions to find out possibilities for introducing this into your relationships.
1) How close are you to your friends and family right now? Pick one person who you would really like to have a deeper connection with and keep them in mind for the remaining questions.
2) Consider all the ways you can increase trust and security. (Use the following questions to trigger some ideas.)
a. What are the obstacles to your connection?
b. How are you both willing to be emotionally available?
c. How will you show/receive affection, appreciation, love and caring?
d. What can you do to spend quality time together at different times of the day?
e. How can you fight fair by giving a solid reason for saying what you do based on the current issue without deviating to other sensitive context or history that you are privileged to know.
3) How can you find out what this person wants for their own personal growth, from life, and from you?
4) How can you put yourself in their shoes and relate to their intentions, passions, and interests over time?
5) If the person with whom you would like to share a deeper connection is willing, try out this exercise in Uninterrupted Listening
Set a timer to give yourselves equal time to share what you are currently facing – thoughts, feelings, and actions. Your partner in this actively listens without giving any comment, advice or verbal feedback on what is being said. After a few minutes they reflect back a summary of how they understood what you have said. “I heard …”. without embellishment with ideas or opinions for you to hear objectively. If there is any point that is not what you meant address it and then swap so that the other person also has an opportunity to speak in an uninterrupted stream of consciousness.
It does not matter how verbal you are in this sacred space. Quieter individuals appreciate having time to verbalize their thoughts without being interrupted. It is not a forum for receiving possible solutions, but just for stating where you are right now.
Things that you might consider sharing include
a. What you are afraid of.
b. What you are pleased about or proud of.
c. What you are finding difficult or challenging.
d. Funny stories.
e. Dreams and aspirations.
f. What you would like the other person to know in order that they could work with you better or be more supportive.
g. Five things –share 5 things that follow a theme of your choice. Examples include 5 things you love about your partner, or 5 things that you would love to do with your partner or 5 things you are grateful for or 5 things you partner has said/done that have had a huge impact on you.
Here you have experienced revealing yourself to others in a loving way. You have also elaborated on what you can do with the important people in your life that allow the bonds and connection to flourish while maintaining your values and needs.