One of the healthiest things you can do for yourself is to harness your ability to cultivate deep, powerful connections. Think of your most satisfying relationships. There is a sense of freedom and security that exists in relationships that comfort us. Those exchanges- based in authenticity and trust- are healing to the body and good for the soul.
Additionally, research consistently shows that the quality of our relationships and the extent of our social interactions affect our well-being. This month, join us in exploring ways to connect more meaningfully with yourself, those along your path, and the world around you. Here’s a list to help you get started:
Create a safe haven.
Do you make others feel comfortable in your presence? Think of the people who make you feel valued. As a result, aren’t you always delighted to see them? Simple gestures of kindness and thoughtfulness go a long way in making others feel comfortable. As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Do you see your neighbors, the store clerks, the mailman, and others who cross your path throughout the day? How many times do we simply offer a passing glance or ignore them altogether because we’re busy? Take the time to look at the people who serve you. Who knows, maybe you will discover a new friend.
Enhance the quality of your conversations.
When you silence the dinging and buzzing of phones during meal times and while in the presence of others, a more in-depth conversation can occur. Think of how it feels when you are trying to talk to someone who is distracted by email notifications. It is terribly unsatisfying, isn’t it? I love how Lysa Terkeurst puts it when she says, “I refuse to let the people I’ve been entrusted with get my ‘less’ instead of my ‘best’ because I’m distracted.” Put away the distractions and focus on the person in front of you. Let’s all commit to contributing to a richer exchange.
Walk barefoot in the grass.
Awaken your connection to the earth by literally feeling the serenity of the outdoors. What better way to feed your soul than to stroll barefoot in a grassy field or by digging your feet in the sand? Nature makes us feel alive, connected, and free. When we pause to immerse ourselves in the world around us, it gives us a greater perspective that we are all connected.
I believe we are all wired for kindness. Serving others is a powerful way to connect more deeply with our innate need to be of value, and as they always say: when we help others, we bless ourselves. It makes us feel useful and purposeful.
Give someone a platform.
Many times, people are simply looking to be heard. When was the last time you took an interest in the details of someone’s life who needed you and listened? Just listen. No strings attached. No advice. Listen and love.
Have you evaluated your conversation habits or your ability to handle conflict? Becoming aware of our own tendencies and shortcomings is how we improve upon our ability to relate to others.
Your ability to trust others stems from your level of confidence in yourself. If you see yourself as a kind, competent individual, chances are you will look for those qualities in others, too. Remember, you never have to do anything alone. Ask for help if you need extra support during the process of building a healthy level of self-confidence.
Do something fun.
Laughter really is the best medicine. Think of how much more you bond with someone when you laugh together and share a fun activity.
Finally, I recently read a heartwarming and deeply inspirational book on connections that’s too good not to share. It’s called Angels on Earth: Inspiring Stories of Fate, Friendship, and the Power of Connections by Laura Schroff.
Schroff wrote about her incredible personal story of connecting with a panhandler in her first book An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny. Her date with destiny took place in 1986 on the streets of Manhattan when a young 11-year-old boy asked her for spare change because he was hungry. She took him to lunch, and that meeting began a friendship that has lasted over thirty years!
As she was promoting An Invisible Thread, she was flooded with stories from readers who shared their own stories of meetings with “strangers” that led to their own powerful connections. (She complied those stories in her second book Angels on Earth.)
Both books are beautiful reminders of what can transpire when we connect with those around us. Angels on Earth is especially motivating with it’s collection of story after story of people around the world who established a meaningful connection simply by noticing a person in their path.
Let us always remember: You never know who needs you or how a person you see today could impact your life. That’s something worth stopping for! Let’s all pledge to really see others this month.
Your heart longs to connect deeply and meaningfully with others. When we go through the motions without pausing to see one another, we miss the opportunity to connect more powerfully.
Success doesn’t happen in isolation. We’re all in this together, and we all need each other.
How can you enhance and cherish your every connection this month?