In our age of drive-by contact, go deeper. Emotionally, authentic connection is still the most exciting and satisfying meal in town. It offers juicy nourishment to counteract the stagnation in superficiality. Go for substance and know how to generate it:
1. Create time and space. Eat dinner together. Sit around a table. Drive in the car. Go for long hikes. Turn off the television. And yes, put down your phone. Make room in your overly-distracted lives to connect with another human being. By creating space, you will eventually run out of idle chit-chat which will encourage a deeper dive. Just resist the urge of accessible and tempting fillers.
2. Ask open ended questions. Seek understanding of the other’s world. Appreciate difference rather than argue validity.
3. Speak your truth. Your authentic self – in the form of thoughts, feelings, wants, wishes, pains and story – is what you have to offer a relationship. If you keep all your thoughts and feelings locked inside, then you are withholding your identity from self and others.
4. Risk. Say something daring, vulnerable. Something that you are not certain how it will be responded to. Make your heart pound and your hands sweat. Yes, you might get rejected. The other person might move away from you rather than toward you. If so, that is good information to have. But, he or she or they might move closer. If you reveal something with weight you might occasion more love and closeness. Such possibility is well worth the risk.
5. Pause. Take the other in. Digest their words and feelings. Let them land in your emotional terrain. Then, authentically respond in a way that includes both them and you. A relational cocktail of intertwined connection.
Go deeper this summer. Take the plunge to the ocean depths. You never know what treasure there might be to discover.
For the rise of your life …