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How to Connect with Others Right Now


Valentines Day is right around the corner and unfortunately for a lot of people love is not in the air. Over the last couple of years, we’ve moved from wanting to connection with others to a “why bother” attitude. It feels difficult to even want to try to connect with other people. Plans get pushed off and the loneliness gets more prevalent. But without a solid, bonded relationship, the human soul becomes hindered in psychological and emotional problems. We cannot prosper without being connected to others. Sometimes we feel that we can supply all our needs without other people. We think that, in a state of emotional isolation, we can still grow. This is a grave violation of the basic nature of the universe can cause serious problems.


Learning or relearning how to bond won’t happen overnight. Making human connections takes a good dose of grace, truth, and time. Here are some skills that will start you on the long road to making changes that heal.


Take a Step Towards Others

It is wonderful when others move toward you and seek out your heart. In the current environment, often people cannot see what you need or how emotionally isolated you really are. When we do not see others regularly, our minds fill in the blank about what we think the other person is up to or doing. This sometimes causes us to believe that the other people are too busy for us or have other friends they are connecting with, and we do not want to bother them. When we start thinking this way, we start believing the other person does not care or we are not worthy of their time, and it causes us to withdraw from contact. Meanwhile the other person is often feeling the same way, and no one is reaching out and both are feeling miserable. Therefore, to the best of your ability, actively reach out to others.


Be Vulnerable

Have you ever felt lonely in a group? This happens when we do try to socially interact with others but do not let others know us. We guard our opinions, our thoughts and our interests to try and protect ourselves but unfortunately it only causes pain. Learn to be vulnerable. The only way to connect and feel like you belong is to allow others to see the true you. The word vulnerable literally means “open to criticism or attack.” This means there is some risk when we show ourselves to others but there is also the huge benefit of being accepted, feeling loved, and feeling understood.


Humility and vulnerability are absolutely necessary for bonding to take place at a deep level.

Being vulnerable at a social level may be too threatening at first. Maybe you need to start with a therapist, or support group. But vulnerability is a skill that opens up the heart for love to take root. When you can admit that you need support and help, and can talk about your hurt and isolation, a dynamic is set into motion that can literally transform your personality and life.


Challenge Unhealthy Thinking

Unhealthy thinking is learned from previous relationships and experiences. Examples of this type of thinking are “all people leave me”, “I am cursed”, “things always turn out bad”. These distortions block you from relating to others. What happens is they cause you to repeat what has happened in the past and keep you in bondage. To the extent that you continue to see the world through your childhood lenses, your past will be your future.


If you don’t, for example, challenge the belief that “all people will leave me,” you will never form an abiding attachment. Unhealthy thinking was learned in the context of relationship, and that is the place where it can be unlearned. As you challenge these thoughts, new relationships will emerge, and you will find healing and connection.


Take Risks

It is a risk to lean new relational skills and the way of attachment. You will feel awkward or scared as you start to allow others in because it is different from what you did before. Different is not bad it is just different. When people start showing up and it is your choice if you are willing to take that chance and build a relationship. If your unhealthy thoughts and/or your resistance to risk get in the way, you will keep the door closed and a relationship will not be able to bloom. Relationships can only happen if you allow yourself to take the risk.


Allow Dependent Feelings

Whenever you begin to allow someone to matter an uncomfortable needy and dependent feelings will surface. This is the beginning of vulnerability and a softening heart. Though uncomfortable, these feelings are a key to connection. Often we think we need to stay strong and not let others in but allowing your tender, needy sides to show will cement the attachment and allow it to grow.


Recognize Defenses

Our defenses our designed to protect us but sometimes they grow out of proportion and end up keeping us from connecting with others. Start noting your own patterns in relationships so that you can recognize your own defenses against attachment. When you notice your familiar patterns, it will help you take responsibility for them which is what leads to healthy change.


Be Empathic

Empathy is the ability to share in another’s emotions, thoughts, or feelings. I’m sure you have noticed over the last few months that the less people understand each other the more fractures happen in their relationships. Being able to empathize with others’ needs and being able to see the world through their eyes will open your heart and provide a place for a relationship to grow.


Say “Yes”

Being willing to show up and participate is one of the basic acts of friendship. It is one of our self-defense tactics to say no because then we avoid intimacy and avoid the risk of getting hurt. Connection requires action. It requires us to show up. It requires the yes.


Feeling that you belong, are accepted and appreciated are essential for life. If you are struggling to find those connections, reach out. We’re here to help.


Warmly,

Trish Pauls, MA RP

Registered Psychotherapist

HELPPS Psychotherapy Services

www.helpps.ca

519-601-HELP (4357)

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