Our hearts break when we lose our close emotional connection with someone we care about. This often brings out the worst in us. We are tempted to give up and walk away, or become critical and angry. Sometimes we even create drama, all in a desperate attempt to feel better. Unfortunately, our most automatic reactions often just make things worse.
There is a better way. We can choose to work in sync with our fabulously relational brain to recreate and deepen our connection with the people we love. This involves changing our language to become a little more honest and vulnerable and bathing our relationship in positivity.
First, human connection can only deepen in an atmosphere of honesty and vulnerability. Brené Brown says it best:
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection”
Conversely, hiding keeps us separate. Wise veterans of Alcoholics Anonymous remind us that we are only as sick as our secrets. If you have the courage to be vulnerable, you can start by using a more vulnerable language. For example,
“I’m sad that I’ve been feeling less connected with you.”
“I don’t always know the best way to handle every situation as your parent.”
“I know that I’m not always easy to work with.”
Second, human connection can only deepen when there is a general feeling of positivity and safety in the air. Our hearts need to be soft in order to connect. Our hearts tense up and harden when listening to criticism, threats or general negativity. So, next time you feel frustrated and disconnected, choose to start your conversation by saying things you are grateful for. The more it relates to them the better. Like this:
“I’m glad I have someone like you to work with.”
“I like watching you connect with your friends. I bet they feel grateful to have a friend like you.”
“Thanks for all you do for the family. I know your life isn’t easy. I appreciate how hard you work for us.”
You can have a deeper connection with those you care about and it is easier than you realize. Start today by having the courage to be a vulnerable, then work to become a positive and safe person who is not afraid to have tough conversations. You will discover that your connections with others will slowly deepen. And there are few things more satisfying than that.