I believe connection is an artistic process. Many of us have difficulty connecting to one another. Why? Perhaps because we have difficulty to listen to others, respond to others and accept differences; perhaps it is something to do with the notion of ‘otherness’ or perhaps it is something to do with the degree of self/other awareness. What do you think?
It seems that connection is possible when we spend time together to create relational principles with one another. Connection is a mutual process. Relating doesn’t happen in vacuum; it is experienced when two people allow themselves to be open and influenced by one another. What would support the formation of experience of connection is ‘suspension of judgment/ criticism and self/other awareness’.
When we enter into relationship, our statements/questions indicate the degree of our openness and willingness to experience connection. Openness to exchanging ideas leads to self-awareness and eventually to otherness. Without relationship, Relatedness is not possible. We are products of our relationship; our identities are formed in relationship. Thus, we may need to pay attention to the importance of relatedness and our contribution to its formation. Relational principles are not constructed automatically but by mutually given attention to the importance in relationship.
Experience of connection is possible when we creatively tune into each other and deliberately craft relational principles! Thus, connection is an intentional act.
Emotional safety and suspension of judgment/ criticism are crucial in this process. That is the only way that we feel more comfortable to listen to each other and relate to one another.
Connection is not possible without act of listening. Listening makes people attune to ‘what and how’ things are exchanged in relationship. The importance of listening is overly talked about but is under-used in our daily conversations.
Listening is a practice of holding onto our ideas as we actively pay attention to what others say. This way, we notice differences/ similarities among shared ideas; we may find out possible gaps in our own thinking or others’. In this process of identification, it is important not to feel threatened by differences but remain open to examine and re-view our own ideas.
Self- awareness requires openness, listening and understanding others’ points of views. We are not able to learn about our belief system without allowing others to shed light and reflect on various aspects of our ways of living/ our ways of responding to matters. Self- awareness is formed by our ability to listen to other views and by our willingness to reflect on our own ideas/beliefs.
With listening, sharing ideas and accepting differences, we may become emotionally available to one another and experience the joy of Connection.
Tahereh Barati, M.A, RMFT