We all feel lonely. We all experience isolation. Rather than allowing sadness in your life, seize the opportunity to reassess your surroundings and seek deeper connections with those around you.
Connecting with others takes a shift of energy; this will change your body language, mindset, and view about your environment. Be patient with yourself through the moments of insecurity, and trust that you will find what works for you. The following are some ways I've found to deepen my connection with others.
When getting to know someone new or when getting to know those people who are significant in your life even better, allow them to speak with their heart - truly listen to them. Ask simple questions that keep them engaged in the conversation. This is an amazing way to learn more about someone. It gives them a chance to feel safe enough to engage with you. Listening intently also encourages a person to be themselves. Allow them to lead; by just listening, you will make them feel secure and the relationship can develop naturally.
Secondly, enjoy the groups you are around. If you are choosing to spend your time volunteering for an organization that make you unhappy, don't let pride keep you there. If you try something once and really give it your all, and it doesn't feel like a re-commitment would serve you, find something that's a better fit. Once you've found a group you enjoy, give your energy fully. As time goes on, you will start to develop meaningful relationships that are mutual and caring: like attracts like.
Say what?! Yes, I said it. Sometimes we perpetuate drama by talking about our problems without seeking to change. While it is okay to vent and seek advice, beware of taking advantage of those close to you. Ask yourself: why am I sharing my hardship? To complain, or to gain a new perspective? Every day brings the chance to choose differently; everyday is a new opportunity to shift your perspective.
Small shifts create great change. The more you practice these very simple tips, the easier connecting with people becomes. Life goes by quickly, so be stingy with your time and give it to people who bring good feelings. In turn, you will have more good will to pass along to others with whom you wish to connect.
*This is a revised version of the blog post found on Ashley Harkey's website: How to Truly Connect with People.