By Gini Grey
Doesn't it feel wonderful to have a warm and positive exchange with another person? It may be a friend you get together with, an acquaintance you bump into while doing errands, or the clerk behind the counter that looks you in the eyes and greets you with a genuine smile. In this busy world we come into contact with so many people, yet how many do we really connect with? How many people do we give and receive a deep hello, share a real part of ourselves and make a true connection with? It's easy to pass by someone and give them the usual "hello how are you. . . I'm fine thanks" and move on. But what if we stopped and gave them a real hello from deep within us to deep within them? I don't think we'd explode, dissolve or disappear into the atmosphere. Most likely we'd slow down for a second, move into the present moment and let go of our hurriedness. And most likely we'd feel a glow of warmth and sense of joy emanating from within as we move out of isolation.
It may be easy to have a deeper connection in our close relationships, but what about with co-workers, colleagues, and neighbors? Imagine how refreshing and fulfilling it would be to be authentic and have a meaningful connection, even if it's just in a quick exchange. And what about the people who trigger us and push our run, avoid or throttle buttons? If we can put the surface personalities and issues aside, we can see more clearly who the other person is and connect with that truer part of them. Past the personas and masks, beyond the wounds and insecurities, lays the beauty and bigness of the true being that is wearing the extra garb as protection.
When we see who another person really is it frees us at the same time to be our true selves. It is from this space that we can make heartfelt and rewarding connections.
Reflect on these questions to gain insights into how you connect with others:
* How does it feel when someone is being present with you, hearing and seeing who you really are? What does it feel like to be present with another and truly hear and understand them?
* How often and with what people do you connect more deeply? What are the benefits of doing this? What gets in the way of doing this?
* With strangers that you encounter such as a store clerk or a restaurant server, how do you greet them? Do you see them and give them a real hello? How do you feel when you do this? If you are in the service industry, how does it feel when customers give you a genuine hello?
Try these inspiring ideas to deepen your connections:
* The next time you are with a close friend or partner, deepen your connection by really listening and hearing what they say, through their words, body language and by what they don't say. Do this with total acceptance and without your own opinions or stories whirling in your mind at the same time.
* When you are greeting strangers have eye contact while saying hello. If you ask each other how you are doing, truly listen to their response and give an honest response back.
* With people that trigger or irritate you, try to see who they are beyond their behaviors and notice what it is like to interact with them without resistance, defenses or judgments.