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Posts tagged humanity
L A B E L S
Model: Byron Hunt; Photography by me

Model: Byron Hunt; Photography by me


When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief or nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.
— Jiddu Krishnamurti

Would you agree with me that we typically feel compelled to label: people, items, emotions, experiences, ideas…pretty much everything!

Sure, there’s value in labeling. That’s how we’re able to know what the hell we’re referencing. Otherwise, our convos would take twice as long trying to describe what we’re referring to, and it’d all be one continuous scene of The Little Mermaid (“Whozits and whatzits galore. You want thingamabobs? I’ve got 20!”). Obnoxious and frustrating to the max.

Labels are part of our culture - in every sense of the word (personal, professional, legislative, judicial, pop culture, music, etc). They contribute to the infrastructure upon which society is built, upon which laws are passed, upon which food is sorted and Netflix is categorized. When I’m browsing for new jams, I don’t want to have to scroll through a shi* ton of random opera ballads to get to my preferred music.

Labels make our lives easier and more efficient. They allow our brains and bodies to navigate through life more effectively amid the onslaught of information we’re blasted with every second of every day. They help us make sense of the world, with all of its complexities.

They also can bestow us with a common purpose. It can offer a sense of belonging/pride/commonality/community, particularly in the case of nationality/cultural identity/etc. It can provide a cause/entity to cheer for, a common point to rally around. They give us traditions, and opportunities to connect with other similar people.

However…

These benefits (efficiency, simplicity, community, pride, etc), can come at a price.

It can become problematic/limiting/divisive/misleading/self-defeating when we apply this labeling compulsion with no consciousness, awareness, flexibility, or fluidity. When we tattoo those labels, so to speak, making them costly, painful, and time-intensive to remove (I really took that tattoo metaphor and ran with it, didn’t I?). Labels can also mask our universal commonalities and pit us against the “outsiders.”

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Society values clarity and decisiveness. We’re prompted to label people as good or bad, right or wrong, successful or non; same goes for ideas, etc.

This dichotomous and limited way of thinking doesn’t account for complexities: within individuals, within groups, within the world in general. People do good things. People do bad things. Life isn’t always black and white.

And I want to live in a world where people’s gender/race/skin color are irrelevant. Just because I may be regarded as a privileged white woman doesn’t mean I’m not allowed an opinion or a say or a hope for a more inclusive world.

Furthermore, it limits our growth and happiness, and clouds our view, when we apply labels to ourselves! Particularly regarding our identities. We’re conditioned to establish our identities on factors such as our skin color, our profession, our IQ level, our prevailing temperament, our body type, our gender, our music taste, our religion, our political affiliation. Lawd help us if we step outside our established identity: a straight male shaking it at Zumba, a Republican voting for a Democrat, a bodybuilder loving the ballet, a grandma digging Metallica.

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It’s easy to feel locked into a label and feel pressured to maintain that image. For example, men in certain cultures (looking at you, ‘Murica) are typically discouraged from expressing emotion - especially in the military. To cry is considered weak and “sissy la la.” What kind of bullshit is that?! Think about it: They are discouraged from expressing HUMAN EMOTION.

I’ve previously discussed the dangers of emotion repression, and the takeaway is: it ain’t good. Those emotions don’t just disappear into the ether - they fester and make their way out eventually and demand to be addressed.

Former Army Special Forces Green Beret Greg Stube acknowledges this in his stellar book, Conquer Anything: A Green Beret’s Guide to Building Your A-Team. He was fully indoctrinated in the masculine military, “rub some dirt on it” (he actually uses those words) mentality…until he almost died in Operation Medusa in Afghanistan in 2006. He was finally forced to grapple with what it means to be human, to be complete, and to be truly strong: mentally, physically, and emotionally. Having repressed that facet of being human for so long, he was knocked for a total loop when he was blown to smithereens by an IED (improvised explosive device) and forced to accept a very different reality, one in which he couldn’t just rub some dirt on it and soldier on. Through soul searching, reflection, and personal “come to Jesus” talks, he came out on top - and acknowledged the importance of transcending certain labels to embrace and cultivate what it means to be human, and what it means to be truly strong.

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So what happens when something happens and the label no longer fits?

We get fired. We go bankrupt. We get voted out. We get sick. We flunk a test. We gain/lose weight. We experience an existential criss that triggers re-evaluation of our priorities/affiliations/beliefs.

Like Greg Stube experienced, it can be devastating, if your identity is tethered to that label. Suddenly you start wondering who you really are, if not your label(s). If I’m not a high-powered lawyer/straight-A brainiac/size 0/Christian/president/husband/etc, who am I? What’s my place in the world? What do I have to offer? Am I still worth loving? So many of us feel conditionally loved, whether we realize it or not. We’re led to think (sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally) that we are accepted/loved because of those labels: doctor/Mormon/star athlete/parent/do-it-yourselfer/subject matte expert.

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This also applies to emotions. Let’s say you’re known as the carefree, happy, optimistic one. The one who sprinkles sunshine wherever you go and elevates the mood in any situation. You’ve learned to effectively play this role. But what happens when you have a bad day? Or even a bad year? Are you supposed to deny yourself feeling those “negative” emotions?


When you welcome your emotions as teachers, every emotion brings good news, even the ones that are painful.
— Gary Zukav

What you resist, persists.


Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.
— Pema Chodron

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Which leads us to emotion labeling. Emotions aren’t positive or negative; emotions are emotions. Emotions are natural and wide-ranging, and most importantly: emotions are messengers. They come and they go, so we should let them move through us, view them with curiosity and no attachment, and discern their message. By denying/ignoring/repressing them, you are stunting your growth, preventing your freedom, and blocking true happiness.


Feel the feeling but don’t become the emotion. Witness it. Allow it. Release it.
— Crystal Andrus

Ultimately, as the opening quote indicates, labels separate: us from each other, us from ourselves (our true essences). While they do serve a purpose, it is crucial for us to be aware of them and fluid in our allegiance to them. As long as we interpret them loosely and keep an open mind, we’ll all be better off.

xx,

-w-


Once you label me, you negate me.
— Soren Kierkegaard

Being H U M A N in the age of A I


It’s 2019. Shouldn’t we be blitzing around in flying cars with robots at our beck and call a là The Jetsons? I feel let down.

Just kidding because…life might become more Jetson-esque in the not-too-distant future.

As we know, technology is constantly evolving, and artificial intelligence (AI) is at the forefront of that. If you’re a techie, you’re probably current on the state of artificial intelligence. The brainiacs working on it have made some remarkable advances in the field. Projected timelines vary widely, buuut it’s safe to say our lives will become increasingly impacted. Virtually every aspect: the way we work, the way we shop, the way we move, the way we learn, the way we eat, the way we communicate.

While we’re still pre-AI takeover, it’s crucial for us as a society to address important questions, such as:

  • What does it mean to be human?

    • What will happen to people emotionally, psychologically, and economically when they no longer have jobs and don’t work to make a living?

      • There is much discussion regarding the how/when of professional displacement (eg some fields will be affected differently) but it’s a valid concern

      • Many people base their identity and sense of worth on their title/job role/professional contribution/productivity/ability to earn income

  • How much privacy should humans retain?

    • Specifically in an age where data is the new currency, and computers are already lapping up all the data we generate just by existing in the digital age, to continually fine-tune their algorithms and customize their influence on us (personalized ads, suggested purchases, even music based on data we (un)knowingly provided).

  • How do we program AI for moral dilemmas, eg. self-driving cars swerving, thereby sacrificing you to save a child pedestrian?


If left to its own devices, AI will also produce a global distribution of wealth that is not just more unequal, but hopelessly so. AI-poor countries will find themselves unable to get a grip on the ladder of economic development, related to permanent subservient status. AI-rich countries will amass great wealth but also witness the widespread monopolization of the economy and a labor market divided into economic castes.
— Kai-Fu Lee, author of AI Superpowers
  • The technology - and thereby the wealth - will be concentrated in the hands of a significant minority

    • China and the US are light years ahead of everyone else, and due to the nature of the technology, this gap will only widen and become un-bridgeable, leaving other countries in the dust (thereby wrecking their economies - resulting in significant financial, political, physical, and psychological repercussions).

      • Drilling down even deeper, the investors/engineers in China and the US will accrue almost all of the data and wealth, as part of a cycle that will continue separating them from the have-nots.

        • There are a few proposed remedies to this (redistributed wealth from high taxes on those elite few profiting off the technology, gov handouts, etc) that should be considered and hammered out before it’s “GO TIME”

        • There’s even concern those elites will have the resources to transform themselves into literal superhumans, by bio hacking the shiz out of themselves (eliminating all disease, extending their lives, etc). This will further divide them from us mere mortals. Not an ideal situation, yeah?


As Kai-Fu Lee (author of AI Superpowers) notes, the resulting turmoil will take on political, economic, and social dimensions, but will also be intensely p e r s o n a l. As a society, we’ve come to see our work not just as a means of survival or “gettin’ that bread” (my words, not his), but as a source of personal pride, identity, and real-life meaning. Severing these ties - or forcing people into downwardly-mobile careers - will damage much more than our bank accounts. It will directly assault our sense of identity and purpose. Cue rising levels of depression.

Sounds doomsday, right? Pretty freakin’ grim?

But hear me out…

Kai-Fu Lee is one cool dude and knows his stuff. He contributed to breakthroughs when AI was first emerging, and since then has had a wildly successful career (as president of Google China, as an executive at Microsoft, SGI, and Apple, as an author, as an educator, as a mentor, as a speaker, as a social media influencer, as chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures). He went from scientist, to engineer, to executive, to teacher, to…cancer patient.

Lymphoma knocked him for a loop. Suddenly motivated to reassess his life, he gleaned paradigm-shifting, life-changing wisdom via self reflection, and visiting a Buddhist monastery. This resulted in an epiphany and changed outlook on technology, its role in our lives, and what it means to be human.

Kai-Fu, humans aren’t meant to think this way. This constant calculating, this quantification of everything, it eats away at what’s really inside of us and what exists between us. It suffocates the one thing that gives us true life: love.

Many people understand it, but it’s much harder to live it. For that we must humble ourselves. We have to feel in our bones just how small we are, and we must recognize that there’s nothing greater or more valuable in this world than a simple act of sharing love with others. If we start from there, the rest will begin to fall into place. It’s the only way that we can truly become ourselves.
— Master Hsing Yun, Buddhist monk

As Kai-Fu came to realize, for all of AI’s stunning capabilities, the one thing that only humans can provide is actually also exactly what is most needed in our lives: love.

We are far from understanding the human heart - let alone replicating it - but we do know humans are uniquely able to love and be loved, that humans desire to be loved, and that loving and being loved make our lives worthwhile.

Kai-Fu advises this is the synthesis on which we must build our shared future: on AI’s ability to think, paired with humans’ ability to love. Creating this synergy will allow us to harness the undeniable power of AI to generate prosperity, while also embracing our essential humanity.

Kai-Fu proposes a social investment stipend: using the economic abundance of the AI age to allow displaced employees to invest their time and energy in activities that promote a kind, compassionate, and creative society. These would form the pillars of a new social contract, one that valued and rewarded socially beneficial activities the same way we currently reward economically productive activities. It would provide income to those choosing to invest in socially productive activities in three broad categories: community service, care work, and education. Cool, right?

In an age in which intelligence machines have supplanted us as the cogs and gears in the engine of our economy, I hope that we will value all of these pursuits - care, service, and personal cultivation - as part of our collective social project of building a more human society.
— Kau-Fu Lee


If you’re interested in learning more about the progressing impact of AI, I highly recommend not only Kai-Fu Lee’s AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, but also Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.

xx,

-w-




I ACCEPT YOU
Images by Whitney Richardson Photography  Model: Jennifer Servais

Images by Whitney Richardson Photography

Model: Jennifer Servais

Watch carefully, the magic that occurs when you give a person just enough comfort to be themselves.
— Atticus
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Let's start this post with an informal poll: Have you ever been irritated by someone? How about intimidated by someone? Angered by someone?

Call me presumptuous, but I'm going to go ahead and say we've all been there. Just hazarding a guess here.

If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time, cease to react at all.
— Yogi Bhajan

Feeling those feelings is part of the human experience. It's natural. It's what we do with them that matters. And I don't know about you, but I'd like to keep riding my high vibes. Don't get me wrong, those "negative" emotions - while not fun to feel -  really are absolutely necessary. Here's why: 

  • They balance us out
  • They enhance the "positive" feelings, making them that much sweeter
  • They reveal areas of potential growth and self-evolution
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Love people for who they are and not for who you want them to be. That’s where the disconnection starts.

However, we never want those feelings to control us. So how do we handle those feelings and still feel good, without crossing over into the land of denial, delusion, and insincerity? How do we reclaim our power from those power-leaching feelings when they arise? It can be really friggin' aggravating when an acquaintance keeps the conversation focused on them, or the guy in line behind you keeps hawking a loogie, or a family member keeps leaving a mess for you to clean up, or someone does something SO NOT COOL. Right?! And this isn't limited to feelings of ire: It can be unnerving to be intimated by someone. That's not fun to feel, either.

Remember, people are the least lovable when they need love the most.

So here's what you do: think "I accept you." Really mentally and emotionally commit to that sentiment. Accept that person, despite their annoying habits, or selfish ways. Connect to their humanity. Embrace them in all their flawed glory, just as you'd hope others would do for you. We all screw up. It's not a question of if, it's a question of how. We're still all diamonds, baby.

People do not need to be fixed, they need to be loved.
— Robert Tew

This doesn't mean you should become a pushover and toss all boundaries. If someone does something truly unacceptable, or at least something you feeling strongly enough about to address, then communicate this to the person tactfully. Do it early and do it kindly. However, ideally you'd do it from a place of acceptance and love, not fire and vexation. At the very least, it allows you peace of mind and freedom from those gnarly emotions.

Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.
— Pema Chodron
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Go and love someone exactly as they are. And then watch how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered.
— Wes Angelozzi

This tactic also works brilliantly in times when you're feeling insecure in someone's presence. Simply thinking, "I accept you" shifts the focus from your insecurity to your capacity. From passivity to activity. It allows you to reclaim your power by stripping the other person of their control over you [whether intentional on their end or not]. Moreover, it does so in a way that is loving and good-vibe inducing [told you, all 'bout dem good vibes]. "I accept you." So the next time you find yourself in the same room as Gigi Hadid [seriously, am I the only one this keeps happening to?], you can tell her how to stop being intimidated by you. Poor girl. But seriously, it's a useful tool for when you're interviewing for a job, or meeting new people, or delivering a speech. Try it!

xx,

-w-

Be the type of person who makes everyone they encounter feel perfectly okay with being exactly who they are.
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IT'S NOT ME IT'S YOU
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Even if you're genuinely the sweetest person alive, you've felt frustrated by another person, right? Or you've gone after something sought by others, like a job, or a house...or even a parking space!

Let's say you and someone at work are competing for an opportunity. There is only one spot available and you both have your sights set on it. 

On a basic level, what is your need here?

Spoiler alert: Your need is NOT for the opportunity itself. Depending on what the opportunity is, your need may be for financial security. It may be for growth and progress. It may be for acknowledgement of your hard work. That particular opportunity is a vehicle, or method, for fulfilling that need.

So ask yourself: Is there another way to get your need(s) meet without this specific opportunity? 

YES!

You could get a promotion or an award. You could even change jobs or branch out on your own. You could find another source of income.


The point here is:

No two people’s needs are ever in conflict. Only the strategies for getting those needs met are in conflict.
— Neil Strauss

 

Reflect on a recent conversation that could have gone better, or a conflict you experienced. Maybe you're battling with a significant other, or a friend, or a boss, or a customer service representative. Strip away the rest and drill down on what your common, basic needs are. Maybe it's the need to provide a cohesive, stable environment for your kids [spouse]. Maybe your needs are to feel supported and heard [friend]. Maybe you need to feel valued and trusted [boss]. Maybe the needs are efficiency and reparation [customer service rep]. 

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Focus on those common needs and remember: at our core, we all have the same basic needs. What varies are our ideas for how to meet those needs. Some seek validation through fancy possessions and high socioeconomic status. Some look for love in toxic relationships. Some think hoarding what's "theirs" [time/money/ideas/energy] is the only way to ensure there's enough for them. Some of these methods work, and some not so much. Some are harmless, some are harmful - to self/others. Whatever your method is, try to choose one that serves the highest good. So let's do our best to remain open and empathetic to others as we navigate life and work on getting those needs meet. 

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Negative feelings come from unmet needs.

Anger could stem from a need for respect that isn't honored. Confusion could signal a lack of communication and honesty that are needed. Impatience could be from a need to be understood. Or lezbereal - maybe you're just friggin' HANGRY and need some F O O D!

Strive for internal and external awareness, and look for ways to meet those mutual needs. If you're ever in doubt regarding just what those needs are, do your best to communicate with an active ear and an open mind. If possible, eliminate assumptions and seek confirmation from the other person/people. Put down the gloves and halt the hostility. Sometimes opposition/competition is unavoidable (e.g. vying for a job, or spot on a team, etc) but at the very least, identifying those needs helps you relate to and empathize with the other(s). 

One love,

-w-

C O N N E C T I N G
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Connect deeply with others. Our humanity is the one thing that we all have in common.
— Melinda Gates

Ya girl Melinda bringing the wisdom and the opener for today's post on connecting with others. 

Before we start, do me a favor, please, and reflect on people with whom you just VIBE. You seem to connect on the deepest of levels, and you just get each other. It's as if you're twin souls, as if you're cut from the same cloth.

Now please (so polite, I know) think of people with whom you definitely do NOT vibe. No matter how hard you try (or don't try - because sometimes it's exhausting), you just.cannot.get.on.the.same.page. You may not feel ill will toward them, but you'd be just peachy if you never cross paths again.

You likely know people whom fall on both ends of the above-outlined spectrum - as well as people sprinkled in between. C'est la vie (translation for the non Francophiles: such is life). The reality is, some of these people from whom you feel disconnected may be people you can't necessarily shun from your life completely. They could be coworkers/in-laws/spouse's friends/bosses/etc. They ain't going anywhere.

Do you ever wonder what you can do to bridge the gap between you and your non-soulmates? If so, B O O M. Today we're going to explore ways to enrich and solidify your connections with others - or at the very least, just hopefully make it less friggin' awkward and painful.

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I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel
SEEN, HEARD, AND VALUED:
when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive
SUSTENANCE AND STRENGTH
from the relationship.
— Brene Brown

Think back to your fellow vibers. Think about how you feel during and following interactions with them. You likely feel acknowledged, right? You feel like they "see" you, they hear you, they value you. You don't feel judged or criticized. If they do dish out tough love (which in my opinion is when you KNOW you have a solid friend - more in a later post), you know it stems from a place of pure love. They care about you enough to call you out when necessary. You feel strengthened, boosted, and re-charged after speaking with them, not drained, depleted, and depressed. 

Let's dissect this for methods you can use to be this person for others:

  • Make the other person feel heard
Don’t listen to reply. Listen to understand.

LISTEN. Truly listen. Identify the non-verbals, focusing on what they're not saying (their body language, their insinuations, their possible motivations, etc). Clear your hands and your attention and give it all to them, baby. Think about how delicious it feels when someone gifts you with their full attention. Something so simple can truly have a powerful effect. It has the power to soften defenses, lower walls, enhance communication, etc. I mean, at the very least, the sooner the other person feels heard, the sooner the encounter will likely end. But...you may surprise yourself. By truly taking the time to focus on the other person and absorb their message, the more invested and engaged in the relationship you'll feel. One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.

  • Be truly curious and show a genuine interest.

Ask questions. Show a genuine interest. Everyone knows something you don't. Doesn't it feel amazing when you can tell someone is taking a true interest in your life/message? Confidence booster for sure! 

Without fail, the most charismatic people I know are those showing a genuine interest in others. They ask deep(er) questions, listen, then ask follow-up questions. They pay genuine compliments, beyond the "You look cute" or "You're a babe." Don't get me wrong - any genuine compliment is a good compliment - but the truly effective connectors are those who take it one step further and one level deeper. You feel like they're actually addressing you, not just any other friend of theirs.

  • Meet them halfway
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
— Nelson Mandela

Drop the pretenses. The condescension. The need to show how fabulously fabulous you are. Keep it R E A L, amigos. Chances are, if you listen, you can get a feel for where the other person is coming from and meet them there. Especially if you recognize they're making an effort, don't make them go it alone. Reach out a hand. 

Initially, you may have to go more than halfway, maybe even the whole way solo. Decide if you'd rather have smug justification or happy co-existence. Self righteousness is a lonely road.

And maybe you find that person I N S U F F E R A B L E. Irritating as hell. You find them ignorant, or abrasive, or self-absorbed, or whatever.  Read on, my friend.

  • Do your best to remain non-judgmental and open minded.

This is particularly hard when you feel they're judging you, and especially hard when you KNOW they're judging you (as evidenced by their expressed verbal judgments - in other words, they just freaking told you so). Just know that judgment stems from fear/insecurity/anxiety. People who are secure and love themselves don't feel compelled to chase feelings of superiority (however fleeting) by judging. And if they sense you're judging them (whether you are or aren't), this will likely exacerbate the session. So let it be clearly known you love and accept them as they are. This will hopefully inspire and encourage them to extend the same respect to you.

In conjunction with being non-judgmental, try to remain open minded. The person may say/do things you consider abominable, or lame, or ignorant, or EW. Hear them out, reserve judgment, and unless they're plotting to do something atrocious like murder bunnies, live and let live! Accept and celebrate your differences. Give them - and yourself - space to be yourselves.

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  • Grant them grace.

Understand if they're being rude/self-centered/etc, it's because of insecurity/fear/anxiety. They - just like you - are doing the best they can. It's hard being human sometimes! *Genuinely* helping them feel heard and special and valued will go a long way toward bridging that gap, and will likely lessen their compulsion/need to prove themselves to you/others, and to seek external validation. 

Social anxiety is a very real thing, and for some it can be debilitating. That person you'd wish would stop monopolizing the conversation to brag about how incredible they are? They may suffer from crippling social anxiety, and simply don't know how to connect with another, so they fall back on what they know - themselves. They use it as a crutch, and would likely be horrified if they knew how they were being perceived. Trust me, it's not fun to be around, but hopefully by letting them feel heard and valued - and then gently steering the conversation to other topics - you can help them and set the precedent for better future interactions. 

Release your need for validation, and your urge to show off. Not that you can't share wins - after all, true conversation should be about reciprocity - but try focusing on the other person and less on yourself.

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  • Focus on your commonalities

Maybe you both love tacos. Maybe you both think Tom Hardy is the dreamiest man on the planet (because he is). Maybe you share political views or an aversion to screamo emo music. If it's your mother in law, you obviously both love her son/your husband. If it's your boss, you both want the company to succeed. Whatever is, try to find and cultivate that common ground. If you're totally drawing a blank, chances are you're both humans who just want to be happy - so focus on that until you discover something else.

  • Allow vulnerability.
We may impress people through our strengths, but we connect with people through our weaknesses.
— Craig Groeschel

 

 

How relieving is it when you realize the person you thought was superhuman is actually, in fact, a mere mortal? Who struggles to find time/energy to clean/work out/fold laundry? Who feels just as insecure as you about their momming skillz or math know how? Nurture vulnerability, in you and them. Give them permission to let down their guard and be vulnerable by taking the lead and being vulnerable yourself. 

Often they put on a front because they feel intimidated by Y O U. By being the first to drop the cape and superhero mask, you can take the first step toward truly connecting. People typically open up if they know you care. Give them a safe space to do so.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
— John C. Maxwell
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  • Remain true to you.

Obviously do right by them, but also by you. Sometimes this entails drawing a line in the sand and speaking your truth. Gently but firmly standing up for yourself. Repelling toxicity and promoting good vibes. 

  • Practice self awareness.
People can only meet you as deeply as the’ve met themselves.

Just like you'd really like your bro's friend to get a friggin' clue how obnoxious it is to hear him tell inappropriate jokes loudly for all to hear - try to dig deep and reflect ways you could be contributing to the chasm. Is there any way your words/actions could be misperceived? This can be a slippery slope, so be careful not to go down the rabbit hole into full-fledged self consciousness. Just simply try to be aware. Maybe even ask a trusted loved one for insight.

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  • Level with them.

If you're still not where you want to be with the other person - try leveling with them and directly addressing the issue. Explain you feel distance, ask if the feeling is mutual, and express your desire to resolve this. Listen to what they have to say and do your best to remain open and willing to compromise. 

 

If you have your own tips, or examples of finally connecting with someone after deliberate effort, please share in the comments below!

One thing's for sure, I love you all.

xx,

-w-

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