Brene Brown once said, “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.” I couldn’t agree with her more.
The greatest gift you can give is yourself. Unfortunately, this is tough for many people. We live in a world where people are taught to smile and say, “I’m all right,” even if they’re not. While this may seem innocuous, it chips away at our ability to develop connections.
With that in mind, I want to talk about genuine connections: what they are, how you make them and how to maintain them.
The Masks of Insecurity, Shame and Self-Doubt
If you were to answer the question, “What breaks down genuineness?” you may answer “insincerity.” Unfortunately, that’s not quite it. In fact, the main obstacles to people being genuine are often much more insidious.
Thanks to social pressures and old hurts, some people bury their authenticity almost entirely. In fact, many people hardly know where to look for their authentic selves anymore.
Telling the Truth: The Salve That Heals All Wounds
Being yourself requires courage. It requires you to be transparent.
To reverse the rituals we’ve learned , we need to accept that some things aren’t as they seem and start living the truth, instead.
As long as we allow ourselves to be riddled with fear, doubt, shame and insecurity, we’ll never learn to live side by side with the truth. We will never be able to create genuine relationships. We will never be able to love and be loved for who we are.
While telling the truth about yourself and your feelings can be difficult, it’s the only way to set yourself free from the chains that bind you. Although it may seem like people are waiting to judge you, they’re waiting for you to show up and contribute to their life by offering advice, encouragement, connection and service.
With this in mind, accept the uncertainty that comes with being authentic. Don’t calculate the risks. Don’t over-sweeten it with artificial ingredients. Just be yourself.
Real, life-changing contribution and connection can only come from that which is original, not artificial. You’re capable of genuine connections just the way you are. Now go live it.
Ready for a challenge? Try these steps:
- Genuinely ask how someone’s doing and patiently wait for the response.
- LISTEN 🙂
- Pay at least one genuine compliment a day in an effort to connect.
Please share with us how you’ve worked to build genuine relationships in the comments! You never know who needs to hear your story.