Being connected to others is not just a simple link among people and a group, rather it is more of a mutual understanding and feelings of respect commonly shared which aids in enhancing a sense of belonging. Humans as a species are called ‘social beings’, that is, we have survived and evolved through time while keeping up with this feeling of connectedness. But in this 21st century where forming and maintaining connections is just a click away, most of us find it rather hard to actually feel this connectedness with others.
Why do some feel more disconnected from others and are unable to form genuine connections? A possible explanation could be the Attachment theory pioneered by John Bowlby which states that a child’s early interactions with their guardians/parents play a crucial role in influencing their future relations. If the caretaker takes care of the physical and emotional needs of the child, then they have a secure attachment where they show more trust, hopefulness, and confidence in communicating and maintaining different relationships. On the other hand, if they are unable to cater the physical and emotional needs of the child, then the child may develop an insecure attachment which causes them to have difficulty in understanding their and others emotions, and that makes it harder for them to form connections.
So, how can you develop this genuine connectedness? A not-so-easy, but super effective hack could be sharing and being vulnerable in front of others. This involves the following:
1. Identify a few people or groups with whom you would want to build this feeling of genuine connectedness with.
2. Introspect about why you feel like you belong in that group or with that person? Why is it important? And what effect will a good connection with them have on you?
3. Think about how comfortable you are with sharing yourself with others.
4. Make a commitment with yourself to share at the very least, one of your vulnerabilities with them (make sure you ask them if they have the mental space to listen to your vulnerability).
For example, if a person feels that he/she is unable to form this feeling of good connectedness with their team members, then that person can introspect upon their levels of sharing as a group, how comfortable and available they are for each other, and so on. Based on this introspection, he/she can discuss with the group and they can begin to improve their sharing and make progress to build connectedness.
This hack is quite effective as showing your genuine self, your insecurities and opinions/assumptions that may have hindered your connection falters away. Furthermore, this helps to build the necessary trust and respect you need, in order to form a connection with anyone. Remember, listening to others is as important as sharing our feelings, hence, try to work on your listening skills as well.
“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen.”
-Rachel Naomi Remen