We're Hardwired for it.
From the moment we're born our brains seek positive forms of communication. We send signals that are hopefully received, made sense of, and responded to in a timely and fulfilling manner. This holds true across all cultures and is the heart of healthy parent-child relationships.
Our brains send and receive signals constantly, they evaluate the safety or danger of our environments. From the time we're babies our brains scans for signals of safety from those around us; looking for reassurance that we're seen, understood, and cared for. Our goal is to connect; through communication we learn whether it's safe to be vulnerable, if we can depend on the other for support, whether we can trust them. They, in turn, are doing the same.
So if we're hardwired for connection, why do we so often say, do and think things that alienate us? During the course of a typical day, how often do we judge others or make comparisons? When we're engaging with a colleague or watching someone walk down the street, how often do we make an evaluation of that person? Does evaluation provide any opportunity for connection? What's underneath the evaluation anyway?
A comparison of how they stack up to us is what's underneath. It's impossible to connect when we're comparing.
What about the complexity of disagreements? Whether it's your child, colleague, or partner, do you communicate for connection or to win and be right? How does blame, criticism and resentment nourish connection?
Our self sabotage and disconnect is the false belief that we need to come out on top, to win, to be right. We end up losing when we stand our ground rather than standing beside the other. If we slow down enough to notice when we're trying to get the upper hand, which is just an illusion anyway, we can make a decision to see the other as doing the very thing we are; struggling to be the winner.
When communicating with someone who misses your signals to connect and continues to fight for the win, you can still choose to stand beside them. If you're confident and comfortable in your resolve, there's no need to engage in a struggle; you've already won if you haven't judged, blamed, or compared but rather found empathy in our humanness. You've also learned valuable information about the safety of connecting with this person. You can choose who to connect with using compassion rather than comparison.
Would you be willing to spend one day noticing when comparisons are thwarting your need for connection?
Learner and sharer of all things healthy, active, esteem building, growth promoting, witty and Hawaiian