I have always found fascinating how different some memories can be, from a person to another. The perception, even some details, can be surprisingly contrasting.
Why such a difference then?
The difference comes from our thoughts and the stories we tell ourselves, in front of the facts. Our brains create this reality for us, based on our education, our culture, what we read, watch, and hear.
These” truths” are created from repetitions, years after years. We put a meaning on facts and believe this is our reality. But we are all unique and, depending who we were raised by, who we were in touch with, we factor unique stories, even with a same context.
- Therefore, it is difficult to come up with an agreement sometimes, or even an alignment on what happened. For that, we must come back to factual elements and be mindful of our beliefs and biases.
- Therefore, it is difficult to connect with others sometimes. We do not live the same reality. And we believe ours blindly.
Hopefully, we can step back on this mechanism and increase our level of consciousness about ourselves and about others-By increasing this awareness, we can then better connect with others and create stronger qualitative links.
4 ways to create a stronger connection with others.
1. Setup awareness.
The first fundamental way to connect better is to make ourselves conscious about our own belief system. This step is important to be able to make a difference between our thoughts and:
- the facts,
- others’ reality.
You can do this by inspecting your thoughts after the facts:
- What were my thoughts when I was disagreeing?
- What were my beliefs?
- Where does they come from?
- How could that be different for someone else?
You can also find out about your thoughts by journaling or doing brain dumps on paper, or by hiring a coach. The idea is to have a mirror of your thoughts, to see what they are.
It is also important to identify the difference between these thoughts and the facts that could be proven in a court of law. Facts can be numbered or described without adjectives. Talks are real quotes, not rephrasing.
This will also help to clarify what belongs to your very own stories and what is just here.
2. Remove judgment towards others.
You can do this by being curious. What is this person thought process?
Ask open questions: What, How, when (avoid why as it puts people on the spot). Be mindful of your own thoughts but don’t discard the other ones. Don ‘t criticize, just acknowledge this person has another opinion, another story and it is ok.
3. Develop your empathy.
Developing empathy means you can identify others’ feelings and know how this feeling flows in your body – like you really feel it too. This requires you can identify your own feelings: labelling them is a good start.
Improving your emotional knowledge is mandatory as you must identify feelings for yourself – in your body – so you can do this with someone else and better understand what he or she is going through.
4. Put the focus on common grounds
Rather than being stuck on differences, challenge yourself on finding common grounds. It can be interesting to dig on the real needs of the person you are interacting with, and yours.
You might have the same but wanted to use different strategies to meet it. If this is the case, focus on this common need or thing and discuss about how to best answer it “together”. Maybe new ideas can be uncovered, that will suit you both. Maybe a compromise can be found. Maybe one will make a decision. But at least, you would have laid out everything and take that into consideration.
With these tactics, you should be able to improve your connection with others, as you practice. It is not because your realities are different that we can’ t work together in a healthy and collaborative way.