December 22 - The Real Connection

This time of year you might very well find yourself at a holiday party or two or three? How do you connect without a drink in your hand or a cigarette between your fingers or an extra tidbit in your mouth? What do you do at the party? How do you dance? What do you talk about?

This week I was speaking to a man who truly believed that he would not be able to connect intimately with his wife without the help of alcohol. He didn’t think it would be romantic enough or sensual enough.

I found myself struggling for words. How do you describe the real thing to people who have only experienced an artificial connection? How do you let them know that our addictive behaviors disconnect us from our loved ones? How do we let them know that the rewards of learning something new far surpass any struggles they might encounter in the beginning of the process?

Was it comfortable when we learned to ride a bicycle for the first time…or when we first drove solo in our car at sixteen? What would we say to our children if they were in these situations?

I would hope that we would encourage them to learn something new…to let them know that it is normal to stumble, and even perhaps, to fall. We would explain that it is only by continuing to try that they will have practiced enough times to become quite comfortable in their new distinction.

Why don’t we do that with ourselves? What if we allowed ourselves to be beginners at truly connecting with others? I had a client once who absolutely loved going to parties. I remember asking her with absolute wonder and curiosity what it was she loved about this activity. It mystified me. I had always dreaded any kind of party as I felt miserably incompetent when it came to “small talk,” especially without a numbing agent in my system! I’ll never forget her looking at me and saying, “I just pretend to be you, Nan, when you are working. I ask them about themselves, and I just love hearing their stories. I love letting them know they matter!”

Well, my whole attitude changed that day about parties. The next one that I attended, I looked for someone who looked like she was very uncomfortable, and I walked up to her with genuine curiosity in my heart. I asked her what was happening in her life. I was focused on her rather than how I would look or feel. I learned that she was fresh out of a job and thinking about a new career. I knew someone in that particular field at the party, and I heard myself shouting across the room for her to join us. I had truly forgotten about myself in wanting to help my friend. My shyness and fear of inadequacy had disappeared and were instead replaced by caring about another more than I cared about how I appeared. I not only had inquired genuinely about how she was, but I even asked another to help her as well. I made a true connection with others at that party…by truly being connected to myself.

This is the shift that I now implement immediately in order to disconnect from my shyness and my fear about how I will look. The instant I begin to detect that old nervousness around possible judgment, instead of trying to eat or drink it away, I shift immediately into trying to help others realize just how very much they matter. It is truly a profound personal miracle right in the midst of this glorious season that celebrates amazing miracles of all kinds!

Would you like to make a true connection today? What step could you take right now to begin to make that happen? Where can you make a difference in someone else’s life? Can you help to alleviate the pain in another that you used to try to numb inside of yourself? Are you ready to celebrate this season of miracles whether you are at home or at a holiday party?

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