A few of you may know that I'm launching a series called Choosing the Better Option. This series is focused on helping us identify the pressures of life that prevent us from showing up in our relationships, so that we can move beyond them and in the process create the safe and healthy spaces that we need to flourish. One way to do this is by being transparent and choosing to communicate effectively. For some of us this means that we simply need to... Communicate (many people are skilled in the art of ghosting, however, it's time to learn new tricks). For others it may mean saying less about ourselves and asking more about others or vice versa. For everyone, it means understanding ourselves as well as the ways that we may be communicating to others that we are open (or not open) to connecting.
Do you find that you're lacking the space in your life (i.e. emotional, psychological, or spiritual capacity) needed to transparently and effectively connect with others?
Does it seem like you are consistently facing rejection or that other people may be going out of their way to avoid you (and in some cases may even be protecting themselves from you)?
Do you consistently feel the urge to vent or in some cases speak badly about pretty much any human that you come in contact with?
Do you find that the interactions you have with people in your personal or professional circles often ruin your day or week?
A few things I want you to reflect on as you prepare for this series is the quality of your closest relationships (both past and present), and your different experiences working in groups/teams or serving in leadership roles. Some experiences may be good. Some may be bad. I'm hoping that if your experiences haven't all been good, then they at least fall somewhere in the middle.
Now ask yourself if it is possible that those you've had to work alongside were coming from a different place in life than you. To keep it simple, if you think about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs it is possible that the people you come in contact with are on a different level of the pyramid than you. I will discuss later on in the series how someone may also be operating at a level that doesn't reflect where they truly are in life and the role that context and environment plays in this situation.
Some people may be focused on meeting basic needs, others may be focused on reaching their full potential, and others may even be looking for community and close relationships.
But context matters when it comes to connecting.
As you're working alongside others in a team, you may not know which level anyone is operating from or why. This is what makes communication and transparency important. I'm not asking everyone to share their whole story/life journey, but understand that as you are coming into contact with people you may be on one level of the hierarchy and someone else may be on a different level. Consider that this may be enough for conflict to arise and difficulties to persist as you attempt to connect with those around you.
This also applies to our personal relationships. Someone you call friend may not be at the same place in life as you at every stage of your relationship. Someone you wish to connect with deeper in order to move towards friendship (or something more) may also be at a different place than you. Holding onto and pursuing these relationships might mean that you have to grow in your ability to empathize with and accommodate others if connection is what you seek. In short-term situations accommodation may be all that's needed. However, in situations where there will likely always be a difference in levels/places in life, both empathy and accommodation are essential for the relationship to continue. The same applies to those who wish to be friends with you or connect with you on a deeper level- They may need to learn how to better empathize with and accommodate where you are in life. Thankfully, one of the goals of this series is that you will be able to "help them help you" in this process, using transparency and effective communication.
The series is broken into 3 parts. Please click on the title of each session in order to access the session.
Part 1 | Showing up in personal relationships/close friendships
It is important to understand what it means to be a friend and to know who your actual friends are. In other words, everyone should not automatically be added to your close friend group.
Part 2 | Showing up on teams
The assumption here is that people are gathered around a specific purpose or task: It is usually the case that team members did not choose to work with one other but were selected by some other process.
Part 3 | Showing up in leadership roles
A great deal is expected from leaders, however, leaders are not superhuman and also need to value transparency and effective communication.
*Please note that I will also be creating a special session for public health professionals.