It’s February, the month of Valentine’s Day, the perfect time to talk about the really juicy topic of…CONNECTION. Whether it’s a friendship, a familiar relationship, or a romantic relationship, what we want most is to feel like we belong, to feel understood, and to feel safe/loved.
This months article is going to give you my 3 main tips on developing solid connections.
First tip: Connect through SHARED ACTIVITIES. There are a ton of activities to get involved with in school (athletics, academic clubs, band, chorus, honor societies, leisure clubs). If there is an activity you love doing , do it. If there is an activity you want to try, try it…and if you like it, keep doing it. When you share activities and interests with others, your conversations are easier, time spent together is more fun, and you feel closer.
Your writing exercise for SHARED ACTIVITIES: Make a list of all of the activities you enjoy doing and all of the activities you would like to try. Within the week, pick one and do it. Say hi to another activity goer and make a connection.
The second and third tips align closely with Dr. Brene Brown’s definition of connection: “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued, and when they can give and receive without judgment”.
Second tip: Be AUTHENTIC. Know who you are and what you want. Listen to your gut and set healthy boundaries. The right people will like you for you. No need to impress. You will attract the people who are right for you (and good for you) when you are authentic.
Your writing exercise for AUTHENTICITY: On a piece of paper, make three columns. In the first column, describe the personality traits you like in a friend/partner. In the second column, describe what you need from a friend/partner. In the third column, write what you can best give to a friend/partner. Knowing what you like, what you need, and what you can give…and seeking out people who have those qualities…helps you form happier, healthier connections.
Final tip: Be VULNERABLE. Say what you mean. Be honest about how you feel. Have meaningful conversations. Share your heart, hopes, and struggles. We develop deeper connections with others by showing them our humanity and imperfection. The ones who can listen to us and hold our secrets safe are worth finding and keeping.
Your writing exercise on VULNERABILITY: Write about a time when you shared a struggle or secret about yourself with someone and you left the conversation feeling listened to and understood. What else did you feel after? Do you want more of these people in your life? Who do you feel like you can be vulnerable with right now? Within the next week, schedule a date with one of them. Make time for people you can be vulnerable with.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s topic of connection. Always remember, you are fun, people love you for being you, and when you’re vulnerable-you’re beautiful.
About the Author: Lieutenant Colonel Theresa BODNAR, Monthly Mentor, is a full time Soldier in the Army, a certified Army Master Resilience Trainer (MRT), a Positive Psychology Practitioner, Eating Psychology Educator, Author of Get UPP!: Understanding Positive Psychology, and an aspiring Motivational Speaker. She is excited to get to know you and share all sorts of positive psychology tools, inspirational blogs, and poetry with you. Read More…