Why Connection First?
“People who feel more connected to others have lower levels of anxiety and depression, higher self esteem, greater empathy for others.....” Stanford Medicine, Aug. 29, 2021
When naming my business, I considered what my work, regardless of the people I am working with really is, and it came down to; helping people connect. Regardless of whether I am working with parents, couples, schools or companies; it all comes down to connection. The most successful homes, classrooms, and companies have strong connections.
Connection first comes from the practice in Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson of Connect before Correct. This is a parenting strategy, and it really is the truth of all relationships. Before a correction can be effective, there must be connection. This is true for parents with their children, for spouses, for managers with their teams and for teachers with their students. You quite literally must have connection first for relationships to have healthy longevity.
In our personal relationships, we most often lose connection with ourselves before we even notice the misses in our relationships with our children, spouse, colleagues. We get so twisted up in the doing of the tasks that we forget there are people along the way, including ourselves. Women share with me consistently that they “can’t remember the last time they considered what they needed, wanted or would do if asked.” If you do not know what you want or need, how in the world can anyone else and how do you even know what to ask for? So this is the first step.
See some tips below.
When working with couples; 100% of the time I hear; “I didn’t know you thought, felt, needed, wanted that.”...when you are disconnected from the person you are sharing life with; your communication will be the next thing to go. Couples get disconnected, then miscommunicate or stop communicating then will create belief systems around that like “ he doesn't love me”, “I am worthless”, “I am not man enough, a good enough wife, pretty enough, sexy enough...” Resentment sets in and the gap in your connection gets bigger and it is more difficult to reach out to the other person. I encourage couples to do their best once recovered from disconnection to stay connected with Date nights, 10-15 minutes daily to hold each other, make eye contact and share what's at top of mind (I realize that if you have small children, you will need to get creative or committed to do this EVERY night after the kids are asleep), play and get outings JUST the two of you whenever possible. In later blog articles , I will share what couples can do if already disconnected and experiencing conflict.
With parents, I often hear “I am too busy, I just need them to do what I ask without a big tantrum or attitude.” BINGO, that is precisely one reason you are getting those reactions. Your children NEED your attention and will get it, even if it is negative. Put your phone down, turn off the TV, include the kids in dinner making, eat together if you can, hang out outside, play a game, I know what you are thinking, “when would I have time, I can barely function once I am home from work,” I am not suggesting you do all these things, I am suggesting, even pleading that you do one or a couple completely uninterrupted.
When children of deceased parents were asked what they missed most; ALL OF THEM; shared the simple moments like; eating cheerios at the quiet table with mom before anyone else got up, Throwing the ball outside, cuddles at bedtime, silly faces dad made when I was sad, mom canceling her plans, just to sit with me when I was hurt by a friend, and building legos were a few of the responses. Your time with kids does not need to affect your bank account.
In business; you have either been in business or interacted with one & you know that those companies that care about their people and make every effort to be sure their people know and feel that, do well. Those are the companies that have solid connections with their crew. I won't get into the details of that this time, but in business , connection is vital.
So whether it is personal, professional or, and especially if it is the relationship with yourself; you need connection! Connection first means before and more than anything else, connect with needs, wants, fears in yourself and with your people. As my counselor taught me 20 years ago; one basic human need, universally, is to be understood; seek to understand yourself and others. We all want to be heard, seen, valued, appreciated; these are the pathways to connection my friends!
That is why Connection First !
Today, make it a priority to connect to yourself and those you love most!