How to make a leap of faith into a life full of adventures, new exciting things, happiness and fun? Where do we begin this journey in order to liberate ourselves from our own loving shells? Why is it so hard to step out of the shadow of shyness and insecurities and… just live? How can we step out and reach out for people in order to establish a true connection with them? I guess for those people like myself who are not the best friends with motivation this does sounds familiar. We all came here to learn our lessons. How can we get life’s full greatness by bubblewraping ourselves from new experiences and the rest of the world?
It was a rather cold Monday evening. The weather was damp and grey. Classic London, what else can I add? I was at home all day writing a blog post, getting new ideas and doing more writing. Peace and quiet. I felt warm and cosy being at home. It’s always this way. Until I received a phone call. So I rolled my eyes thinking: Oh, not again! Who dares to disturb my peaceful, nearly “meditative” state? So my friend called and asked if I was interested in attending geeky yet exciting event at the Facebook’s UK headquarters. Hmm?! – I thought to myself and literally imagined the scales in my head: on the left I was staying at home, on the right – I was geting a new and unfamiliar experience. That’s when my shell kicked in and said: What? GOING OUT? Did you see the WEATHER outside? Stay here at home it’s warm and familiar, no challenges and harshness of the weather, no making an effort to meet new people and establish new connections… Stay here. It’s safe. Stay here safe from EVERYTHING.
– Safe from life and action?! Are you kidding me?! – I though back and kicked myself out of the door. And I spent a great evening in a company of new and exciting people whom I would otherwise miss if I caved in and decided to stay at home in a cozy and familiar environment. How did I do that?
What The Shell Does?
Does it do any good? Or is it entirely bad news for us? What issues are we facing here?
The issue with rejection = the issue with connection
I guess the away from motivation has its roots in the fear of rejection. We are running away from pain. Something, that is entirely wrong, tells us that all NEW cannot be good as it’s not familiar and can bring us pain and rejection. But how can we be certain that something NEW will bring pain if we never tried that? We all fear rejection whether you admit it or not. It’s all coming from childhood. Especially when we’re running again and again in the same cycle of the memories re-living the most painful moments we faced in the familiar past. So the real issue lays here. We’re having problems establishing connection by fearing rejection. That is why our shell kicks in every time you have your doubts about new people desperately wanting to come into your life and you have to decide their faith: whether let them in and trust them or shut the front door right before their unfamiliar faces. The shell works like a guard preventing you from reaching and getting to know new people.
Awkward Is OK
Who can raise their hand and honestly tell me that every time you come to a room full of new faces and don’t feel AWKWARD at all? Or that you instantly feel comfortable being among unfamiliar people… Let me share a secret: WE ALL FEEL AWKWARD and on the basis of this COMMON GROUND we all understand – it’s absolutely OK to feel awkward. We all do. We all will. What good comes out of this – it’s temporarily until we establish connection. And trust me, the more awkward situations you experience, the less awkward it becomes. Coming out of your shell and making new connections requires practice just like everything else. The more you do it, the better you become at it.
How to connect with people
We all communicate. We all know and have technologies how to do that. We talk-talk-talk… We talk and communicate more than we truly establish and maintain connection. So what is a true connection?
Identify the common ground and relate to people
I just recalled a great saying that goes something like this: “Don’t trash the weather! 9 out of 10 times it’s a common topic to start a brand new conversation.” So the main thing here is to find common dots which you can then connect with a tiny bridge between you and new people in your life. Look for little hints of people’s interests and search for that spark in their eyes when they talk about something they are really passionate about.
It’s not about ME. It’s about others
A couple of embarrassing years back I had real complications coming out of my shell and establishing connection with new people. Every person is a NEW STORY to be told and heard. So I had a bad habit of shouting out loud my story disregarding everyone else’s… Somehow I thought that my story was worth sharing, that MY STORY was worth mentioning, THAT MY STORY was the most important story in the world… Well… Now I look back and see that I was full of it. Sometimes I felt and saw my interaction with people as if I was standing way up high on the mountain gazing down at people and lazily waving at them to climb up MY WAY. I wanted them to REACH ME not the other way round. I didn’t understand that I had to go where they were, that it was me, who had to REACH PEOPLE in order to make a connection and go up together to the top of the mountain to find connection and UNDERSTANDING.
True Presence = True Connection
Now you have found a common ground with new people you are interested in. The point is that any connection needs energy and true presence in order to stay afloat and be of high quality. We have to learn to listen. We have to learn to sit back and listen. Feel our presence and the presence of a new person. Truly feel the connection. That is why if you have a distasteful habit of browsing the internet and gazing down at the screen of your smartphone while talking to people, you are NOT CONNECTED and you probably need to change that if you really care about establishing a true connection. Put the phone away and really look into that person’s eyes. Feel what they are feeling, see what they are seeing, hear what they are hearing. Look at their reactions to certain things, learn their habits, remember their stories. This is what a true connection is. When a person tells you something, you are truly interested and when they ask you something, you remember why they ask.
Knowing this helps you every day to come out of a cozy shell in order to make new connections, experience new things and learn. Be present, be interested. Become interesting to others. Stay connected.