The Power of Connection

In my work as a counselor, I have the opportunity to connect with other humans in an authentic, genuine way. In reality, I can always choose to be genuine with others. But, it is easier for me to speak frankly to a client about how their behavior impacts me or about the feelings I have towards them than it is for me to say these things to people dear to me. Megan the friend, Megan the daughter/sister, and Megan the co-worker all struggle to openly share feelings, especially feelings like disappointment, frustration, anger, or resentment. Yet, what I’ve learned from speaking frankly is that sometimes the truth is the only way to bridge the gap between two humans. Talking around an issue, avoiding the truth, or running from painful topics, just leads to more emotional distance.

This week, I had several moments when my ability to speak the truth about my feelings regarding the therapeutic work or rapport created a bridge between me and my clients. In one particular instance, I shared my genuine, positive regard for a client and was amazed and honored to watch that person shed healing tears that had been restrained for a long time. In another instance, as I gently confronted a client’s inaction and “stuckness”, I observed in her a flash of anger and burst of energy that led to a great discussion about the “pros” of remaining inert. In both cases, a bridge was built between myself and the client…evidence of the power of genuine connection.

Do you find it hard to express yourself authentically? Do you fear what others might think if you aren’t happy all the time? Are you scared that people will find out that you are not “enough”? It may be helpful to keep this in mind: you cannot go wrong when connecting with others in an authentic way, in a way that strips away conventions and norms and simply starts with the true feelings of the heart and objective observations. Start with, “I feel…” and share some objective facts. (For example, “I feel concerned about your increase in depressive symptoms. I notice you lean on me a lot. And I feel sad that I don’t have the energy to offer you more support. I wonder how I can support you without doing the work for you.”)

There is immense power in genuine connection. Bridges can be built. Healing and transformation can take place. How can you build connections with others in the coming days?

Peace, joy, and health,

Megan

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3 thoughts on “The Power of Connection

  1. Leslie Neshama says:

    Thank you, Megan, for this wonderful post! Just yesterday, I was in a therapeutic psycho-social setting. We were asked by the group leader – name a strength or something you like about yourself. I spoke up: “I am authentic.” The ways I communicate make me feel alive. But, now you have just helped me to an insight >>
    perhaps when I am binging (and yes, I am still powerfully affected by my B.E.D.) it is just that time when I am unable to express myself authentically. I usually binge in private — I wonder how I can begin to circumvent my binges? I am thinking that authenticity is the way forward. But I am just not sure how. Thank you for helping me achieve this insight, Megan. Blessings. Blessings. p.s. If you should have any ideas, thank you for sharing them. How is inauthenticity a hallmark of binge eating. How can I learn to be authentic JUST AT THOSE MOMENTS when I am feeling an imminent binge? Thanks, dear Megan.

    • getoutofbedonedayatatime says:

      Hi, Leslie!
      Thanks for sharing your insight. Sounds like it’s right-on. Sometimes it’s easier to be authentic to a piece of paper (i.e., through journaling) than it is to the person in question. So, perhaps when you have those strong urges to binge, you could give yourself the gift of even just a five minute pause to sit with pen and paper and try to write it out. Perhaps the urge to binge will subside, but even if it doesn’t and you binge anyway, you can be gentle with yourself knowing you checked in with yourself first. Peace and blessings. –Megan

  2. Leslie Neshama says:

    Hello dear Megan,
    Thank you for the reminder to be gentle with one’s Self (binge or no binge). Most of the time I cannot slow myself down enough to journal. I am not in my sixties, and I am okay – really okay – when I acknowledge to myself that, yes, I am doing the best I can.
    Bless you, Megan, for getting out of B.E.D.

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