According to Dr Brené Brown, human connection is defined as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued.
My job is about so much more than filling bin bags and perusing the IKEA catalogue. As much as I love that stuff, my true focus lies in making a real connection with my clients. Ultimately that is what adds value to their lives and by making a connection to them, I encourage them to make a connection to themselves.
Connection is integral to the A Tidy mind ethos because:
- Discarding physical possessions which do not add value, promotes connection to the truly valuable ones.
- Letting go of practices and activities which are meaningless or draining frees up time to spend on important goals.
- Editing out negative thinking, increasing self-care and being authentic promotes connection to yourself.
- Reducing damaging health habits and making positive choices about diet and exercise promotes connection to your body.
- Decluttering negative people from your life promotes connection to those who are important and deserving of the best version of you.
Connection is a fundamental human need. People use unnecessary possessions and practices to distract and define themselves and this clutter can prevent connection.
A big part of my job is asking people to be honest about what their experience of life is like at present. And working out the steps to improve or enhance that. Creating high-quality experiences (especially around life’s little things) often leads to connection – either to yourself or other people. To use the words of the inspiring experientialist, James Wallman author of Stuffocation “Experiences lead to stories. Stories lead to connection. Connection leads to relationships. Relationships lead to happiness”
My job involves being invited into someone’s personal space. That is a huge deal. At first, I’m little more than a stranger – going through their personal possessions with them. Seeing the evidence of those delayed decisions and avoided questions. You can’t limit the conversation to the weather in those situations. I’m seeing them in a vulnerable state and I have a responsibility to be careful with what I do with that…
I’m very aware of how easy it would be to alienate someone. For example, if I was to have my own agenda, or not to listen properly, or be unwilling to veer from a standardised approach.
Some people make it easy for me by opening up quickly. They tell me about their realities and pasts and hopes and fears and bravely show their vulnerability. Others are tougher nuts to crack.
So, my goal is to engage. To be empathetic (not sympathetic). To not only listen but also hear. To not only show empathy but also feel empathy. To not only notice when to probe, but also notice when to stop probing. To fully sit in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. Even if that’s uncomfortable. Especially if it’s uncomfortable. The truth is, rarely does a response make things better but what does make people feel better is fostering a connection.
The best tip I can give for fostering human connection is imagining that everyone is wearing a badge saying “make me feel important”
That’s it! There don’t need to be any grand gestures, just curiosity, sensitivity and empathy. The results are mutually rewarding.
Thanks so much for reading.
A Tidy Mind.