4 steps to more meaningful relationships
7 min read
We all yearn for deep connections. Shallow relationships just don’t cut it anymore. Personally, the best times of my life are spent sitting with friends connecting on a real level, sharing our struggles, the lessons we’re learning and just generally what we’re experiencing as "spiritual beings having a human experience".
I feel most connected to another person when we’re both able to let our guards down, be vulnerable and let ourselves be seen, flaws and all. On the flipside, I feel most disconnected from another when we’re hiding our true selves, when I feel judged or when I'm judging the other person.
As we seek out genuine connection, what can we do to create and maintain meaningful relationships that aren’t sustained by some surface level interest, but are nourished by the authentic sharing of ourselves with another?
When I was younger, it was all about going wide. The more friends the better. But now as life pulls me in a million different directions and time is so valuable, it's impossible to genuinely connect with a wide circle. I've learned that when it comes to meaningful relationships, fewer is far better.
The key is to narrow the circle and go deep instead.
Relationships are one of the most powerful tools for our growth and healing. If you're ready for more meaningful connections and authentic relationships, try this approach:
Step 1: Take an honest relationship inventory
Which relationships drain you? Which ones nourish you? Choose the relationships that add to your life and commit to putting in the time and effort they require.
Choosing certain relationships means excluding others. This is not to say that you have to cut them out of your life (unless you feel guided to do so), but it’s about prioritizing and being conscious of where you’re spending your time and energy.
Step 2: Prioritize the relationships that matter
The greatest gift we can give others is our time, so it deserves conscious attention.
We get pulled to attend events, parties, meetings and get-togethers out of obligation. The time we spend fulfilling obligations is time we can no longer spend nourishing the relationships that matter, so be aware of when you’re choosing to fulfill obligation vs. nourishing those authentic connections. What you focus on grows.
Step 3: Practice non-judgment
Deep connections require non-judgment. It’s easy to fall into the habit of judging others, whether we voice those judgments or not. And to make matters worse, our harshest judgments are often reserved for those closest to us.
Deciding not to judge another will open that space for heart centered communication. This involves accepting the other person where they’re at and not expecting them to be any other way. Beyond words, they’ll be able to feel that you’re there for them in a compassionate, empathetic way and in doing so, you’ll get the same energy back.
When judgment is taken out of the equation, we feel safe to let down the defenses that otherwise bar us from genuine connection. Relationships are reflective and what you give comes back to you tenfold.
If you feel stuck on this step, Gabby Bernstein just released a book on this topic. Check it out: https://www.amazon.com/Judgment-Detox-Release-Beliefs-Living/dp/1501168967.
Step 4: Be patient.
Good things take time.
We live in a world of instant gratification and sometimes we feel that it should be that way with our relationships too. We swipe right from relationship to relationship, unwilling to wait. But there are no hacks. If we truly want authenticity and genuine connection, we need to put in the time and effort needed for the relationship to flourish.
It takes much longer to go deep than to skim the waters, but the rewards are worth it.