By Emily McCluhan
Let’s face it — the last several months have made our worlds much more virtual. But connecting with ourselves and others is more important than ever for our psychological and physical wellbeing. Anne Adametz, an acupuncturist, mentor and yoga therapist, shares three tips for breaking down barriers and creating healthy bonds.
Know Who You Are
The things we don’t love about ourselves are often what keep us from connecting with others, and ourselves. Adametz suggests practicing connection by observing compassion for the things we don’t love. Make a list of what you don’t love about yourself on a piece of paper, and meet it with, “it’s not good or bad, it just is.” When we can accept our faults, as much as our positive qualities, mistakes become fodder for wisdom and growth, she says.
She adds that if you are trying to build a healthy connection with someone in your life, start by removing labels such as mom, dad, sister, coworker. Start to see each other as people and hold that space of compassion to let the other person be accepted as they are — full of unlimited potential.
Know What You Can Control (Hint: It’s Yourself and Nothing More)
Start by creating boundaries for yourself. Adametz notes that this doesn’t mean boundaries to keep people out — it means boundaries to protect what is sacred to you, which may mean accepting when a situation or relationship is not healthy.
And just as we shouldn’t try to fix the things we don’t like about ourselves, accept that it’s not our job to fix others either, whether it’s something that offends you, or something that person is struggling with. Seek first to connect, and be compassionate and supportive. You can assist and care, but by trying to fix the problem, you steal that person’s chance to grow and learn for themselves.
By holding on to the things you can’t control, you create a resistance to what is happening. Adametz explains that barriers to connecting with someone are often based on positive or negative judgments. These polarizing thoughts push us apart.
“Realize that you have a third option in the middle. I call that space, ‘It is.’ This makes it easier to see people for who they are … humans like you that just want to be loved,” Adametz says.
She also suggests using virtual outlets such as blogs, YouTube or social media to share your own story and learn about others.
“By telling our story or even just asking questions of others, we show vulnerability,” she says. “This levels the playing field and starts to remove those polarizing positives and negatives.”
By knowing more about each other, we pull ourselves to the middle and begin to focus on what connects us, instead of what divides us.