Emotional Connection: How to Build it and How to Keep It
In a small voice that was strange coming from the big man sitting across from us…
Jack told us he wanted to feel an emotional connection with his wife and children that he didn’t feel.
He explained that his wife always seemed so busy rushing around doing things for the kids or for her parents that they barely had time to speak to one another.
His two teenage kids were constantly on their electronic devices and when he would ask them questions, they mumbled responses while still looking down at their screens.
Although his home seemed to be filled with activity and people…
He felt alone and didn’t feel an emotional connection with those he loved.
As we continued to talk, Jack began to see his situation in a new light.
Here are a few things he realized that might help you if you want to feel a deeper emotional connection with the ones you love…
1. Take a look at how you might be emotionally holding back
We’ve seen it in our own lives and in the lives of so many others…
What we are longing for others to give us, we are closing it off in ourselves and not giving it to others.
In Susie’s mind, her ex husband wasn’t emotionally aware and it was difficult to have an emotional connection with him.
When she got with Otto, it hit her like a ton of bricks that she hid a lot of what she felt.
She had a tendency to immediately “jump” over feeling into the doing.
Much to her surprise, years later, she realized that she wasn’t emotionally aware!
When we invited Jack to allow himself to get quiet, he saw how he had bypassed his emotions because it just seemed too painful to feel and to deal with others’ feelings.
2. Allow all feelings to be okay in yourself and in others
It’s just human nature to want to stay in “good” feelings all the time but the truth is that’s not the way we’re wired.
Our feelings come from the thoughts we believe to be true and we aren’t in control of what thoughts come into our minds.
We don’t have to believe all our thoughts but often we believe those fearful ones that can take us down a long, lonely path.
Jack saw that because he grew up in a home where his family didn’t express what he considered “negative” feelings like anger, fear or sadness…
He was very uncomfortable with those feelings in himself and in others.
He saw that he wanted only “happy” feelings in his life and he hadn’t allowed anything else to surface.
It was a light bulb moment for Jack when he saw how his wife and children had hidden their not-so-happy feelings from him because they knew he didn’t want to hear or experience them.
While sitting across from us, as he began to allow the fear and sadness that was inside him to surface…
He realized that he could feel those emotions and still be okay.
3. Be an invitation to a deeper connection
Along with emotional honesty, the doorway to a deeper connection is presence.
When we’re truly present with ourselves and with others, they feel it.
They feel the sincerity and the invitation to connect more deeply.
As Jack began becoming more accepting of all this feelings, he began being more present with his wife.
She saw the difference in him and she began to be more open with him, telling him her fears about her aging parents.
They began to feel an emotional connection that they hadn’t felt in many years.
While Jack feels his connection with his teenagers could be better…
They did agree to an afternoon hiking with him without their electronic devices and he thought that was a win.
Building and keeping an emotional connection with those you love starts inside you.