Authentic Connection, Did I Get There or Am I Fooling Myself

Dear Friends,

Lately I have been puzzled at my ability to fool myself. How do I know when I am connecting with another authentically and when I am fooling myself?

Recently my life partner and I were dealing with something we have dealt with over the 30 years of our marriage: ways we respond to each other that stimulate pain for the other. I was longing for empathy about my pain, and his response illustrated exactly why I was in pain.  I said, “TOUCHÉ!!! Can’t you see you are making my point for me? How can you not see this?” There I was, deep in my analysis of him also proving his point, that I was not hearing him. For at least 5 minutes, I had not been in touch with my disappointment and frustration and yet thought I really was.
Suddenly, my awareness kicked in! I needed support, something he couldn’t give me in that moment. I felt my sadness and longing, and I began releasing him from my demand.

Amazingly, within a very short time, he expressed how much he wanted to support me. He wanted acceptance, wanted me to know his intention was there to support even if the words sometimes stimulated pain in me. Both of our faces were relaxed, our posture comfortable, our breathing softer. That is when I knew we had connected at the heart, deeper than the words themselves.
There are two signs that tell me when I am not connecting at the heart.  One is how quickly I move through this process. The bigger the problem, I have found, the more slowly I need to move through it in order to see if my words match my inner truth, getting to my pain and turmoil without blaming another. 
The second sign is how my body feels. When I connect with myself authentically, my muscles feel relaxed, especially in my face, and my breathing is more regular. 

I am celebrating the beauty of these discoveries and growing awareness. 


About Institute for Empowering Communication

Co-founder of the Institute for Empowering Communication
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