A few years ago, a client of mine, well call her Elise, moved to San Francisco and started taking a dance class in order to meet new people. But after several weeks she told me that she wasnt having luck connecting with any of the people in the class.
Although Elise was “putting herself out there,” she wasn’t present for those key moments when connection might happen—before and after class. She would get stuck in her head, feeling anxious, and not wanting to feel uncomfortable during those unstructured moments.
Here are four things you can do to cultivate awareness and trust in yourself, which ultimately will help you trust and connect with others:
1.Try this positive guided meditation:
Notice your breath. Why do you need to notice your breath? Because by consciously paying attention to our breathing, to our physical bodies, we can become aware what’s happening around us, we can observe how we’re feeling and what we’re thinking.
Welcome discomfort. From this place of focused attention on the breath, notice what you are feeling. If you’re anxious, grumpy, or unsettled, acknowledge that’s how you’re feeling. Be kind to yourself about it. And as you accept yourself and your feelings as they are, you naturally relax so that you’re not absorbed by those feelings.
Breathe into your belly. Take a deep breath. Try imagining meeting new people whom you really get along with. Picture yourself laughing with a group of people. Recognize that connection wants to happen. Say this: “Connection wants to happen if I let it.” Feel your feet on the floor. Send a kind thought out into the world and then receive that kind thought back.
2. Make room for your nervousness:
Ask yourself this question: how do you feel about trust? Sit with that question for a while and pay attention to how your body responds.
We’re all naturally curious. Watch any child play and you’ll see that’s true. You can embody curiosity by approaching the people you meet with authentic awareness. Relax your body, roll back your shoulders, take a risk, and ask a question. Engage your sense of wonder and you may be surprised that your anxiety about meeting people has taken a back seat to your curiosity about who you’re talking to.
4.Pay mindful attention:
If I could give you only one piece advice on how to create connections, it would be to pay attention to the people who are making themselves available to you
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