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Get Connected

 

With the knowledge of my return to Eswatini in a few months, I didn’t think saying goodbye to friends and acquaintances would be so hard. Eswatini is my new my home, although, most days I feel like I’m going through the motions and not making a large impact on the lives of others as I would have hoped too. However, I know that this is the place that God has called me.

Before leaving Eswatini, I spent time with a small group of young ladies. During our hangout session, one of them stated, ” I don’t want you to go, can you just stay here and go to America another time?” My heart ached as she asked me that question. Unfortunately, my departure was inevitable. I couldn’t just call up the airline and cancel my $700 flight even though the look in her eye made me want to do just that. We’ve only known each other for a few months, but the connection that we’ve made affects not only her heart but also, the one that beats inside my chest.

Connected

There’s something about two people who are open and honest with one another, even when they are apart they are still connected. I’ve lived overseas four of the past five years. Typically it takes me about two years to fully reconnect with people. I’m unable to buy plane tickets all across America to see everyone, but I will try my best to see as many people as I can during seasons in the States.

 

Why do I do this?

I genuinely care for my friends, which is why I prioritize spending time with them while I’m in the United States. Besides, I deeply care for those that the Father cares for. God calls us to live a life of fellowship with others, one that is filled with a deep bond, vulnerability, empathy, acceptance, and honesty. These attributes combined to complete the recipe for a long-lasting loving relationship.

Dr. John Townsend in his book Loving People: How to love and be Loved he states the following:

” The best working definition of connection is a heart-to-heart attachment that goes beyond knowing about someone to actually knowing that person… Connection is often the first part of love — that is, connection often begins the process of love in time and sequence. People bond, and if things go well, they then move into a deeper and more truly loving relationship, one in which they are seeking and doing what is best for each other. ” LOVING PEOPLE: HOW TO LOVE AND BE LOVED PG. 48-49

The absence of connection weakens the capability to fully love individuals. One of my deepest desires is to connect and in some cases, further connection. Allowing oneself to truly know another individual is quite difficult. Like so many others, I too fail at interrelating with others, but I do believe that God gifted me with the ability to bond with people. Here are ten ways that will help every individual relate with others or connect on a deeper level.

10 things that help me to connect with others.

  1. Be Open: Everyone doesn’t have the same viewpoint, opinions, or experiences, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from an individual who is hardwired differently.
  2. Walk in Authenticity: Social media provides us with a platform to show the world only what we want to choose for them to see, which is usually all the glitz and glamour of our lives. Allowing others to see who we really are helps interrelation. Be real and genuine.
  3. Steward Attentiveness: Humans value being on the receiving end of another individual’s undivided attention, especially with someone they are just beginning to connect with. Close the phone, silence it, social media will be there when you are done. Stay attentive when connecting.
  4. Learn to Empathize: We all have feelings and you are allowed to immerse yourself into the life of another; grasping and understanding what they are truly going through. Don’t just sympathize with them; allow yourself to feel what they feel.
  5. Celebrate: If you know me you know that celebration is one of my love languages; I don’t mind if Gary Chapman doesn’t agree. When connecting with someone make sure to celebrate with them; whether it’s overcoming a particular situation in their life or a new job the art of celebration brings people together and it’s fun.
  6. Listen: The addition of one’s advice and opinion removes the capability for the other individual to fully process their situation. Only give your point of view or perspective when there the other individual asks for and permits it. Contrary to popular belief it’s ok to be silent.
  7. Be Vulnerable: One isn’t required to share every detail of their lives stories with every individual they meet; however, it is important for there to be a degree of exposure in connecting relationships. The more vulnerable you are, naturally, the other person increases their vulnerability as well. Hiding isn’t necessary.
  8. Acceptance: Agree to disagree. We are all uniquely created for a reason with different values, experiences, and opinions; however, we all require the same thing, to be accepted. Don’t throw shade or judgment when connecting with someone else. Remember that we are different for a reason and there’s nothing wrong with that. Meet somewhere right where they are at.
  9. Value Honesty: Not only should there be a level of openness and authenticity in a relationship, but also, there should be sheer, raw, and unblemished honesty. Again, please note that you don’t have to share everything, but one should be honest about the things they deemed necessary to share.
  10. Be Trustworthy: Another person’s business is not your business to share. This is the last one on my list because it’s the hardest one for me to fully walk in. Allow yourself to be someone who is a vault of information which only opens when what was shared with you is harmful to the other individual or others.

Get Connected. Continue Loving. Be More Like Jesus.

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