The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

William James

We look to relationships to satisfy this craving. It's our natural state to be loving. Unfortunately with the busyness of our lives we forget what that natural state is. There is nothing better than a great relationship. You feel that you belong. You feel empowered. You feel an incredible aliveness. But ultimately we have to learn to have a great relationship with ourselves. When we do, it enriches everyone with whom we meet.

We live in a relational world. At a fundamental level what we all want is to deeply connect with others, but we're not sure how to do that.  Successful relationships transform our families, schools, institutions, governments and the world we live in.

 When you connect with your heart, body and soul, connection occurs in an instant.  Connection begins with you, by your awakening to your true nature as a spiritual being having a physical experience. It's "a knowing" that you are connected to a power greater than you.  Connection is a path and like most paths, there will be challenges along the way. 

The good news is that connection can be cultivated. Before I embarked upon my coaching path I was a decent connector when I wanted to be, but I didn't consider it one of my strengths. This has changed over the years. 

My first coach gave me a new way to look at connection, which has been instrumental in my cultivating the awareness that I have now. From that moment on, I became increasingly aware of how much I liked to connect with others.

 The ability to connect with others opens up a whole new world. Connection transcends stereotypes and judgments, creating fertile ground for a new dialogue, a dialogue not constrained by history, but open to common ground for a consciousness of possibility. By connecting, you make the ultimate gift to yourself and to others. It is when we give of ourselves that we receive the ultimate joy. 

Our bigger challenge is to receive from others. Many of us find it difficult to be supported and to let others do things for us. This might seem like somewhat of a paradox, but when we give to others we remain in control. It's only in the act of receiving that we give up control and allow ourselves to be vulnerable. It is in that moment when we feel the most connected to others. By receiving the gift of another, we are making the ultimate gift to them. Until we allow ourselves to receive this gift, we won't be able to experience the depth and intimacy that we are seeking.

Let me share with you a few strategies that I have found effective in cultivating more connection in my life. After meditation, I express gratitude for the gift of connection that I have with others. Perhaps in the beginning of this practice I didn't feel or believe it totally. But over time I've noticed that my ability to connect has become a strength. I'm certainly more aware of the connections that I do have.

Being curious is invaluable. In some ways, I've transformed being curious into a fun game. Whenever I go to a gathering,  I'm curious with whom I'll connect With so many of us asking the same questions, I'm curious about what I might learn when I connect with them. In the last few years I've expanded upon this practice. Before I left for a recent trip for Kauai, I wondered about with whom I would have the best connection. This set the tone and kept me curious during the whole trip. The synchronicity was amazing.  We reach a time in our life, when those remarkable meetings seem to occur more often.  Synchronicity then becomes the norm, rather than the infrequent occurrence.

Each time that I experience one of those chance encounters that provides a missing piece to the puzzle, there is a thought that deeply resonates within me. It makes greater sense to me now than it ever did.  As we continue to evolve, we attract to us our tribe of kindred souls.  

We are the source of the connection that we crave, which is fueled by our ability to come from the deep place of love within. Unfortunately too many of us are looking to find love outside of ourselves-it's an inside job that has its own language. 

The language of love is the most powerful language on the planet. In the English language, some of our deepest feelings can't be expressed in words. We can look to the Greeks for wisdom. Two friends touch each other's souls but are not lovers. The Greeks refer to this love between friends as Philos. 

The special love that we share for our family is different than any other love we experience. The Greeks refer to this love of family as Storge. 

Spiritual love, or the love that is God is referred to as Agape. 

The physical love, when lovers embrace, is referred to as Eros. 

The language of love is an acknowledgment of a person's essence and their inner beauty. If we are not comfortable with the more accepted language of love, it is important to create our own language; a language that acknowledges others, their greatness, their gifts and their blessings. 

By becoming more comfortable with this language, we open the doors to deeper intimacy.  We begin the process of fulfilling the deepest craving that James refers to. Perhaps you have your own language and way of expressing it.  Perhaps it's with your eyes or your smile.  Let's be open to finding new ways in which to do that. 

Make it Fun


Author's Bio: 

Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences. A former trial attorney and musician for 30 years, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. In his former career he was covered by The New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, Boston Globe and The San Francisco Chronicle.

He is the author of Dancing on the River: Navigating Life’s Changes. Most recently he has written Discover the Leader Within.