If I told you I have a trusted source of one of the most potent drugs… It’s free, without nasty side-effects, and vastly available… Would you be interested?
And what if I told you that you experienced it at least once in your life, and probably multiple times… Can you guess what I’m talking about?
Oxytocin! The “love hormone”, that is released every time we have meaningful interactions with living beings.
You can be surrounded by hundred people and still lack connection
Being alone and being lonely are two different things.
We all experienced that being surrounded by people who don’t “get you” can make you feel even more lonely than having no interactions at all.
A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a young man with a strong vision: when he was a teenage, he felt isolated in his hometown, because his hobbies and views on the world were not mainstream were he lived.
There was one bar though, one oasis where he felt at home. A place where he could be just himself, and people would accept him just as he was.
He has grown up, and moved out. And he is decided to create such a place in the city he now lives in. Somewhere where people could feel welcomed, and connect with each other without judgement.
We all experienced a moment when we were the “weirdo” in the room
It doesn’t make it easy to open to others then.
It is easy to have superficial conversations, to talk about the weather and so on, but that doesn’t sparks Oxytocin, that doesn’t make us feel connected and met.
Do you know your “weird”? What is sometimes considered strange or unusual about you?
Intimacy happens when you’re willing to take risks.
But when we find a space where we can recognise that everyone is a weirdo in his/her own way, and that that is OK, then we can relax in this acceptance.
For this to happen, we have first to accept that no matter what we do, we will always be a weirdo for someone.
From there, two things happen when you meet people:
You found your tribe!
Maybe you can see you are the same kind of “weird”, so your “weird” is actually normal for that person.
Like me when I meet other nomads for exemple. They get me, don’t have to explain why I’m moving around, how I do it… Or any of the questions I get when non-nomad try to figure that part of me out.
You feel heard and understood, because you both experience the same things, there is common ground.
You met another human being: the opportunity to be student of people
Ok, this person is “weird” to you, and vice-versa. And still, you are both humans.
So you can be curious about them, even if you don’t “get them”.
I call it being the student of people. I love to discover how people think, what they experience, what is their life like… Not only do I learn about them and their way of doing the world in these conversations, it also informs me a lot about my ways of thinking and doing. Because of course, when you’re curious about the differences, it gets you to define where you stand.
And eventually, you can’t help but notice what common between you too. That’s what I call meeting the human.
We need human connections
If we meet and open only to people whom to we are weirdo, we end up feeling like we need to explain ourself again and again, like misfits.
If we meet and open only to people with our kind of weird, we end up close-minded, and pretty judgemental.
So we need to stay open to both our tribe, and strangers.
How to we meet others at a deep level?
It’s really simple. It requires a bit of courage.
The courage to get real and gain awareness of who you are, and how you show up, as well as the willingness to be seen as you are. Notice that I’m not talking about “loving yourself first”, it is much more about connection to your self here.
And then the openness to accept that everyone is a weirdo in his/her own way, and willingness to meet the human behind the weirdo, behind our first impression, behind the label we might put on them.
That’s pretty much it.
It helps to learn private speaking: the art of connecting to yourself & others.
Obviously the more you understand why we communicate the way we do, and how to become more flexible, how to have more options on the way you communicate, the easier it gets to connect.
Things like understanding the different levels of communication for example, to adjust your level to the one your conversation partner is using (from informational to emotional for example). That alone can save you from many frustrating conversations, where both are trying to get their message across, without meeting at the right level; it’s like trying to have a conversation using two different languages… Pretty confusing, even if you’re coming from the best intentions.
Here on the podcast, I share wisdom and tools about private speaking. You can look into topics such as non-violent communication, authentic relating… There are many approaches to that.
“Human to human” un-networking meetings
Of course the best way is to practice it, and that’s why starting soon you will be able to join me for “Human to human” un-networking meetings, locally and online.
I will share more on that when it gets closer.
For now, what is one thing you can do to become a student of people and meet everyone as a human being, just like you?
Resources cited in the conversation
The last episode was touching on an important piece of what we can do to “get real” and show up in a more (lovingly) unapologetic way:
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