I write to you on the eve of Christmas 2020; sprawled on my bed. My laptop in front of me. The song All I Want, by the band Kodaline playing softly in the background. And I'm wondering about all of you; wondering how each one of you are doing in this very moment on Christmas eve.
But perhaps, it'd be Christmas by the time you're reading this.
Hands up if you're filled with so much joy you cannot contain. Hands up if you're doing everything you can to hold yourself together. Hands up if you're hopeful. Hands up if you've lost hope. Hands up if you know that the entirety of the universe loves you. Hands up if you struggle to believe that.
I see you. I'm thinking of you.
And I hope this connection we share through the words I write counts for something.
Merry Christmas everyone! Welcome back to the Christmas Gift story. It's so good to have you in this space with me. If you haven't read Part 1 yet, I highly recommend you to read that first so that everything we talk about here will make more sense to you.
Now, let's jump in, shall we?
World-renowned speaker, Sean Stephenson says,
Connection is not an exchange of information. Connection is an exchange of humanity. It’s an exchange of emotion.
Without a true and constant exchange of humanity or emotion with others, it's easy to experience loneliness. And loneliness can be a very painful feeling to feel. To everyone out there battling loneliness, to everyone out there who in search for deeper connections, my heart goes out to you.
I want you to know that you’re not alone. That even this too will pass. No feeling or season is permanent. One day, you’ll have the relationship and connection that you long for. Take a deep breath and embrace yourself like you would someone you love. Do things that brings your heart joy. Take care of yourself. You have it in you to be resilient.
So I’ve decided to list down some practical steps we can take to help us develop deeper connections with those around us. I hope this helps anyone out there in this Christmas and New Year season who is in search for friendship and togetherness.
Is there someone in your life that you haven’t spoken to in a while that you’d like to catch up with? Or has there been someone you’ve been meaning to get to know a bit more? Perhaps there’s someone you know who would really appreciate a friend to talk to? Try finding at least one person in your life you can intentionally connect with during this holiday season. Give them a Zoom call or drop a text to check up on them. If possible, you could even do a home visit.
Reaching out to someone is the first step in developing a deeper connection to them.
Have meaningful conversations
When building deeper connections with people, try asking creative questions to truly get to know someone. For example, what gets you out of bed in the morning? What’s the best and worst thing that happened to you this week? What are your dreams? What do you do for rest?
During the conversation, create space for vulnerability. One of the ways you can do this is by being honest about how you’re feeling or where you are in life (even if it’s not all rainbows and sunshine) and in giving the other person space to feel their feelings with you too. That way you’d give each other a chance to really support one another leading to deeper connection.
Practice attentive listening when the other person is sharing or talking. Try rephrasing what they are trying to say in your own words to make them feel like they’re understood. For example, “I feel lonely,”. Then you can say, “I hear you. You feel like you lack meaningful connections. What can I do to help?”
Whilst you would take the time to listen, make sure that everyone in the conversation gets a chance to both speak and listen.
Do an activity together
People bond better when they are sharing an experience. So try to do activities with the people you want to connect to. You can ask someone out for lunch, do arts and crafts together, bake, play board games, exercise or even watch Netflix together. It’s easier to get to know someone and find things to talk to them about when you’re doing and activity together. More than that, activities help you have fun together.
And having fun together is one of the most important ingredients for a deeper connection!
Share a part of yourself
It’s true we feel more connected to someone when we share something that means a lot to us. And when they end up showing interest or excitement at the very thing we shared with them, it truly makes us feel seen and connected. Of course not everyone may show that interest or joy, but we’ll never know if we don’t choose to share. Maybe it’s that movie that you really loved watching or that song you found on Spotify that moved your heart or that topic you’re really passionate about.
It could be anything that makes you you and that you enjoy. Choose to share it with the person. “Hey I found this really nice song…” “Hey you know I watched this movie the other day…” “Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about…”
Ask for help
Often, people don’t know that you’re lonely or that you need some human interaction. We need to be aware of what our heart and soul needs. Take that step to talk to someone around you that you can trust.
Share with them the kind of support that you may need. They may just be able to support you and care for you in the way you need. Through that, you will truly experience deeper connection with the people you share with.
Connection takes intention.
With some people, you can just develop it in an instant. With others, it may need more nurture and care. However way it is, we were made for connection. Therefore, good, deep connections will happen for us if we never give up trying to connect with others or allowing others to connect with us.
Christmas Morning 2008.
The space around us was filled with ribbons, boxes and torn wrapping paper. The air felt light and sparkly as it got filled with our joy. It was as if nothing that was or is to come really mattered but this very moment we were in.
In between the laughs and excitement, my little sister looked up to me her eyes wide and big.
I felt the urge to hug her.
“Can we do this again next year?” she asked innocently. “Of course we will,” I replied confidently.
“Forever and ever?” she asked to be sure.
“Forever and ever,” her big sister said.
Have a merry Christmas everyone!
May you all be able to give and receive the true Christmas gift of connection.
Write to you soon.