Valentine’s day is here for another year, and I am a sucker for any celebration and opportunity to have fun with my wife. We swapped cards in bed this morning and have a fabulous evening together planned.
I also appreciate that many people do not think the same as I do. Some consider it a problematic marketing ploy and a way of getting us to spend more money. Others who are not in relationships find it reminds them of that fact and there are other kinds of pressures placed on even the youngest members of western society by Valentine’s day that can make some unhappy.
Whether you are single or in a relationship, I thought today’s blog entry should be something that helps you build a connection with others and a connection with yourself.
There are a great deal of NLP based schools that still believe the best way to create rapport with another person is to match and mirror body language and other cues. I think this and similar notions are fairly well documented these days and advocated by many as the main and most effective way to establish rapport. I had a local newspaper advertising salesman come along to my business last year to talk about an advertising campaign we were planning and I was amazed at how blatantly and obviously he mirrored every movement I made. It verged on being uncomfortable!
I am not the biggest fan of matching and mirroring in these ways and tend to think attitude and intention are better ways of developing rapport with another person. It is one such way that I am writing about today.
What is more interesting for Valentines (and any communication really!) is a deeper connection in the person you are with.
You see, many people use techniques and strategies gleaned from all sorts of fields where they think they can apply a technique, or start doing some action and they can mechanically produce a sense of connection and rapport with the person they encounter, whether they think it or feel it and so on.
When I was in my early 20s, I can remember being at a dinner party with the work colleagues of my girlfriend and though I was polite and doing all I could to be witty, they could tell that inside I was thinking and feeling differently. It was as if my true feelings and thoughts were being broadcast to everyone there, despite my attempts to mask it with body language and repartee.
All the people I have encountered in my lifetime that are easy to get on with with, good to be around are the people who have a sense of authenticity and a particular attitude that speaks through their spoken words and is inherent with their body language, even if it is completely different to the people they are with. These are people that do not do anything in the way of matching body language, sensory words or breathing rate. Yet they do get into extremely deep rapport with the people they come into contact with.
These people do something that you can read about in a wide variety of different places – they accept. They accept those that they come into contact with exactly as they are, with all their foibles, peculiarities and idiosyncrasies.
The reason that I mention this is something anyone can do whether they are single or in a relationship, is not just for the open and overt ability to gain rapport with others and connect with people well. You see, in order to accept other people as they are, individuals need to accept themselves as they in the first place.
When I first read into the notion of accepting who I was, it affected my professional life as well as my personal life. It is the reason my website and day to day manner is sometimes brutally honest, verging on self-righteous, punctuated with my own brand of humour; because that is who and how I am and I accept that. So we scrapped the notion of attempting to please everyone and anyone by applying techniques to how we communicated through my business and in life, and just started being myself, as accepted by myself.
My business and relationships changed greatly.
For those of you that regularly meditate or engage in self-hypnosis as I do, that is a great time to spend accepting yourself in every way, refusing to resist any objections that may come up and just accept each and every thing that arises in your awareness of yourself. It is wonderfully liberating.
Even the simple statement said to yourself “I accept myself” or “I accept who and how I am” helps this to start and if you offer up some resistance, just tell yourself you accept that resistance.
Even if you do not meditate or use self-hypnosis, just run through this with your internal dialogue on a regular basis and you’ll notice how you develop your relationship with yourself.
You then start to adopt the same stance, attitude and perspective with people that you encounter in your life. Even if you object to some aspect of them intellectually, start to think in your mind that you accept this person as they are.
It is not always easy. Those of you that are friends with me on Facebook, know that I tend to vent my spleen every once in a while when I encounter people who are callous and selfish to the point where they detrimentally affect the lives of others.
And then when attempting to be accepting of who and they are, all kinds of objections would fire off in my head. So it can take a bit of practice to accept yourself and how you are reacting, and then in turn accept that other person.
Rather than looking to just external applications of creating a genuine connection with people, why not go deeper within yourself for something more than just tweaking of body language; notice your attitude and intention and how it affects things massively.
So, as you gaze, all soppy-eyed over the candle-lit dinner table this Valentines day, you can heighten your sense of connection with that person by just accepting. See how your romance blooms and your sense of connection develops… And even if you are not with a special loved one
Make sure you have a good intention behind how you do this, and want the best for the person you are with and that is going to help this idea to shine through and make you a noticeably better communicator and more comfortable person to be around.
Have fun! Enjoy Valentine’s day in whatever way is right for you.