By Dr. Joti Samra, CEO & Founder of the Psychological Health & Safety (PH&S) Clinic and MyWorkplaceHealth
Five Steps To Building Authentic Relationships
All of my clients, and anyone who’s heard me speak, has heard me – often – talk about how we as humans are fundamentally social creatures. It’s our social relationships that help us not just survive but thrive in spite of the inevitable life challenges we will all be faced with. Data doesn’t lie – and research tells us that our social relationships are among the top factors that help us live a long, physically and emotionally healthy and satisfying life. Good relationships often serve as a buffer during hard times and can deepen the quality of good times. But building authentic relationships can seem daunting and it can take a lot of courage to be vulnerable with people.
Building Authentic Relationships
So, what can we do to help us build strong authentic relationships?
1. Assess who is currently in your life. Be mindful of who you let in and out of your life. Intuition is a great guide here! You want to make sure that you aren’t unnecessarily using energy on unhealthy or negative relationships.
2. Be intentional. Be intentional about making time for those people in your life around whom you feel most yourself. Don’t allow distance, time or life demands to get in the way – texts, emails, and photos are beautiful ways to stay connected in between in-person visits (this is where social media can serve some very useful functions!)
3. Reflect. Reflect on what parts of yourself you’re finding difficult to reveal or share with others. Ask yourself why? What would be the worst thing that would happen if others knew about your greatest fears/insecurities/worries/challenges/or weaknesses?
4. Be Vulnerable. Make a commitment to push yourself out of your comfort zone in terms of how and what you reveal to others. Challenge yourself by asking “what’s the worst thing that will happen?” Start with revealing small aspects of yourself – and see and observe what happens. I promise the sky won’t fall down!
5. Listen and Ask Questions. Ask questions with genuine curiosity and listen to the answer. Asking questions, particularly open-ended questions, is one of the best ways to get to know someone better. Remember to listen actively. Typically we listen with the intention to respond, so some of our attention is spent considering and preparing our response. Listen fully to what the other person is saying and allow yourself to be vulnerable in the fact that you won’t necessarily know how to respond right away. Try to be comfortable in silence as you allow yourself to formulate a response after they’ve finished.
Remember: our relationships are everything. And it’s a beautiful feeling when we can truly be our authentic selves to those closest in our lives. So take the time to build authentic relationships in your life!
Enhancing psychological health, wellness and resilience