Building relationships is probably the most complex and rewarding of all goods. At work, in your personal life, with a new boss or employee, with your partner or new born child, its all about creating and maintaining connection and joy.
With the 8 P’s I have tried to collect the most relevant of life ingredients in my view and bring them to you in a dry list to read, reflect and integrate immediately. They will help you become more aware, know yourself better and become a source of wisdom and inspiration for the rest of the world.
1. Pyramid of needs. Taking care of your needs first will allow to have sufficient resources to give others. Goodwill, generosity and compassion are just a few of the gifts you can experience both ways. Maslow’s pyramid talks about 5 levels of needs, starting with physiological and safety, and only then, shortly followed, by needs of building rapport and connection.
In other words, being more aware of your body and fulfilling physiological demands is basic before getting in contact with others. In the rush of the world we forget to give and love first ourselves; we forget to eat healthy, drink sufficient water, sleep enough, hear what our body needs. We forget ourselves completely and self-acceptance and self-understanding become utopic. The flip side, the more you accept and love yourself the more you love and accept others the way they are.
2. Presence: to be present means to be able to act like a detached observer in any circumstances. And this quality is acquired and trained. Can you notice what’s going on in your inner world right now? Are you aware of your emotions, whether you are angry, fearful, joyful, excited and what triggered this state in the first place, can you put some distance between these emotions and your true self. Observe your feelings and detach from them. How do they form, how long do they last, what can you do to release them? Spend some time alone, breath and watch your breaths in and out for a while, 5 minutes to settle into a state of calm and watch with more accuracy what’s going on right now in your mind, body and surroundings. Praying or meditating quiet the mind and space around you, allowing connection to inner self and improved presence. As with time, the more present you are, the better you identify how you feel, what drives these emotions and also how others experience their feelings in certain circumstances.
3. Positivity: with your mind’s eye identify each moment how you feel and why you feel. Remember everything is perception and perception is reality. The way we choose to look at life and events, in a positive or negative way determines our health levels, electromagnetic field, the way the others perceive us, levels of creativity or innovation, capacity of sane decision making. Science shows that our past memories are redefined every time retold, so unpacking the negative side and replacing it with a positive perspective is a strong healing technique. The process may entail higher levels of vulnerability, but in counterpart with a practice of gratitude brings new life meaning. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UtBsl3j0YRQ
4. Partnership: we get very often caught up in doing rather than being and the more we do, the deeper dissatisfaction we get from the outer things. Tasks, processes and achievement of material things take over whilst our relationships to ourselves and others suffer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRhdUxMpHlI).
If in a trio of task, process and partnership you would have to choose one, don’t blink to prioritize partnership. Investing in people and aiming for a good treat of relationships will never fail you. Politeness should be your mantra and good intentions Karma. Acting from a place of respect, allowing equality and freedom, aiming for mutually beneficial outcomes and incorporating generosity and compassion bring nobility to our behavior and mirror effect. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_neuron) If in question, always prioritize the person. At the end we cherish how many relationships we have turned from neglected and unfulfilling to joyful and rewarding and not how many tasks and processes we have delivered or optimized; people follow emotions, they don’t follow tasks.
5. Psychological safety: this is about the level of trust and openness as key ingredient to a safe relationship; weather in a leadership position with big team or at home with your partner and family members, the level of comfort to open up is critical to strengthen the relationships (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johari_window) ; allowing mistakes, listening and asking questions, not judging and building trust are just couple of aspects to hold in mind. And since change starts with ourselves first, this means the courage to display vulnerability, something that our today’s society condemns as weakness. We numb vulnerability (sadness, shame, anger) because this is the society norm; but what we don’t consider is that weaknesses and strength, negative and positive, sadness and joy come from the same place; we cannot numb one set of feelings without numbing the others too https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability. The art is to allow emotions out and share them in your safe environment with secure base people and mastering the speech with presence and no harm done to any of self or others boundaries
6. Personality: many books and theories put people in boxes and teach how to deal with such and such personality. Whilst each one of us is different and could perhaps fall into a set of descriptors, what’s important is to understand the values that stand behind a person’s behavior and circumstances but utmost to understand self from that perspective. The concept goes back at least IVth century BC when the inscription ”Know thyself”, ancient Greek aphorism, was found above the Temple of Apollo in Delphi. Some ways to discover yourself, involve reports such as Belbin or 360’ or tests such as NEO or Ennneagram (https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-descriptions ) or books (Personalities at work, 5 languages of love). However one of the most effective ways to know yourself is self-observation and writing down patterns of emotions, reactions and related triggers such as people, environment, situations. With time you will better who you truly are but also develop capabilities to understand other people, personalities and how they operate on different grounds
7. Personal attachment. This is one of my favorite theories about life and how we are wired to connect at heart level and not at head. Bowlby was the first to introduce the concept where experiments on babies show underdevelopment where main caregiver is not offering love, connection and touch (https://www.simplypsychology.org/bowlby.html) . More recently, same theory was further developed to cover that same concept applying to adults (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_in_adults) . In other words we develop and grow much better if we have secure partnerships and safe attachment figures around us that provide care, love, understanding. One lovely book that speaks about adult attachment and how to understand and overcome tough times in our relationships is ‘’Hold me tight’’. It shows how our contradictory conversations with our partners are ultimately about feeling unloved and unsafe.
8. Perseverance is about never stopping. Notice what’s going on in your life and continue to work on yourself, continue to learn, cease to attempt control the future and fight the uncertainty, embrace opportunity with joy and presence; learn to see in everything a good way and train yourself for new perspectives. Never give up, our behaviors are reactions to fears, but fears come from past experiences; take control of your life and re-look at these experience and attach new perspectives; ‘’It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Confucius
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In a world full of technology, personal agendas and increased desire for possessions, I believe there is room to revive our humanity and make the world a better place. The first step starts with you and if I can make your life a little bit better, then my mission as a life coach is fulfilled. Building self every day is the single meaning of life. Find your best self or get where you want to be!
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