When it comes to human relationships, the most powerful healing comes from sharing our feelings and stories. Real conversations with people you trust liberate you from your aloneness and negative thought loops. As you listen to each other, your brains align and sync, creating, a “we.” It is fascinating to feel yourself inside someone else’s story; in discovering the world from their perspective, we expand our own thinking and imagination.
Humans are hardwired to connect through storytelling and every culture throughout time has done so as a way to appreciate each other, heal, resolve, and evolve. The bonding that comes from mutual understanding is essential to physical and emotional health. And that is why, when you don’t get to hang out with people for two-and-a-half years, it takes a toll on how you think, feel, and see the world.
We have isolated for fear of being called out in social media or attacked on the street.
The massive uptick of COVID-related loneliness and isolation will not be soothed by a raise, a corner office, or a cut of the pie. It’s past time to loosen up and sit together with open hearts. And it always begins with you. We can no longer separate our working selves from ourselves. Besides, when we deny our humanity, we limit our ability to focus or be spontaneous and creative.
I’ve been a psychotherapist for over 20 years, and I’ve worked with groups my entire life. From the time I first entered group therapy as an adolescent, I have witnessed again and again the transformative power of a supportive community.
Americans now report having larger houses but fewer friends than they did in the past. We have isolated for fear of being called out in social media or attacked on the street.
Forging ahead at full speed denies the reality that we humans are not designed for such speed. It takes time and eye contact to sufficiently process our experiences. That is why when technology and social media became bigger than us, they replaced our sense of purpose with confusion, depression, anxiety, addiction, and hopelessness.
I founded The Narrative Method (TNM) in 2014 in an attempt to bridge the human gap, by creating spaces for people to connect through sharing the stories of their lives and their creativity. Being able to speak out loud to one or more respectful listeners helps us get clarity and find another way; it gets us back on track; and it provides the essential sense that you are heard and appreciated. TNM’s 12 Core Concepts provide essential coping tools and perspectives that let you experience yourself and others without judgment or criticism. I offer free online writing and conversation groups as well as card decks that you can use with your own groups because you don’t need a license to use your humanity.
By putting aside your own beliefs and judgments, you can better empathize and understand others from their perspective.
The TNM concept of Relational Mindfulness represents the humanistic practice of compassionately relating to others with an open mind and mutual respect. By putting aside your own beliefs and judgments, you can better empathize and understand others from their perspective. When we agree to relational mindfulness there is no hierarchy among people. We acknowledge that, as humans, we all struggle with the same basic things; we are in this together. Relational Mindfulness grounds you with respect for the complexity and richness of everyone’s life. Everyone’s family and everyone’s dreams are as important and real to them as yours are to you. We have all been through beautiful and awful experiences, and that is what links us. When you open up to someone new, you close that link.
This is your call to bring your humanity to work. To help upgrade your corporate culture, I suggest that you:
- Create spaces to connect
- Invite creativity
- Share your story
Despite all the world’s chaos and changes, we will always need to feel understood, appreciated, and accepted despite our failures and foibles. We want to feel respected and heard. We want to believe that what we are doing matters and that we are contributing something good to the world. Because hey, we’re only human. So start the conversation: