9 Steps to Bring you to your Future Self: #7 Connect with Others
We are such sociable creatures, and part of us craves and even needs companionship with others. The word "companion" is from the Latin root com- + panis (panis means bread, or food): we feel compelled to share bread with each other. When we feel truly connected with others, we feel more zest for ourselves and for life. Here are four steps I recommend for increasing your connection with others.
1) Join a group of some sort.
In his book "Bowling Alone," Robert Putnam comments on the decline and potential revitalization of opportunities to build social capital. One factoid from his website says that "Joining and participating in one group cuts in half your odds of dying next year." By joining a group, I mean physically getting out of your seat and interacting with other people. This might be a sports league, a book club, a cooking co-op, a stitching circle, or team in training, or even just sitting and talking with your neighbors on a regular basis.
The important part is to be with other people, to share and to care about the daily things with others. Remember! join a group and thrive. Join multiple groups and prosper!!
2) Turn off the TV.
All the time we spend in front of the television diminishes our ability to think, to reason, to hold a conversation, and to grow. In 2007, only six companies owned 90 percent of all media in the U.S.: those companies are Viacom, Disney, Time Warner, General Electric, Bertelsmann, and News Corp. The owners of these corporations are all white male billionaires. You certainly want to have more diversity of opinion!
Find more independent news sources, go to alternative media, and be aware and independent minded. The best would be to get rid of your television. We cut ours out of the household in 2001. I challenge you to find an alternative source of entertainment --- preferably one that involves interacting with others in your neighborhood.
3) Cut off one negative connection. Grow three positive ones.
All of us have a relationship that is dragging us down: this may be a romantic relationship, or a client, or a co-worker, or a so-called friend, or any other relationship that we know, deep down inside, is unhealthy for us, unsuitable for us, or just plain energetically depressing. Your task is to cut that connection!
Any kind of relationship requires feeding and care, and one way to reduce your negative relationships is to foster other relationships so those unsatisfactory ones simply wither and die off. This week, sever one negative relationship and consciously foster three positive relationships in its place. Cut one negative person off and find three positive, enthusiastic, and uplifting relationships to focus your attention on. You'll like your new relationships better, and a few months from now you'll wonder why you even bothered keeping something alive when it wasn’t meant to be.
Sharing your skills with others is a superior way to establish and build connections. Find an organization that matches your interests and volunteer your services. For example, if you take pretty good photographs and you love animals, offer to take the photos for your local pet adoption center. If you have a green thumb and you are interested in health and wellness, offer to care for house plants to the local acupuncture clinic or the yoga class.
In my case, I offer pro bono and reduced rates on web development for green businesses, women entrepreneurs and organizations that serve women, children, and families. It's my way of giving back, and it has brought me a great feeling of benefit because my company's focus and skills match the organization's needs.
Our connections and companionship with others determines our quality of life. If having a pet decreases our blood pressure and increases our immune system, imagine the positive aftereffects of engaging in a connected community of caring humans! I like the vision of being in an interconnected community, and I encourage you to connect with me and with others.
Step 1: Intention Creates Reality
Step 2: Match your Exterior World to your Interior World
Step 3: Positive Feedback Works
Step 4: Change your Perceptions to Change your Outcomes
Step 5: Heal Your Heart
Step 6: Express Gratitude
Step 7: Connect with Others
Step 8: Lifelong Learning Every Day
Step 9: Raise Your Consciousness