Mutual empathy is a powerful connector that is made possible by the mirror-neurons in our brains. These neurons act like an emotional wifi system. When we feel the emotions others feel it makes them feel connected to us. When we feel their positive emotions, it enhances the positive emotions they feel. When we feel their pain, it diminishes the pain they feel. If someone expresses emotion, it’s okay, and natural, for you to feel it.
Here are some examples. A colleague at work does a fantastic job on a project. Be happy for them and take that emotion with you when you go tell them what a great job they did. When they feel you are happy about their success, it will enhance the joy they feel and create a bond between the two of you.
Here are a couple examples that apply at home. Your daughter tells you she worked hard, persevered and received an A in a really hard class. Feel her joy. Give her a high five, a fist bump, a hug, pick her up and spin her around. Tell her how awesome she is and how proud you are of her. It will elevate her joy and she will feel your love for her. She will also feel more connected to you, and this, research has shown, will help make her more resilient, more creative, a better problem solver, less likely to drink alcohol or engage in sex during her adolescence. How’s that for an incentive? Also, when she pokes her head in your home office or wants to talk while you are reading the newspaper or checking your email, stop what you’re doing, focus on her and listen attentively. If she is feeling down, try to feel her emotion. If she senses that you feel what she does, it will make her feel better and connect the two of you even more. How great is that!
This is the fourth post in our series entitled “100 Ways to Connect.” The series highlights attitudes and behaviors that help you connect with others. Although the attitudes and behaviors focus on application in the workplace, you will see that they also apply to your relationships at home and in the community.
Note: Photo from Flickr