Our feelings of connection to others sustain our sense of well-being. Understanding this vital element of our emotional lives can help us improve our interactions and deepen our sense of connection.
Often we have the experience of having a good connection with another person. Some of the qualities of this experience are intangible, hard to even begin to articulate and therefore easily attributed to "chemistry", as a blanket explanation. Whereas other qualities that contribute to having a good connection, are more observable; in particular those elements in communication that contribute to feeling connected such as a sense of mutuality, or a sharing of experience.
Learning to Connect with Others
The development of the sense of mutuality has a long history beginning in early infancy and growing across time as the parent responds to their infant's signals, giving them both a sense of shared experience and connection.
Recent research has shown that babies learn to recognize the intentions of others much earlier than we had thought, giving them many opportunities to develop their sense of mutuality. First they experience someone joining them in their world and later they experience joining with another.
The ability to join our attention with another, to attend to what someone else is focusing on and vice versa also begins in early months. Babies begin to look towards an object that another person is pointing to. Following this development, the infant points and expects the other to join their attention with them. This experience of joint attention draws focus to the growth of the sense of mutuality, increasing understanding of other people's minds and our relationship to them. We learn how to connect to others so that we can participate in a shared experience.
The Mutuality of Connection
Our sense of connection in relationships depends on our sense of mutuality. The sharing of experiences builds a sense of mutuality so that the more of ourselves each member of a relationships shares with the other, the deeper our sense of connection becomes.
All of us have probably had the experience of not speaking the same language as another person. By eliminating the basis for our shared communication we find ourselves having difficulty relating. Our attention then becomes focused on the disconnection because we have lost commonality.
Likewise, if we are not sharing ourselves, we increase our focus on the disconnection. When we join our attention with another by either sharing actual experiences or through verbal expression, we bring focus back to the sense of mutuality and the feeling of connection. Expressing our feelings and needs in our relationship and being willing to take in and acknowledge the other person's feelings and needs creates mutuality.
Copyright 2011 TruceWorks