Do you ever feel yourself filling social interactions with small talk which leaves you feeling drained and unfulfilled? Although not inherently disingenuous, when we opt for small talk and superficial social interactions, we unwittingly create an invisible barrier between ourselves and the world around us. This can be a protective mechanism used to create a barrier between us and others, especially from hurt. It is healthy to withhold some of ourselves initially when meeting someone new until we get a vibe from someone to see if we can trust this person and be more vulnerable and open with them, however, when most of our social connections are superficial, fulfilment is lacking as in doing so we are choosing to not honour our true self. Doing ourselves a disservice in the long run, we often find ourselves surrounded by insincere and loose associations with people, many acquaintances but few genuine friends.
Authentic relating is a practice that cultivates deeper connections with others by embracing honesty and vulnerability. By being entirely present with others, utilising deep active listening skills and showing our authentic and entire self enables deeper connections to be made with others leading to more fulfilment.
The practice of authentic relating fosters acceptance of ourselves in our entirety including the parts that we do not like or feel shame about. The act of accepting our whole selves around others, creates a space and invitation for others to accept their whole selves in a similar way. In developing deeper connections with those around us, more meaningful, satisfying, and nourishing connections can flourish. The very core and essence of authentic relating is to focus on quality over quantity.
Authentic relating can be achieved through various means from one-to-one conversations to group exercises. The key principles of authentic relating are being present; vulnerability; empathy; and curiosity. Being entirely present both physically and mentally emphasises our focus on the person or people we are with in that moment, deeply listening with intent, responding with empathy and compassion. Distractions are put to one side – this means there are no phones or notifications popping off in the background. For authentic relating between two people to work, both sides of the party must be willing to be vulnerable to share experiences and emotions.
This can often be one of the most challenging aspects people face, the natural reaction to negative life experience and trauma is to develop an invisible protective shield from more hurt or re-experiencing similar pains that have ailed us in the past. Dropping the barrier in a safe space is an act of courage and empowers us to nurture stronger and more meaningful connections with others and the world around us.
Learning to embody the essence of empathy, which is very different to that of sympathy, we learn to develop an understanding of others by putting ourselves in their shoes. Demonstrating an ability to understand others' perspective and experience enables the authentic relating process. As such, authentic relating requires an attitude of openness lead by curiosity, open ended questions, and a willingness to learn and a willingness to be seen by others in our entirety and to see others in a similar light, without judgement or pretence.
A selfless act that requires a sense of play and curiosity can open the heart and soul to explore new ideas, perspective and approaches to the world around us, and those around us in the spirit of connection, learning and discovery.
Authentic relating, shadow work and breathwork all compliment each other perfectly.
The primary focus of Authentic Relating practice is through learning through play as we use games to help you understand the practice of and build connections with ourselves and others through these games you will learn to:
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