1. Connect at the meaningful level. Connect with another person at the level that resonates with them and ask them to connect with you at the level that resonates with you. The awareness of the fact that people connect with us for different reasons is the key. Until we ask, we won't know what is important to others. Find out more about them by asking what’s important to them, what they are passionate about and also notice what they might find difficult to bear. When speaking, be conscious as to what they will hear – they will hear the bits that resonate with them; either because they are passionate about something or they will hear a message, because it is hurtful. Recognise both. Equally, to connect, tell them what is important to you.
2. Give attention. Nothing in this world will improve until we learn to give…unconditionally and simply out of a pure joy of seeing happiness and improvement (love) in others and for us. By giving another person attention first, showing them our understanding, we increase the chances of them being curious and understanding back. Researchers have proved the enormous power of reciprocation – people in societies around the world feel obliged to pay back favours or good deeds. So if for no other reason, learn to give the attention and an understanding to receive it back.
3. Be in the moment. Be present, listen, hear what they are saying. Have a fresh approach to a situation each time. As Marcel Proust pointed out: “The true voyage of discovery lies not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes”. Be mindful. There is a lot of techniques on how to achieve mindfulness, and meditation is one of them. To achieve full presence, pausing between activities helps.
4. Introduce a 'pause' between activities. To be fully present in the moment we need to stop thinking about what happened in the past and stop planning or worrying about the future. A pause or a concept called the third space helps. According to Dr Adam Fraser, the author of the book The Third Space we should all endeavour to take time between activities to reflect on what has been and prepare for what is coming in order to be fully present in what is happening now.
5. Recognise when the problem lies within you - what pushes your buttons and do something about it – communicate your disagreements, however be aware that people may be less sensitive to a matter as they haven’t experienced what you have. Be aware of different perspectives and if something really bothers you, explore ways of addressing your problem for your own wellbeing.
6. Recognise when the problem lies within them - projection. Recognise that they may be projecting their pain on you, potentially because they may have never addressed challenges from the past. Recognise that their disappointments may have nothing to do with you. Sometimes they may be blind to it as the truth of their past may be too painful. If you can, help them deal with it, however don’t take the responsibility. It is their journey. If you cannot find a common ground, you may have to accept it, at least at this moment in time, until one of you chooses to look at it again.