Are You Too Smart for Love?
Growing up people always told me, I had a lot of potential. I’m sure this sounds like a wonderful thing to tell someone but it always annoyed me. For a long time, I thought this bothered me because of the expectations it put on me. But then I had an epiphany.
I realized that every time they told me “I had potential” they were saying, “You’re smart, you’ll be successful. “ But what I really wanted them to tell me was ”I love you, I accept you.“ Though I have enjoyed being thought of as smart, I’ve never craved intelligence as much as I’ve craved love and connection.
As soon as I realized how important these things were to me, I began to see that other people have this same problem. We are living in a world so focused on achievement, intelligence, and admiration that often we lose track of what matters.
An Intelligence economy
Many of us want to have a great job, be brilliant in our field, and be the envy of our family and friends.
We praise the savvy businessman, the successful politician, and the genius engineer. But rarely do we praise those of us who have deep connections with those around him or her self.
At first, all these seem great. Intelligence can help us survive and thrive, achievement can help you make money and acquire possessions, and admiration can garner loyalty put us in the spotlight. But the problem is none of these traits gives us more connection or love on their own.
Sets Us Apart
In fact, all three of these things set us apart from others. Focusing on these three things with too much intensity can lead to alienation and mistrust from those we care most about.
Some part of us loves to be set apart, but it’s so important for this recognition to be balanced by connection. When we connect with each other, we learn humility, which keeps us, grounded, we learn compassion, which keeps us from becoming cynical, and we learn to trust, which keeps us being lonely.
The best thing is that when we put our mind to it connecting with other is easier than we think:
Five Ways to Create Connection
Listening deeply and openly is one of the best gifts we can give each other. Often the people we talk to are only waiting for their turn to talk. They are so anxious to be heard that they never take the time so just listen.
The first thing you need to do to listen better is not offer advice. Most of us offer advice without thinking about it. But if you want to listen you have to notice when you are about to do this and stop. Instead of trying to find a solution just be present with them.
The next step is to reflect back: If a good friend says they’re upset because their boss said something mean to them. All you do is repeat back what you heard. Say something like, “So you’re saying you’re upset because your boss got mad at you.” “Is that right?” By just repeating back what you heard and asking if you got it right, you show this person that you care about them and what they are saying.
2. Send Nice Emails –
Everyday I try to make my first email of the day a nice email to one of my friends new or old telling them why they rock. So often, the only time you hear that someone cares about us is on a holiday. Or when some sort of tragedy strikes.
But why should we wait, telling other people that we care about them is a simple way to offer genuine connection. I have found that other people offer their expression of affection for me as well.
3. Hug –
My mother told me that she didn’t hug people very often growing up. It’s not that she didn’t like hugs, but her family just didn’t hug that much.
The first time she went to visit my dad’s family she was surprised to discover how affectionate they were. And since then she’s learned to enjoy giving other people a hugs.
A hug is one of simplest and satisfying gestures we can offer one another. Often people feel awkward about hugging. But a hug is something most people really enjoy.
If you are unsure about offering someone a hug just ask. I often say‚”I’m a hugging person, can I give you a hug? ‚” I find that people are relieved you asked and happy that they don’t have to worry about whether you’d be open to getting a hug from them.
If they say no or seem uncomfortable, just tell them it’s no big deal and offer to shake their hands.
4. Spend Time –
One of the easiest ways to show others we care about them is to spend time with them. Especially if we can do this without an agenda. Just being willing to be calm and present with someone shows them that we care.
All you need to do is call them up or go over to their house and say you’d like to do something with them. Tell them you can do whatever they have in mind. It’s also not a bad idea to think of a couple things you can do if they don’t have something in mind.
5. Say I Love You –
The simplest and for some people the hardest way to express love is to just say it out loud. Most people fear expressing love, because they aren’t sure they will receive that love in return. Now I’m not suggesting you tell this to a man or woman on a first date, but very often, we don’t say it to those people whom we care deeply about.
The key to happiness and long life isn’t in making lots of money or in winning the Nobel Prize. The key to happiness and long life is connection. So, stop hiding behind you brain and open up your heart. I think you’ll be surprised by what you find.
My challenge for you this week is to tell at least three people you know that you love them. You get bonus points if it’s someone you don’t normally say it to. If you do this, please post below, and let me know how it goes.
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