“Wanna connect?”

It’s a phrase that brings to mind Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and numerous other social apps.

But how much do people truly connect anymore?

I don’t mean via a like or share, but through understanding, compassion, and genuine openheartedness.

Many of us Practice Judgment Instead

How to Deepen Your ConnectionsSpend some time in your car at rush hour in a busy city and you’ll hear horns honking and see fingers flying.

Do you get angry when other drivers do something you find inconsiderate or illogical?

It starts with a, “Really? That’s how you’re going to drive?” and escalates into muttering under your breath at every slight until you’re in an entirely foul mood by the time you reach your destination.

The Effects Linger

The traffic incident that started it might have been over in seconds to a couple of minutes, but the residual effects of a temper flare last much longer.

In fact, they can continue once you’re home.

“I can’t believe you left stuff all over the counter! What have you been doing since you got home?”

There is Another Way

Instead of taking each offense personally, consider the possibility that the other person is unconscious of the effect they’re having on others. It isn’t malicious. They simply didn’t think about it.

Haven’t we all occasionally got caught up in our own activities and unconsciously inconvenienced someone else? Did we mean to cause others discomfort?

Of course not! We simply weren’t being mindful at the time. When we catch ourselves, we realize we weren’t aware. When others do it, we judge them.

But judgment interrupts the ability to connect to each other. The implication is, “I’m not like that!” and you create a wall between you and the other person even though you sometimes do unconscious things, too.

Let It Go

When you judge, you fail to see what is beneficial and beautiful about others. You often assume the worst even though the thing that caused their unconscious behaviour might be sincerely good.

Maybe the person who parked outside of the lines did it because they’re picking up someone who needs the extra space for a wheelchair.

Maybe the person who cut you off was racing to the aid of a friend or family member.

The simple truth is that you don’t know what made another person behave unconsciously, but YOU can consciously choose to treat others with love and respect even when (or especially when) they don’t realize what they’re doing.

And that applies to life, not just rush hour. Look for the beneficial and beautiful in other people, and the connections you make might surprise and delight you.

Change your mind and change your world.

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