What are the ingredients that make a friendship or relationship successful?
In her book ‘Daring Greatly’ Brene Brown defined connection as “the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement.”
If that’s connection, then what allows for that sort of energy to be created, and maintained? We asked some of the speakers and sponsors from our recent Urban Campfire to share their thoughts.
Here’s what they shared as the connection ‘ingredients’ that were the most important to them:
1. Values that are Aligned
A value is a judgement about what you have deemed as important in life. “When your values are aligned everything else comes easy” said April Wilson.
So which values meant the most to our interviewees?
For Susan Gibson: Honesty, Integrity, Humility and Grace.
“Whether self, partner, or friend, these ingredients are the same” she says. Here are her whys:
Honesty: “I’m a truthful person, to myself and to others. Honesty can hurt, but the alternative is far more damaging.”
Integrity: “Being true to myself in all that I say and do. That’s what integrity means to me.”
Humility: “I check in with my ego constantly and evaluate my thoughts and actions against my ego.”
Grace: “Failures happen. Some small, some big. I own my failures and acknowledge the suffering they cause.”
For Julie Armitage: Respect, belief, trust, loyalty, commitment, courage and gratitude.
Here are her why:
Respect: “Seek to understand others before I seek to be understood.”
Belief: “If I believe in myself, I can overcome anything.”
Trust: “Trust is the foundation of healthy relationships and it must be earned.”
Loyalty: “Promises must be more than words, even if they require sacrifice.”
Commitment: “Hold nothing back and work like this is my last job.”
Courage: “Never back down from a challenge; discover the strength to soar.”
Gratitude: “Seek opportunities to express kindness in word and deed.”
“People often focus on what you have in common and that certainly can be a motivator for bringing people together: a shared interest, a common experience, liking and doing the same things. Those can bring people together but it doesn’t keep people together.” says Cordila Jochim.
“What binds at a heart level is shared values: an understanding of what you believe about yourself and life and what’s important, alignment around what you believe is right and wrong, a mutual understanding of commitment and covenant, a similar inherent nature of the fabric of your character, and a fundamental way of being that says “yes” or “no” to life and the opportunities it presents.”
2. The Ability to Be Vulnerable
For Angela Shen “the ability to be vulnerable without fear of judgement” is one of the most important ingredients in a relationship. “I have to believe you are being your true self with me, whether you are my friend or my man” adds our Urban Campfire MC Genise Dawson.
“One of the most valuable ingredients for me in any relationship is the ability to speak your truth and share what is in your heart” says Heather Blankinship.
“A successful relationship of any kind requires both parties desiring to stay in the relationship and being willing to open up and get vulnerable with each other, even when it is uncomfortable.
Too often I see people shying away from speaking their truth, or when they get hurt they build a story around what happened to them instead of engaging in a conversation to find out what really happened.
It is super easy to be misunderstood in this world of text messaging and social media, but if you want to have deep, authentic and meaningful connections, you have to be willing to pick up the phone and engage in real time. Relationships are incredible catalysts for personal growth, they are there to show us where we need healing and stretch us to fully embrace and love all parts of ourselves, and in doing so we can show up and fully love another.”
3. The Willingness and Desire to
Grow, Live, and Be Present… Together
We’re always growing and always changing. It never stops. It shouldn’t. How boring would that be!! There is so much that can be learned about the people in your life, so never stop being curious. Never stop nurturing the relationships that mean the most to you. Don’t take those you love for granted.
Our interviewees agree.
“Connection is incredibly important to me, the most important ingredient regardless of whether it is a friendship or my significant other is being present. What does being present look like to me? Turning off the distractions (TV, computers, and tablets) and putting away the cellphone when spending time with me. Having real deep conversations about life’s triumphs, disappointments, true deep seeded issues that need hashing out, and celebrations – living in the middle mediocre conversation scratches the surface with me and becomes mundane, uninteresting and boring if there is no other substance on a regular basis.” – Toni Burbridge
Diane Najm tells us that she’s drawn towards those involved in “a never ending journey of development and learning.” For her, that includes involvement in charity and giving back, which doesn’t have to be complicated! It could be as easy as opening a door for someone. Or as deliberate as helping someone else to succeed. “I get inspiration by looking at those who’ve maintained strength and displayed unwavering courage – especially in the face of challenges. I expect the same from my friendship and partner (work or family)”
Bringing it All Together
Sherrice Kirby wraps this connection reflection up fairly nicely with her personal recipe for connection:
1. Take two whole perfect souls (the more naked and real these souls can be, the more vibrant the creation).
2. Add equal parts compassion – for the flaws that exist in these ingredients.
3. Use communication to blend in understanding, laughter, joy, and tears.
4. Ensure that each of the parts are in equal contribution (you will need to check this consistency frequently).
5. Ensure that their is recognition of the contribution that each soul is offering to the flavor .
6. Allow the energy to mix, tumble, and adapt as needed.
Please note: Love, tenderness, adventure, commonality and sharing deeply seem to enrich the aroma over time.
If things seem to not blend, sometimes separating the two souls and allowing space to relieve the tension, that over blending can cause, will help.
P.S. If you desire to try this recipe again, start back at step one – adding more love and compassion to the mix.
In the end, connection requires bravery. But the pay off? Might be worth it.