Connecting language

"Believing we are separate is a limiting story - a narrative we on this journey are naming as a violation for epistemic trust - a story that, if taken as the whole truth, can explain the suffering we are living in, the suffering we are creating from the false narrative of self-as-separate." (Daniel Siegel)

"I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they fell seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship." (Brené Brown)


My goal here is to pique your interest in connecting communication so that you start exploring and experimenting with it.


Brené Brown defines connection as an energy. How can we foster this connecting energy? Our inner attitudes convey this energy. Connecting communication starts with examining and adjusting our attitudes. Do we approach with curiosity or with the need to convince? This is crucial because our attitudes manifest in our nonverbal signals, which can either invite or repel, creating feelings of acceptance or rejection.


Helpful attitudes identified by the Authentic Relating movement include:



Welcome everything

Assume nothing

Reveal your experiences

Own your experiences

Honor self and others

Accepting whatever arises helps maintain curiosity. Welcome your bodily sensations, feelings, and thoughts. Acknowledge your judgements and assumptions as they come into your awareness.

Assumptions stem from past experiences. Staying with them prevents you from engaging with the present moment.

Share what is happening inside you. This allows others to truly know you. We all have an innate need to be fully seen, which requires shedding layers of shame and anxiety.

Trying to change someone else's behavior means you are not owning your experience. For example, say, "I have the judgment that you think X is more lovable than I am," rather than trying to alter their behavior

Find a balance between connection and autonomy. Avoid being a people pleaser or selfish. Consider your needs as equally important as others' and decide what to do from an observer's perspective, taking into account the needs of the whole group and the planet.

I would also add curiosity about others - seeking to find out and understand what's happening inside them and who they really are.

Additionally, it helps to automate useful tools of connecting communication. Put your focus always on maintaining the relationship. The following tools support you in this – the list is not exhaustive:

  • Conscious listening - with an empty mind - no assumptions, to thinking ahead, and attention to nonverbal cues.
  • Empathy - acknowledge and reflect the other person's feeling to make them feel seen and heard.
  • Reflecting - ensures true understanding of what the other person is expressing.
  • Asking for consent and setting boundaries - keeps conversations within a tolerable range.
  • No judgement or advice - If you catch yourself judging clarify your assumption. "I am assuming that....... Is that correct?
  • Slowing down - take breaks, especially in conflict, to prevent unconscious patterns from taking over. "I notice my excitement rising. Can we take a few calming breaths?"
  • Sharing impact - use "I" statements to express your feelings. "When you said..., I felt..."
  • Increasing curiosity - be open to learning even uncomfortable truths.
  • Appreciation of the other(s) - express what you value about them, even in disagreements.

You might think this is a lot, but start with small steps. Why bother? Good interpersonal connections promote health, enhance brain function, increase resilience, empathy, well-being, and reduce anxiety. These are compelling reasons to build deep, appreciative relationships with others.