One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to be more open and endeavour to create conscious connections each day.
So what exactly does that mean?
I love people, and when I am in a situation where I meet new people I usually manage OK and enjoy it. Sometimes I’m more confident than others, but generally I would consider myself a friendly, open person who gets on with people relatively well. I’m not everyone’s best friend immediately, and I’m not naturally chatty all the time and in all situations but I’ve never considered it a problem before. But recently I’ve begun to think about a side of me that I’ve known about but ignored for a long time because it doesn’t fit in with my ‘I’m a people person’ belief.
I’ve had to admit that in some situations I actively resist talking to people I don’t know. I pretend I haven’t seen something or someone, I’m scared to draw attention to something that I know needs attention or solving. I don’t get involved with things that are happening right in my life. And I’ve realised that the reason why is because I don’t know what will happen? I can’t control the event, I don’t know how someone will react, or I don’t know the possible outcomes of the situation.
I also have an almost pathological urge to avoid embarrassment and social discomfort – my own of course, but mainly other people’s. I worry about how other people are feeling in a situation, and often act as peacemaker and facilitator to protect people and to smooth the creases of social interactions. And this is all the more acute if it involves people I don’t know that well.
As a result of all this I shy away from some social situations, especially improptu ones in situations I am not used to, or could cause conflict. (Funnily enough, I can do conflict in some situations. I am happy to ask for music to be turned down in bars, or to complain about things if I feel I am in the right.) In 2011 I want to be open to every situation. I want to go into them without judgement and worry about who, what, why, when, and just experience the connection, conversation, encounter as it is, without trying to direct it.
My aim is to be consciously open to new experiences and new connections, and to build and strengthen already existing connections to my friends, community, and family.