What does it mean to emotionally connect, and how do you know you are emotionally connecting?
There are many books, methods and advice on what emotional connection is about.
Some people think emotional connection is a form of active listening — it is, but it’s a lot more than “listening”.
Others think it’s sharing of feelings — and it is, but it is more than just sharing how each person feels.
Empathetic-listening, sharing feelings, emotional support and affirming the other persons feelings are all part of emotional connection. But are not all by themselves emotional connection.
Emotional connection, at least in my opinion, is when two or more people feel the same emotion at the same time. If one person is sharing an emotion and the other is actively listening but not feeling the same emotions, that is not emotionally connecting. That is ‘good listening”.
For emotional connection to happen, the emotion must be felt together, with each other at the same time.
I give this example all the time. You and a friend are talking about a restaurant you went to. You’re talking about YOUR experience and your friend relates a story about THEIR similar experience in the same restaurant or a different one. On the surface this may look like emotional connection because you are both talking about the same subject and sharing your experiences with each other, but this is NOT emotional connection. What you are doing is sharing information/experiences.
It’s like two people going the same direction, but walking on two parallel lanes. You may get to the destination but your experience of the journey there will not be the same.
Emotional connection is when you get into your friends experience and experience what they experienced as they relate their experience in real time. It they say they were happy, you feel their happiness. If they say they were disappointed, you feel their disappointment. If they say something funny, you get the joke. You feel what s/he is feeling, right there at the same time. That IS emotional connection.
The most interesting thing about emotional connection is that we know it when we FEEL it. It’s not a thought, a guess or some intellectual pursuit, it’s a feeling that your hearts and minds are connected– a feeling of one-ness.
And we know it when that a feeling of one-ness isn’t there. You FEEL separate from each other. You may even agree on something, but feel like… you are there and I am here, we are not in the same emotional space. We are not feeling the same emotion.
The emotion doesn’t have to be what we call “positive” emotion (I really, really don’t like qualifying emotions as positive or negative, but it this helps explain emotional connection, we’ll go with that). You can connect on sadness or on anger just as you can connect on joy or inspiration. What makes it an emotional connection is that at that point in time, you feel the emotion at the same time.
Of course connection desired emotions like joy or inspiration feels a lot better than connecting on sadness or on anger. And if you are trying to get your ex back, you’d do yourself well to try to connect on emotions that make both of you feel good.
So if you are learning or doing “active listening”, sharing your feelings, affirming or acknowledging your ex’s feelings and being emotionally supportive, remember, that’s just one part of emotionally connecting. You have to go further. You have to feel what they feel, and communicate how you feel in ways that they can feel what you feel.
You can do this on just about any subject, music, food, work, family, pets, politics… anything.
For example, instead of just forwarding a link to a photo of a sunset, in addition, describe the feeling you feel when you see that sunset. Or in the reverse, if your ex sent you a picture of the sunset, ask them how they feel looking at the sunset. If sunsets are things you connected on during the relationship, even better.You already know how they feel, connect to that emotion.
Whether it is text, phone call or face to face communication, ask yourself: Do I know what he/she is feeling, and am I feeling that same feeling?
If you don’t know what he/she is feeling, you are NOT emotionally connecting. If you are not feeling the same feeling, you are NOT emotionally connecting.