Have you ever locked eyes with someone – a loved one, a relative, a friend, a co-worker or some stranger – even so briefly and you knew exactly how they were feeling and what they were thinking? No words spoken between the two of you, you just knew. And the weirdest part of it all, you don’t know how you know.
That is emotional connection!
It is the feeling that the two of you are connected by an emotion, feeling the same emotion at the same time. That thing that allows couples to be so in sync that they finish each other’s sentences.
Some people call it connected energetically, and they may be onto something. E-motions are energy moving through the body (energy in motion) and if you are close to that body, you may be able to feel the energy in motion.
It is more than “empathy” where you “relate” to the feeling the other person is feeling. In empathy for example, you can relate to someone feeling sad, angry or worried because at some point in your life, you have felt those emotions. So you relate, empathize.
Emotional connection is ACTUALLY FEELING the feeling/emotion the other person is feeling when they are feeling it.
For example, if they are happy, you feel happy too. Not feel “happy for them”, but genuinely feel their happiness moving through your body. If they are sad you are sad too, and not because you know what it feels like to be sad, but because you can feel their sadness moving through your body.
The connection happens when the other person feels that you feel what they feel. You are “connected” by an “emotion” (or set of emotions).
This is different from communicating your emotions or talking about how you feel.
When communicating emotions, the emotion goes one way, from transmitter to receiver. For example, “I am angry at you” or “You disappointed me.” The goal is to communicate how you feel. Make them understand that you are angry or disappointed.
With emotional connection, transmitting and receiving an emotion is the goal.
When someone says “I am angry at you” for example, you not only hear what they are saying, you actually feel their anger. The connection is complete when they feel that you feel what they are feeling and respond to it in some form.
Their attempt to transmit the emotion they feel is what Dr Gottman calls “bid for (emotional) connection”.
If the other person doesn’t feel that you felt the emotion they were trying to transmit and responded to it accurately and appropriately, they become “distant” (emotionally disconnected). They may be responding but something is ‘missing’. Sometimes it feels like they are just being polite.
If you consistently miss, misinterpret or ignore their bid to connect on an emotional level, they emotionally wall off, close down and don’t let you in on how they feel. It’s like they are there but you can’t reach them. You find yourself struggling to sustain conversations beyond “how are you”, “how’s your day” or “what are you doing?”
No question about it, connecting emotionally is much easier when you are in the same space.
The energy moving through the other person’s body is much easier to pick up on. It’s also somewhat easier if you are talking to them on the phone and can pick up on some of their emotion/energy. It’s harder to emotionally connect by text or email but it is not impossible if you train yourself to read emotions in text, and because you know your ex for example, you can feel their emotion.
To learn more about how to emotionally connect and why it’s so important, enter “emotional connection” in the site search and go through the articles on how to emotionally connect. You can also sign up for one-on-one coaching, and I will help you emotionally connect with your ex via text, email, phone calls or in person.