authentic connection

Authentic Connection

This Valentine’s Day, enhance your connection with your loved ones by sharing more genuinely with each other. Take a risk by asking deeper questions and reciprocate by sharing about yourself —your truth, your values or your story.

Emotional intimacy emerges from authenticity. We often long for connection but are hesitant to reveal ourselves. It can be scary to open up, but it’s this vulnerability that makes for rich and meaningful relationships. Strengthen your bond with your partner, your children and your friends by moving beyond the superficial banter and enriching your conversation with meaningful questions.

Researching this notion, psychologist Arthur Aron paired strangers together and gave them a list of 36 questions designed help them dive into meaningful conversation. The questions are highly personal and quickly increased intimacy.

For example:

  • If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
  • If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
  • If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

These questions invite participants to soul search, take a leap of faith and trust each other. This mutual exposure fosters compassion and quick closeness. Inspired by this study, people have informally used this list to jumpstart romantic relationship and even to overcome political differences between strangers.

Consider using this list or making your own to take your relationships to deeper levels of emotional intimacy. It takes courage to be authentic with each other. The Latin root word of courage is cor, which means heart. Have courage, share from your heart and listen as you ask the people in your life to do the same.

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