It is often easier to see the magnificent in our loved ones rather than in ourselves. The dilemma of the varying internal vs. external perception follows us in many aspects of our lives and it is a challenge to marry the two perspectives together. But to be more in touch with ourselves and our surroundings, we have to face and address this manifold process. I believe one way to start is to reflect the way we approach everyday conversation with our family and friends. The more meaningfully and deeper we connect with our surroundings, the better we are in touch with our own feelings and emotions. As we get to know ourselves and understand how and why we are the way that we are, the easier it is to celebrate our personality and to value ourselves in the way we value others. To start this process, here are five potential questions to ask more during conversations to connect with yourself and others
How are you feeling?
Rather than asking how someone is doing, ask how someone is feeling. Do not be fobbed off by a simple fine, try to understand where the other person is coming from. This will not only help you to empathize with the other person, but it will also form the pattern to reflect and explore your own feelings. Our emotions once identified and acknowledged are often less daunting than they first appear.
Are you happy?
We tend to get carried away in our everyday lives or to be trapped in the hamster wheel of social media perfection or self-optimization, so we feel like there is no room for negative emotions. But by not allowing our feelings to manifest or be explored, we leave no opportunity for change or growth. Start by asking others about their happiness level and see what unfolds as you connect with your environment.
Can I help you?
Finding the right thing to say in difficult situations is tough – I for example tend to try to find a solution or provide a positive outlook on the future. But rather than assuming that it is your duty to have the answer, ask if the other person wants help. This relieves pressure and opens the conversation up for a productive discourse.
How can I support you?
After asking permission, ask how you can support. Conversation and social interactions are a collaborative effort and we often shy away from asking and discussing the tough questions. We all struggle around similar topics, so open up the conversation to explore potential solutions.
What do you want?
A question to be asked for the big life questions and also daily decisions. We often do not take the time to consider what we actually want, in turn not realizing our frustration if situations play out differently than we subconsciously wanted them to. Asks others what they want and sprinkle in your own wishes to start to be true to yourself.
Introducing mindfulness into our days does not happen with one big update of every aspect of our lives. Instead, it many small changes which are routinized – and why not start with the way we talk to each other?