Have you ever noticed that some people, as their status and influence grew, they lost their ability to love and empathise? I recently did a session with a bunch of wonderful leaders about our ability to “CONNECT before we LEAD”. Our theme was: “Relationship precedes Results”.
The fact is that as we progress through the ranks of an organisation, or as the organisation we lead grow bigger and bigger, the more our responsibility, and also our power and influence become. Neuroscience has proven, that somehow, along the way, neurological (brain-) changes often start to happen. You start to view people and the world differently. You empathise less and expect more. People start to become a means to an end. It might spill over to your everyday life and even affect your most personal relationships. In reality you then start to lose the ability to love deeply, only to find yourself in a very lonely, miserable and empty space.
As we prepare to finish 2020, and celebrate Christmas, it might be a good thing for all of us to check in with ourselves and ask: how am I doing with my relationships? Relationship does not only precede results and success, but, in reality, relationship also precedes happiness, real joy, meaning and fulfilment.
For all of us 2020 was a strange year full of challenges and new lessons. Some of us felt closer to our significant others because of lockdown. Some felt out of touch with some others, like colleagues, clients and friends. There might be relationships that we need to pick up again – giving the first step to re-connect over a cup of coffee or a nice South African braai.
Something deep inside you, wants to do that. Have a look at the drawing below:
At the 2015 Burning Man festival in Nevada there were beautiful works of art, but this one caught people’s eyes. There were many interpretations about how the ego and the adult-learned behaviour can block out our natural caring interactions. Here’s what Alexander Milov wrote about the sculpture on the festival’s website:
“It demonstrates a conflict between a man and a woman as well as the outer and inner expression of human nature. Their inner selves are executed in the form of transparent children, who are holding out their hands through the grating. As it’s getting dark (night falls) the children start to shine. This shining is a symbol of purity and sincerity that brings people together and gives a chance of making up when the dark time arrives.”
So, let’s check our hearts. What happened to it? How can we listen to the “inner selves” we were originally created with – to connect and relate, to see and hear each other, to love and care, to touch and hold…?
There is a beautiful text that says basically the following: You may speak beautiful words in many languages; you may have insight into mysteries, be very successful and move mountains, and even give away lots to the poor and sacrifice many things. But if you do not have love, real love for others, you gain nothing and you are nothing. (1 Cor. 13). How shockingly true is that?
As for myself, I have a long time ago realised that I quickly run out of steam when it comes to this. Therefore I look upwards towards an unlimited resource of love to fill my love tank.
May you end this year with a healthy heart, in a meaningful and powerful way – that of deep connection, love and care! Then you will be far better equipped to embrace all that 2021 might hold. Have a wonderful Christmas, and if possible, a good time of rest.