The actions that seek your attention are often small and difficult to spot consciously. But they act to maintain positive feelings and regard for the people you care about.
Small Acts of Connection Are Worth More Than Grand Gestures
I have lost track of the number of times I have heard the story of the friend who ignores a person all year but suddenly remembers them on their birthday and wants to give them a gift. So often the person relating this story to me is left feeling cold at the friend’s gesture. The grand gesture of a birthday gift is not valued because the person has not made those small actions of contact.
This is very much what researchers have found. It is the small acts of connection that cement relationships, not grand, infrequent gestures.
These small acts of connection invite the people close to you into your world and issue a request to enter theirs. This connection is known as attunement. Attunement is where mirror neurons in your brain light up in response to another person’s experience.
How Relationships Falter
Relationships falter when those acts of connection are lacking. This is because the lack of connection causes emotional disengagement with the other person. When those emotions are disengaged you can feel lonely and rejected. Relationships often break up because of emotional disengagement. If people stick together they report being extremely unhappy.
Acts of Connection
Not picking up on the acts of connection is often not deliberate. What often happens is that people forget to pay attention. They become distracted by other things and stop noticing the acts of connection.
Working hard at work to the exclusion of others is one way you don’t notice the acts of connection.
Spending a lot of time on your phone prevents you noticing the acts of connection.
Being busy reading books, being on your laptop, falling asleep, things happening in your life that are disruptive and distracting, and stress are all examples of how your attention can be distracted away from noticing the acts of attention.
It is really tempting in this world to follow the distractions, but failing to notice the acts of connection from the people important to you is a relationship killer. Eventually the other person will stop reaching out to you.
The Impact of Not Noticing Acts of Connection
Once you stop noticing the acts of connection and the other person stops reaching out you can both become detached from your relationship and each other.
You do need to be aware of those acts seeking connection. People don’t usually demand connection. Most of these requests for connection are subtle and small. They may send you a text. They may look sad when you don’t respond to them. They may sigh. You may label them “passive aggressive” because you misunderstand their connection needs. NB. Passive Aggressive is a term often ignorantly applied to a genuine bid for connection.
How to Conduct a Relationship
In relationships you will often find areas where the other person is interested in things you are not interested in. This particularly applies when they are your children. You give attention to the things they love because you love them and want to connect with them. You will do the same with someone you are in a partnership with. You will do the same with friends as well.
Giving those you are in relationship with your attention, the intention to pay attention, interest in them and curiosity about their world are the important ways you respond to requests for connection.
How Abandonment Impacts Relationships
It is always important to remember that you or other people may have a history of abandonment.
When you send out a request seeking connection and the other person doesn’t notice you may feel rejected and distance yourself to protect yourself.
You may notice a friend who you have inadvertently failed to notice distances themself from you.
Reaching Out To The Person Who Distances Themself
In those situations it helps to have a conversation with the other person. Whether it is the person you feel rejected you or the person who feels rejected by you.
When you have been rejected it is not easy to engage with someone else. This is when discussing the difficulty with a counsellor can help.
If you want to heal the abandonment wounds then counselling can also help.
Can I Help?
If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your relationships and/or helping you heal from abandonment, please contact me on 0409396608 or email@example.com
If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with interesting information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz