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  • Lana Koyadinovich

How to Make Valuable Connections

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

Bravely stepping out of the norm ...



Are you willing to shake up the status quo? Whether you are a corporate professional, soccer mom or a new age seeker - it’s a real struggle staying authentically connected. After all, once you take off the mask of a polite conversationalist, what do you have left to hind behind? When I started the commitment to being open to ALL in me, I certainly had my doubts ...


“What if they see me as a weirdo? What if they take advantage of my vulnerability? I can't really ALWAYS show up as myself. Nobody wants to see me weak.”

I believed that the world needed me "strong". Growing up in Serbia, most our heroes and role models were marketed as demigods. You had to dig deep into the books to realize that they were humans as frail as the rest of us yet determined. I learned much later that quite surprisingly for most of the avatars of our time one truth stands clear, it was embracing their frailty that made them stronger. With the emotional intelligence work that we do in Connection Practices, I am learning how to embrace my frailties as much as how to celebrate my strengths. I get to practice each week and practice males perfect.


Now, valuable connections are my soul food. They are as easy and as difficult as 1-2-3. Here are a few agreements we practice by and strive towards during our get togethers:

  1. Honor yourself - speak up about your physical, emotional and mental needs. This requires focused presence to your own body sensations, feelings and thoughts. Name your boundaries. Make clear requests. Stand in self-leadership. Speak to your desires.

  2. Honor others - when others speak their truths or express their needs honor them by listening fully not just waiting for your turn to speak. Assure them that you heard them by repeating the gist of it , "I heard you say that .... . Does that fit?" When they are brave enough to share a boundary, thank them for taking care of themselves.

  3. Be open to not knowing - don't presuppose anything about the person you are meeting. Open to fully receiving them without judgments or projections. When unclear about the language your partner is using, check in by asking for clarification even for the simplest terms. Ex. A:"I feel good." B: "What does 'good' mean for you?"

  4. Own your own experience - stick to the "I" and not the general "we" or accusatory "you". Instead of, "You make me upset!" try "Hearing that, I feel upset". This leaves room for the other person not to get all reactionary or even storm out of the room, but to actually remain engaged in the conversation and maybe even become curious as to the reasons why and try to get your world. Another examples is, "I am feeling hot and sweaty". This statement leaves more room for the other conversationalist to have their own experience as opposed to the imposing, "It's hot in here." Period.


Being vulnerable and practicing authentic connection is a brave choice, so we salute you for your dedication and determination!


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