Uplifting Social Connections

Our social connections have a powerful effect on our ability to achieve what we desire.

Social connections are the 4th essential element of Luck and the container that holds the other three: Confidence, Vision, and Action.

In Lucky Inner Connection, we looked at beliefs and thoughts that came from our childhood relationships and continue to guide us and sometimes limit us long after these relationships are gone.

Today’s focus is on our outer social connections — the flesh-and-blood relationships that currently populate our life.


Hoji on his life journey with his social connections

The right associations can pave our way.
Social Connections Affect Success

Influential friends can lend us a hand, loan us money, give us the right advice, connect us with the right people and give us a push when we need it most. When we are recognized and affirmed for our gifts and talent, we not only feel confidant and empowered, we actually vibrate at a frequency that attracts the luck we desire.

With the right social support we are more likely to attempt new projects and play on a bigger stage. And when things do not go as planned, we are encouraged to learn from our mistakes and try again.

Unfortunately, many of our associations may be doing the exact opposite. Jealousy, envy or simply fear can cause family and friends to sabotage our efforts or dismiss our success.

When our childhood experience leads us to expect discouragement, we tend to attract discouraging people.

According to the law of attraction, we get what we expect. If we believe that we are not good enough, old enough, young enough, smart enough, educated enough – we will attract people that confirm our beliefs and keep us small.

To change this dynamic we need to change our beliefs, our behavior and our connections.

Connections Inventory

Taking an inventory of our current social connections and making adjustments to our community of friends is a good way to improve our life and increase good luck.

You can start by keeping track of everyone you spend time with over the next month. Notice what happens in the interactions. How do they act? How do you act? Most importantly, how do you feel afterward? Are you uplifted or discouraged?

A logical use of this inventory is to avoid interactions with those people that leave us feeling bad and seek those that are uplifting.

It is often more complicated than that.

We cannot trade in our family or friends for an upgrade as though they were an old car or iPhone.
Family Connections

There may be little choice when it comes to family. The ties of blood are strong even in this individualistic culture of the USA. You can’t simply disown your mom because she makes you feel incompetent or uncomfortable. There is, however, potential for change.

Troublesome family connections can provide opportunities for developing strength and resilience.

When my mom was alive she had a bad habit of telling me about disturbing news items she read in the newspaper. These were horrible, unjust events that happened to strangers! I found these tales very depressing. They fed my “world sucks” mind-set and left me feeling hopeless and discouraged.

Finally, I asked my mother to please stop sharing these awful stories. I told her I wanted to hear about her and what was going on in her life, not some stranger’s. She was hurt at first. No one likes to be corrected. After a few reminders, she stopped sharing these depressing stories and our relationship improved. In the process, I learned the value of expressing my needs and keeping my boundaries.

Limit contact with negative people.

Sometimes a parent or sibling can be angry, abusive, or out-of-control. The best thing to do is leave. There is no benefit in subjecting one’s self to abuse. Go to the bathroom, go outside for a walk, take a drive or go home. This may take some practice if it was not an option in our childhood. By leaving, we often deflate the negative energy of the other. At the very least, we are sending a powerful message of discouragement. When this is coupled with positive responses to appropriate behavior, gradual change can happen.

Create a Shield of Protection

If contact with an angry and abusive family member is unavoidable, try creating an imaginary shield of protection. In this mind exercise, we surround ourselves with an invisible sphere of energy that protects us by blocking all negative energy from others. The body will eagerly accept our imagery and actually feel safer. The protective shield can act as a reminder for us to stay detached and not take the other’s behavior personally.

Watch Your Thoughts

The disempowering feelings that arise in our association with others may be more about our interpretations than their behavior.

I used to dread the conversations I had with my husband after returning from a workshop or networking event. His probing questions seemed invasive and critical. It ignited my defensiveness and I often responded with evasiveness and generalities. This only provoked more probing. It was not a happy dynamic.

Fortunately, a friend of mine, a relationship coach, explained my husband’s behavior as quintessential Protector/Provider behavior. His questions are a Protector’s way of making sure I am safe, i.e. not manipulated or duped into spending large quantities of money by some smooth-talking sales people.

Back in the days of Hunter/Gatherer culture — which in evolutionary time was moments ago — it was the duty of the Hunters to make sure their tribes were safe. This Protector pattern is wired into the left-brain and is activated for anyone who feels responsible for another.

Once I adopted this framework my response to my husband’s questioning changed. I focused on his need to protect me and stopped being triggered. Interestingly, as I react with less defensiveness and avoidance, he is gentler with his questions.

Pay attention to the meaning you assign to someone else’s behavior.

Does the sense you make of another’s actions feel familiar? Does it trigger a familiar response? Be curious. How does your interpretation affect your reaction? Does your reaction trigger more of the same kind of behavior from the other? Are you caught in a loop?

Step back and try on a different interpretation. Imagine that it’s not about you, but about them. What are their needs, what is there emotional state? When someone is hurting they often hurt the ones they love. Why? Because loved ones are more likely to forgive. Step into the other person’s shoes and see the situation from their perspective? Can you find compassion and love? Can you put aside your indignation or defensiveness and be present? Being able to take the viewpoint of another is one of the most important skills to have in relationships.

Step Away

When we cannot find peace, when we can’t change our interpretation, there is no benefit to sticking around people who upset us. Even my Sufi teacher, who is quite capable of staying detached from the emotional outburst of others, will walk away from angry people. Continuous emotional assault is damaging to the body, mind and soul and does not lead to emotional growth.

Sometimes, we simply need to break off a relationship or leave a group, because there is no way we can change under its influence. It is ok to leave, to give our selves space to heal. Like the oxygen mask rule on an airplane, we need to take care of ourselves before we can be of service to others.

As we uplift ourselves we uplift others.

Uplifting our social connections means developing an awareness of our social connections and our selves. It does not mean we abandon our family or friends, although we may at times limit the contact. We strive to improve our responses to others, to see their viewpoint but also set boundaries. We also learn when to leave.

To expand our influence and step more fully into our power, we  want to cultivate relationships with people who support our dreams and can help us find the way. Sometime this means finding a mentor, somebody who has been where we are and can guide us to where we want to go. Mentorship is the subject of my next blog — how to find a mentor, what to look for, how they can help, also how we mentor others.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Grief, Loss and Death Expert Dr. Michelle Peticolas, empowers professional women struggling with grief and loss to find peace-of-mind, closure and a life worth living. If you’re ready to shift into a whole new way of being with death and loss, a new way of living your life, get Michelle’s complimentary illustrated guide, Essentials for Grieving Well at www.secretsoflifeanddeath.com 


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