This year has been pretty crazy hard but I am so thankful for the huge blessing, support and encouragement you have all been to me. A few months ago I read a book called the The Power of the Other by Dr. Henry Cloud. I am now rereading this book with a great friend of mine from uni. I wanted to take the time to unpack what I have been learning and to share the important message of the book.
The Power of the Other focuses on the impact and influence that other people have on our lives. In one of the early chapters Cloud describes that our need for relational connection is similar to a phone’s need for cellular connectivity. Like a phone without good connectivity our battery will quickly be depleted and our capabilities will be restricted. Without a connection a phone cannot download new information, our feeds can not be updated, the bugs in our code cannot be fixed and our GPS won’t work. We are desperate for connectivity – so much so that an infant who is deprived of connection can experience inhibited physical and mental growth. Connection is vital, but good connection is critical.
Cloud describes four types of connection in his book – referring to them collectively as the four corners of connection. I am writing this post because knowing which corner you are in is paramount, because if you find yourself in the wrong corner it can be incredibly destructive to your growth and health. So without hesitation let’s jump into them.
Corner One – Disconnected and isolated.
Individual’s living in corner one are isolated emotionally from others. It should be noted that people living in corner one may not be socially inept, absent minded or unpopular, some corner one individuals are incredibly charismatic, extroverted and are surrounded by people. However, these individual’s do not allow themselves, or do not feel safe, to become emotional vulnerable to another person. As a result they perceive that they need to overcome all of life’s challenges on their own. This can lead to increased stress, lowered energy levels, feeling disconnected and disappointed with relationships and under performing.
A feeling of disconnection and isolation can lead people to become desperate for any kind of relationship, luring them into corner two.
Corner Two – Bad Connection
Cloud states that a bad connection “is not necessarily a connection with a bad or abusive person, although it may be” but rather a connection with a person that makes an individual not feel good enough. This might be a parent, boss or friend who pulls you down, or who makes you feel that you can never meet the expectations they have of you. We can be become crippled and preoccupied with desperately trying to please this individual – even though we know this may never be achieved. Being running down and discouraged we once again go out looking for something to medicate our disappointment. This can lead us back into corner one or attempt to find solace in corner three.
Corner Three – The False Good Connection
Corner one and two left us feeling inadequate, unappreciated and alone. So we’re going to find a connection that makes us feel really good to compensate. This might take the form of an unhealthy attachment to external recognition and affirmation, an addiction, an affair or the acquisition of things. Anything to smooth our hurt. We look for people that are only going to give us good news and shower us in flattery. The problem with these connections is that it does not resolve the source of the hurt – it simply temporarily masks the pain. Sometimes our corner three actions make us feel guilty or the shallowness of the people who flatter us becomes evident and we fall back into corner one, starting the cycle over again. If we find ourselves in any of these corners what we desperately need is a corner four relationship.
Corner Four – Real Connection
Corner four relationships liberate individuals to be all that they can be. Corner four relationships make it safe for us to be vulnerable. To share our dreams, our achievements, our fears and failures with the knowledge that the other person will safeguard these things. Corner four relationships tell us what we need to hear, not always what we want to hear. They help us to assess our needs and empower us to meet them. They are patient and kind, they do not envy or judge. They hold us accountable and teach us to be accountable for our actions. They show us how to look after our interests, the interests of others involved and the outcomes of our decisions. They provide heart felt and empathic feedback. They describe what they desire and do not expect us to guess. They show us how to keep trying when we fall down and that failure is a means of improvement and not a sign of defeat. Corner four relationships focus on the problem and not the person. Corner four relationships listen with an open mind.
It is not only important to identify which corner you are in, but also to identify which corner you provide to others. I am so grateful to the mentors and encouragers who have shown me what a corner four connection looks like. I hope that I can have the same positive impact on other people’s live as you have had one mine.
On a side note:
As a part of the UC Graduate Showcase I have become eligible to apply for a Stir creative grant. The grant of $500 will be given to the student with the most supporters for their project – with the tally to be counted on Friday. If I receive the grant I will be putting the money towards developing this blog further. I would love your support.
To help you will need to:
Follow this link – http://causeastir.com.au/project/still-timothy-fulton/
Click the black button that says: “Support this project”
Fill in the three questions and then enter your email (A pain I know! 😛 but I would really appreciate your backing).
Thank you so much to everyone for their generosity and encouragement this year – it is continuing to help me through a really difficult period of my life. Love you all – Tim.