More often than not, as soon as we open our eyes in the morning, “stories” immediately start running through our minds. Some of these stories may be relatively innocuous (prioritizing tasks for the day at work, mapping out that new route for a commute) while others might actually influence the way we see other people. We may start the day with preconceptions about our spouse or partner, our child, or a roommate based on a recent experience or interaction. And beyond the home, we may already have “stories” about our neighbors, grocery store clerks, work colleagues, the barista in our favorite coffee shop, and even complete strangers.
Looking at the surface, we may make a snap judgement that a person is beautiful, or not. We’re wired to do this, to base assumptions on appearance, but when we dismiss others in this way, we miss out on seeing the person that exists behind the body, beyond our preconceptions of who they are.
Sometimes it’s easier to operate on auto-pilot in our everyday relationships, but this tendency to automatically interpret the world can lead to disconnection, dis-ease, and unhappiness in life.
However, if we intentionally practice being more open and receptive to others, and repeatedly make an effort look beyond the surface, we can create real and lasting connection, which is an essential ingredient for enduring happiness.
I invite you to try this 4 step practice today with anyone you come in contact: