Humanity, Human Connection and Mental Health
I recently had my yearly review at my full time job, and I've been reflecting on what it takes to be a positive and effective leader and role model to others. The main component that I return to consistently is the idea of showing my humanity. Why is this valuable and what does it mean for developing leaders and improving the quality of relationships?
In this instance I am referring to humanity as "the qualities that make us human, such as the ability to love and have compassion, be creative, and not be a robot or alien." The bosses that I can reflect on in a positive light and felt that they supported me were the ones who would level with me on a regular basis. They weren't "all business" and could take a moment to put themselves in my shoes in order to understand my frustrations or concerns. The supervisors that lacked humanity were a challenge to work with, and I began to dread our interactions. As a supervisor, I have learned that if I show my humanity and level with them, it can increase their dedication to their work and improve the quality of our relationship. What does this mean for everyday relationships with your parents, friends or colleagues?
It means that as a whole, we connect better in relationships with others when we show empathy and can maybe even admit some of our struggles or shortcomings. It means living a life that is opposite of what we see on social media. It's understanding the universal truth that things are rarely what they seem, that no one is perfect and everyone is on their own unique journey. It's acknowledging that most people have something they are working on or struggling with that occupies their mind every day. There is an incredibly freeing element to a conversation when you are comfortable expressing your vulnerability; you ultimately give someone else the permission to do it too.
Whether you identify as a boss, parent, a friend or family member, you have the opportunity to show your humanity in your relationships. What would it be like if you were on autopilot less with your conversations with others? How can you give and receive more love and support with people you care about? Sometimes it's something small like trying to listen without judgment or it's letting a friend know you are having a tough day and need support. Either way, it is worth trying to show more humanity in your interactions with other because it has the capacity to deepen relationships and improve your interpersonal connections.