Heather Hansen O’Neill is an award-winning speaker and author who fires up organizations and corporations on leadership, team development, and change management. I recently spoke with Heather about cultivating relationships and she says it all starts with YOU.
You say you can improve your relationships by cultivating the connection you have with yourself. What is your best advice on how to make a better connection with oneself?
First and foremost it’s important to value yourself enough to take the time and energy to discovery your needs, strengths, passions and hopes. We have to serve and fill ourselves first before we can most effectively help others. Journaling, reconnecting to what made you giddy as a child, discovering the sweet spot of those things that are talents of yours that you most enjoy, and movement that creates energy are wonderful ways to help you discover who you really are. When you connect with your higher self you are more attuned to what others need.
Do you think most people understand who they really are?
No. I think most understood at one point but that other people’s opinions, fearful experiences, and limiting thoughts have made it difficult to remember their essence.
If not, how does that present a barrier in their relationships?
When we are worried about others judging us or fearful that we aren’t enough, we make assumptions and often project those things onto others. When you connect to who you are at your core it releases those fears and allows you to be authentic and open in your interactions.
Does this vary by gender?
I’m not sure of the science behind it but in my experience women often experience a greater sense of losing themselves. We take on roles. Mother, sister, daughter, employee, boss, wife, etc and play those roles very well. But doing that and appeasing others can contribute to losing who you are.
What can we do to nurture our relationship with self every day?
Listen. Take quiet time each day to turn down the volume of the chaos around us and in our heads. Breathe. Then turn up the volume of the voices inside your heart. They will never let you down.
You can connect with Heather via her website for information about her services, her books, and speaking opportunities.