Notice the common traits of the situations in which you most thrive and with whom you shine. Only then can seek out more of those kinds of situation and individuals, in friendship and in love.
Hint: Where does your best side come out and when are you able to use your best talents?
Next, recognize that the opposite of love or fondness isn’t hate but disinterest. Emotions Revealed author, Paul Ekman takes that finding a bit further. In his research (described in Blink), Ekman discovered that when one person in a relationship of any kind expresses disgust for another the relationship is doomed. In fact, the higher the ratio of disgust vs. any kind of positive response one has to another in an interaction, the more rapidly the demise of that connection.
It probably comes as no surprise to you that the more strongly you feel about someone the more intensely you react to whatever that person says or does – or even when you hear about that person.
Emotional Intelligence author, Daniel Goleman, in his book, Social Intelligence, explains some of the science that backs up that instinctive notion. He writes, “One person’s inner state affects and drives the other person. We’re forming brain-to-brain bridges—a two-way traffic system—all the time. We actually catch each other’s emotions like a cold.
“The more important the relationship, the more potent such ‘contagion’ will be. A stranger’s putdown may roll off your back, while the same zinger from your boss is devastating,” writes Mark Matousek for AARP.
“If we’re in toxic relationships with people who are constantly putting us down, this has actual physical consequences,” Goleman says. Stress produces a harmful chemical called cortisol, which interferes with certain immune cell functions.
Alternatively positive interactions prompt the body to secrete oxytocin (the same chemical released during lovemaking), boosting the immune system and decreasing stress hormones. As a doting grandparent himself, Goleman often feels this felicitous rush. ”I was just with my two-year-old granddaughter,” he says. ‘This girl is like a vitamin for me. Being with her actually feels like a kind of elixir. The most important people in our lives can be our biological allies.”
Win a lottery? You’re probably euphoric for some while, yet you’ll eventually go back to your usual mood. That is, each of us has a “set point of happiness” – our most frequent mood state.
Good news. These tendencies are not locked in. Anger-prone people, for example, can “infect” themselves with calmness by spending time with mellower individuals, absorbing less-aggressive behavior and thereby sharpening social intelligence. Here’s more good news…
The more positively you feel about someone the more likely it is that you will evoke positive feelings in that person towards you. Thus the two of you can spiral up in a pattern of increasingly positive interactions.
Whatever you praise will probably flourish. In effect you’ve instigated a mutually-reinforcing belief — a self-fulfilling prophecy that both of you motivated to prove to be true. In short: people like people who like them.
If you’d like to befriend a wide range of people (and thus serendipitously pull in apt people to complement your talents to accomplish more with others, then focus on these things, each time you meet or re-meet someone:
• Keep top-of-mind the part of that person that you most like and admire as you interact with her or him.
• Speak first and most about their specific ideas and actions that you most value.
Seek Sayings That Support You in Cultivating a Mutuality Mindset
Becoming more deeply connected with those you admire and love bolsters, in you, the traits you most admire in them.
The better you know your best talent and temperament the more adept you become in finding those with complementary traits.
Interconnectedness increases frequency of serendipitous encounters and unexpected insights that enable deeper friendships and faster innovation
Bring out the better side in others and they are more likely to see and support yours.
When the spotlight’s on you, shine it on those you admire, citing their positive exploits, thus making it brighter for them and you. You may become the glue that holds a group together.
A large, diverse group of non-experts often outperforms a small group of similar experts.
Inclusion inspires innovation because we can see more sides of situations.
Give enough others what they need you often get what you need, sometimes before you know you need it and sometimes from someone you didn’t know could provide it.
See others’ slights or outright insults as opportunities to show equanimity, spurring observers to do the same, unified with you around a best side of us.
In a civilization when love is gone we turn to justice and when justice is gone we turn to power and when power is gone we turn to violence.
We can’t know which interactions will deepen into richer relationships, yet we can keep the faith that our mutuality mindset affirms them.
Mutuality most demonstrates our humanity and, in the end, that may be what most matters in our lives.