One of the problems we face is a lack of support and connection. There are many different needs: jobs, housing, spouses, advice, friendship and in our increasingly busy world there seems to be a shortage of people to turn to.
A first step is to try to create a consciousness of connection and caring. We’re not all in the position to run big projects but we’re all in the position to take small steps to collectively address the problem.
Some of the best advice I’ve heard on this subject is from Rebbetzin Heller, who points out that creating connection involves asking ourselves two questions when we’re talking to someone:
1) What can I learn from this person?
2) What can I give to this person?
Everybody has knowledge, insights and perspectives that we don’t have and that they want to share. All we have to do is listen and learn and in the process we not only gain from what they teach, but we also create a connection to the person.
Giving comes in many shapes and sizes like finding someone a job, making a shidduch, giving advice, giving compliments, building confidence or just having a listening ear. Giving is the great connection generator and if we just raise our awareness of what’s involved, we can create the bonds we all want and need.
One of the foremost experts on behavior change suggests the follow steps to create new habits:
1) Make it tiny – simplify the behavior
2) Find a spot in your routine where this tiny behavior can fit in
3) Train the cycle – do it every day
If once a day we approach a person with the consciousness of learning and/or giving we can grow this habit and create beneficial connections for ourselves and all the people we come in contact with.
One of the things we want to do through Beyond BT is host live events where people can connect with one another. The next one is an Oneg scheduled this Shabbos, February 11 from 8:30 pm to 11:30 pm in Kew Gardens Hills. We encourage everybody in Kew Gardens Hills this Shabbos to stop by. It’ll give you a great opportunity to work on your new learning/giving/connecting habit.