Today's thoughts will be short. However, they are very important as Dr. Cloud gives us some skills or tools to learn how to bond.
I'll list the tools that Dr. Cloud talks about with a brief comment on each:
Realize the Need
If you don't realize that your relational problems stem from a lack of bonding and attachment you can never begin to heal. Many of us have grown up in families where closeness and bonding were not valued, and we may have been traumatized and have forgotten how to bond. In order for healing to happen one must realize the need for attachment.
Move Toward OthersBe intentional about making connection with others. For those who have difficulty bonding moving toward others can be very hard, but they must seek out others for help and support.
We can move toward others, get socially involved and have people around us, but still remain isolated. The next step from moving toward others is being vulnerable. This is the hardest of all the skills to learn, the ability to be open and honest with others is for some people like jumping off a cliff. This step however must happen, if not all at once, then in little steps, cracking the door of you life open a little further every time.
Dr. Cloud remarks, "humility and vulnerability are absolutely necessary for bonding to take place at a deep level."
Rely on the Holy Spirit
We need the assistance of the Holy Spirit to bring about real and Godly change to our lives. Since God is a relational God we need to strive to be relational in our dealings with those that God has placed in our lives. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to fight against old patterns of thinking and against the defense mechanisms that we erect in our minds that keep us from bonding with others.
Be EmpathicDr. Cloud tells us that empathy is "the ability to share in anothers' emotions. thoughts, or feelings. Empathizing with others' needs, identifying with their hurt, softens your own heart."
Many times those who get close to others who are hurting find that they begin to heal and grow emotionally, and find it easier to connect with those around them.
The next several posts will deal with the need to separate from others. Dr. Cloud talks about the need to set boundaries in our lives. How many times have we allowed others to control us because we have not set the proper boundaries in our personal lives? How many times have we gotten stuck in bad relationships because we have failed to enforce good and healthy boundaries in our lives?
Spend some time thinking about how God sets boundaries in our lives for our good.