Connection with others – do you withhold consent?

As humans we need to connect with others – friends, your partner, family, colleagues, or your broader community.

But sometimes connection is hard, awkward, or feels incomplete. Have you ever felt that?

How can we connect with others authentically without compromising our boundaries? Especially for the highly sensitive among us – how can we safeguard our well-being and still connect in a meaningful way with the people in our lives?

In these past few years, I’ve been curious about this, actively seeking knowledge and here are a few things I’ve been exploring.

The first step is simple yet profound.

Listen to the wisdom of your body

Your body’s wisdom is a guide. When your body signals comfort and joy, that’s the green light to extend your hand. When discomfort, tension, or even pain arises, it’s a gentle reminder to reassess and recalibrate.

It’s easier said than done though. In modern society we have a more distant relationship with our bodies’ wisdom.

In the past, I have tended to jump up into intellect rather than tuning into the body. As a highly sensitive person, I spent years shutting off the connection to my emotions as a way to protect my sanity! Opting instead for te safety of reason and intellect. It’s been a journey to connect and feel again.

I’ll be writing more about this in the coming weeks. Diving deeper and sharing guided visualizations for you to explore this with me. Be sure to subscribe to my emails to get these resources directly to your inbox.

If this is something that sparks your interest, I write about it in my book too.

Learning about consent

To connect, truly connect, we must understand consent.

I’ve recently found that in my life and work, I often withhold consent. I’m so determined to avoid causing hurt to others, that I miss out on a true and deep connection.

When I’m worried, so worried about hurting other people, I violate my own boundaries to try and make them more comfortable. But that’s NOT connection. It’s quite the opposite. And worse still, other people can feel that. It tarnishes the interaction that you’re having with others.

In these moments I’m learning to pay attention to my body. Tapping into that wisdom.

How do I feel interacting with this person?

If I don’t want to interact with that person, then I don’t need to, I can interact with somebody else. And if they’re upset about it, they are wise enough and strong enough and competent enough to deal with that and handle that themselves.

The key point here is to respect the other person enough to walk away. I’m not taking responsibility for their reaction. I respect them. I know they are capable.

Your body is a wise companion in all of this. It helps you navigate connections, signaling when to step forward, when to pause, and when to step away.

Each interaction becomes a moment of shared consent and mutual respect.

Connections that honor both yourself and the other person are authentic. It takes practice to notice the signals your body sends you but with time you’ll learn (and continue to learn) where the boundaries are.

Connections are truly fulfilling when you consent. But you don’t owe anyone that consent.

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My book

If you have enjoyed this article and would like to take this journey further, check out my book The Good Thing About Mortar Shells: Choosing love over fear”.