Let's get right to it. What is love to you?
Ha, that's a good one... To me, love is the unconditional acceptance of all that is. In yourself. And from there love for another arises. If you really want to connect with another, you must first be able to connect with yourself. Only then can you fully be there for the other, open and curious. That is a condition for really deeper contact. When you can be yourself completely, and invite the other to be that way too, then the most beautiful things happen.
Is your relationship with another so dependent on your relationship with yourself?
The challenges you have with others say more about your own challenges than about the other person. What another person brings about in you, or if you experience aversion to someone, is not so much a quality of the other person, as it is that you can make an internal investigation: 'Why does this trigger so much in me?' And that, of course, says everything about you. At the heart of it all, it's always you. And what you do with it is up to each individual. If you want to learn from it, you have the opportunity to do so.
Why would you want to learn from that?
Yes, why are you going to do a certain course? That can be a very flat story like 'it's so important for my job'. Yes, that's often the case, and especially when you're young, it's great to develop professionally. But at a certain point, that developmental question goes deeper than just learning something methodically or professionally.
Suppose you've had a number of relationships, and every time after a year it doesn't work out. Then you can ask yourself why. Is it because of the other person or am I doing something myself? And if at a certain point you start to resent that, then the willingness to investigate becomes greater. And if you investigate that and can change something in how you look at things, you also expect that things could be different in the future.
I ran into boundaries myself, in my thirties quite a lot. Then you start doing yoga and mindfulness, you are trying all kinds of things to get rid of those discomforts you experience. Until you find out that pushing those discomforts away only makes them stronger. So that resistance only increases.
So what do you do with those discomforts if you don't push them away?
You just sink in. The moment you can completely let go of resistance and surrender to what is, space for healing arises.
I went hiking in 2018, from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostella, then you're 5 weeks on the road so to speak. Those were very precious moments that give me a whole new perspective on life, on myself. If you would have told me 5 years ago: 'You are going to walk the camino' I would have laughed: 'What kind of nonsense is that? But you start walking at the moment you feel called. That can be a phase in your life or when you get older. So you can start asking yourself: why do I encounter this problem every time?
On the Camino you go very quickly into the depths with complete strangers. That's where I really made friends for life. I remember I walked there and talked with a woman. And she said: I meet such beautiful, warm people here. So I asked her why she thought that was. She didn't have an immediate answer. So I said, it's because you yourself are a very beautiful and warm person. So you attract what you send out.
If you can be yourself, and are open, you will see that the other does too. And then the communication and listening will happen automatically.
How about that at work?
People often have different roles at home and at work. Without wishing to embellish things with clichés, but if you're in construction, there's a certain stigma associated with it, and an expectation: you have to be tough. Whereas at home, in your safe environment, where you're really yourself, you might be very soft, open and friendly. But on the building site it's just: "Hey jerk! Then that tough, macho side is pushed to the top. While that may not suit you at all. You can't be yourself then.
What does a team gain if people can be themselves at work?
It's almost an open door. If you can be yourself completely within a team, it is super safe. Where you don't have to pretend to be different than you are, there are no hidden agendas, that's just win-win. And that, of course, is an enormous boost for cooperation and what you can achieve together. Because you also grant each other something, and understand each other, and are there for each other. That's very warm. That's love.
As an organisation, you benefit from the fact that illness does not occur so often in such a team. They are super motivated, they are super enthusiastic and they enjoy their work, because together they take it to the next level.
Isn't that unrealistic?
When I see how I sit within a team as FAC peers, the facilitators at RWS. Everyone there has their own interest, as a self-employed person. And everyone shares an experience with each other, namely the LEF Future centre. Everyone in it is so eager to share, learn and develop with each other. There's no pressure to do anything, it's all about curiosity and the desire to help each other. That also makes you very willing to maintain that relationship. If you see how much love and messages and cards, gifts and phone calls I get from that group now that I've broken my hip, I've never experienced that before, so intense. The fact that I experience this warmth now is also largely a result of the fact that I started to give more of it. Apparently you get that back.
How does that work now that we're all remotely connected to Corona. Can you feel a connection between colleagues now?
Despite being at a distance, I did experience a lot of warmth through gestures that happened off-camera. I have had very connecting moments with people who were not in the living room with me. In the end, I do prefer real live contact. Because a lot happens in live contact: you enter someone's space, someone enters your space. All sorts of things are happening that we don't even know about. Your senses are stimulated even more. And online you have less of that. But that in the end you can maintain real connecting contacts online is beyond dispute for me.
A lot of people feel lonely and say they miss real contact with colleagues. So how do you provide that connection online?
That's the question. What it ultimately comes down to is: how authentic can you be? Yes, I also miss the contacts with colleagues, the warmth, the hugs. But the interesting question is: 'What do you miss most of all?' And the next question is 'What does that make you feel? And maybe you'll find out that you can't really be alone, and that you like having people around you because they distract you from being alone. Could be. But how nice it is to know that and not to resist.
Look, I also read the reports that there is much more violence in the home, that children are oppressed, sometimes just abused, partners having a hard time with each other. If you have the space, and a big garden, you can escape that. But if you are stuck on 60 square meters with 5 people, and maybe lost your job, I can imagine that it is a powder keg where a lot happens. But do you dare to talk about it with others? Because there is of course a lot of shame involved. And by hiding that shame and pretending the world looks rosy, you are swallowing a lot of stress. It will come out sooner or later. With the result that you drop out or whatever.
How can colleagues help each other with this?
If a colleague is having a hard time with something, fine, it's no big deal. But you don't leave each other to your fate, and you provide guidance. But how can you do that if you don't know that the colleague is struggling, because it's not expressed, or because that person thinks they're inferior. Or has assumptions that he is the only one struggling with this, or that it is stupid to have that problem.
When you experience something unpleasant, you are confronted with yourself. But these are also the moments that teach you the most. It could be a burn-out, or a death, or whatever. That also makes you resilient. If you are successful and everything is going well for you, that is all wonderful, but you learn nothing from it.
But if those fears can just be there and you can just share them with each other. How liberating is that? Love between colleagues and safety where you can share all that is very healing. To yourself, and also to others. Because not everyone is able to share just like that. I've also noticed that if you can be very open about your own struggles, people can suddenly say: 'Oh, I actually experience that too'. And then a story is told.
And that's perfectly possible online. You don't always have to be there to take care of someone. If someone has a problem and needs a listening ear, you can do that online or on the phone. And if necessary, you can visit each other in a park and abide by the rules, or not. That's up to everyone.
Do you also want to let the love with your colleagues blossom? A lot of people find it hard to be themselves in front of colleagues. Don't force yourself to go into depth with each other. On the Love Island in the virtual world of Mibo, Roland touches on these subjects with the depth that you can handle. Click here to schedule an intake.