One of my fondest memories as a kid in the early 70’s was tuning-in to AM pop radio stations on family trips. This was during the days before the availability of digital car radio tuners. To listen to music without static, I had to be skilled at “tuning-in” to the desired station as we traveled. To enjoy the music while moving, I would need a steady hand on the dial, and an attentive ear to make the proper adjustments if the static starting crackling. Today, we are able to listen to the music we want with just the tap on our favorite streaming app without having to be attentive.
The idea of “tuning-in” also applies to the significant relationships in our lives. From the time we are infants, we have an innate desire to be attuned to: We depend on the attention and understanding of our caregivers so that we can feel important, have a sense of safety, and to receive comfort when upset. This feeling of being attuned to something is an essential part of any meaningful relationship. When we do not feel attuned to by others, we feel anxious and worried that we cannot count on them. Or, we may withdraw from others and protect ourselves from emotional hurt.
To reclaim the art of tuning-in into our loved ones, we first have to make ourselves available to them. In spite of feeling disconnected, we first have to make effort to be reachable when needed. Second, we must be open to other’s needs of validation, safety, and soothing ahead of our own similar needs. Last, we need to express genuine interest in the experience of others by listening attentively and staying present with them, no matter how upset they are.
Please know, it is never too late to “tune-in” to the ones we love. Tap into them and find the static-free zone.