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Mutual Attunement

Attunement is our ability to be aware of and appropriately respond to the emotions of another person. Whether we have mutual attunement with a parent, friend, co-worker, relative, teacher, elder, etc., mutual attunement helps us feel emotionally connected to other people. Attunement starts the moment we are born, with examples like when a mother coo’s and hums to her new-born to help soothe the baby. Another example is when a toddler does or says something silly that makes both the toddler and caregiver burst out laughing together.

While I was growing up, I often did not feel mutually attuned to my immediate family while I
resided in my family home with them. It wasn’t until I moved out on my own and was in my late 20’s and into my early 30’s that I truly understood what being mutually attuned to someone felt like and what that meant.

Now, I strive to have regular moments of mutual attunement and connection with the people that I love, including with my immediate family. I intentionally look for open lines of communication and/or interactions throughout the day to emotionally connect to and/or check in with my people. I want them to know that sometimes small things happen in my day that make me think about them and how much I love them. I want them to know that I care about them and how they are feeling.

When considering family systems, it is important for each member of a family to feel like they are emotionally heard, validated, honored, and/or connected to. Mutual attunement allows us to acknowledge the emotional needs of another person. Additionally, it gives us space to respond to the emotional needs of another person appropriately. Sometimes, life can feel busy and stressful, but it is important for families to slow down each day to ensure they mutually attune to one another. This creates a feeling of emotional safety for all members of the family.

Practicum Student at Navera Community Connections