Along the way, I think society has made mixed strides when it comes to personal relationships. Social Media has allowed us to connect with people all over the globe, Skype has let us feel closer to those far away by letting us see those we are talking. E-mail has made keeping in touch immediate and no longer reliant on the unpredictability of the postal service. These are all positive new directions that I applaud and use on a daily basis.
There is always a negative, though. Those who have been raised with all this in place do not seem to quite understand true connectivity. There is a lack of really being present in the moment with Twitter and IM's (Instant Messaging) constantly calling for one's attention. Honestly - when was the last time you were with a group of people and there wasn't anyone checking their phone? Communication is often made up of short notes or 140 character tweets with very little depth. These are very superficial ways to connect. They serve a much needed purpose, but are no substitute for an all-in-the-moment, 100% there conversation with a friend or group of friends.
I don't think most realize what is happening until a crisis hits. Usually there is a wonderful outpouring of sympathy through these outlets which has great value, but in true times of need there is nothing like another human being there with you helping you through - someone who knows you and how to be there for you in the moment. Someone who has put their phone and other distractions aside to focus on you. Someone to give you a hug, listen to your fears and make sure you are okay. Someone you can lean on. And there is no great joy that beng the person another can lean on for support.
| "Expect nothing for your generosity. Not gratitude, not fanfare. Generosity |
is not for your comfort... it is to soothe the ache in others." - Shane Koyczan,
I think everyone should have holidays from all these distractions whether it be a day out, a week's holiday or even a few hours on a daily basis where you disconnect. Meditate, exercise, spend time with others, read a book or have a walk and enjoy the world around you. While I know this will be a challenge for many, and withdrawal might create a bit of anxiety (...my friends get upset if I don't answer right away....), it's a journey worth taking. Each time you walk away for even small amount it will get easier. You will find the chance to deepen friendships and create a lasting support net work where you mutually support each other.
For my friends - this is a reminder. If you need me - LEAN ON ME! I am here for you.
NOTE - There is an interesting article at CNN call Exploring the Anti-Social Side of Social Media including a video of a performance art piece on isolation.