Modern Day Obstacles to Real Connections
I recently read an article on Huffington Post called “To Be Where I Am“. The article’s author, Wendy Lustbader, discusses her choices for not owning a smartphone, and an interaction she had with a “bright, warm-hearted” 17-year old who continued to use her smartphone while engaged in conversation together.
Lustbader, who is a Medical Social Worker, writes, “I like to be where I am…. Especially if I am walking with a beloved person in the woods near my home, I wouldn’t want my attention to shift to some other person and place.”
Her article resonated with me because we consider ourselves now to be so “connected”, but with much of our attention focused on smartphones, cell phones, mobile tablets, iPods, and internet connected computers, we can often find ourselves disconnected from our families, partners, friends, and others in our community.
Disconnected, even if those with whom we desire real connections from are sitting right beside us.
Somehow we can have so many “followers” on Twitter and Instagram, or “friends” on Facebook, but yet many of us can still experience feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Barbara Fredrickson, author of Love 2.0, commented, “We need to be socially active, connected face-to-face.” Fredrickson’s book discusses the impact of love and connection have to our biological selves, which “quite literally change key aspects of your cellular architecture.”
Personal connection is a crucial component of our emotional health and overall well-being. Sherri Turkle, professor of psychology at MIT, said communication via technology can give “us the feeling that we can hide from each other. We can construct our texts to be who we want to be…we can sort of hide in plain sight.”
While it is possible to foster more connectedness within ourselves through mindfulness and thoughtful reflection, the prevalence of communicating with others primarily through technology has also had the affect of challenging our ability to engage in relationships in person.
Connectedness within ourselves and others is an acquired skill with practice. Some ways to practice connectedness is maintaining regular in-person contact with others, setting aside a few minutes a day for meditation, and committing to communicating in real time in relationships, especially with those closest to us.
Bottom line, it’s about wanting and working toward fulfillment. Making real connectedness a factor in our lives, can potentially add personal growth and development to our everyday experiences.
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