We put on a good face when at work, with our family and with our friends. But the reality is we walk around with a void tearing at our hearts. Even when people surround us, we feel very lonely. We may even cry in private. Sad and Lonely is not how we ever imagined life to be. It is not how life is meant to be.
In today’s world of technology, we have a greater ability to connect with people than ever before. Facebook and other social media sites offer a chance to have hundreds, even thousands of online friends. Facetime, Skype, and Zoom allow us to talk for free to people all over the world.
The question is why in today’s connected world are people feeling more disconnected and alone than ever before. The rates of depression, social anxiety, and other serious mental illnesses are on the rise. Why do we feel so lost and alone when we have so many in our virtual lives?
I am a constant observer of people. That is why I studied psychology, and I have never stopped. It is one of my great passions, especially women who more likely seem to fall prey to the sadness and loneliness though she has a partner, kids, and friends.
People, in general, have developed these lives in a private bubble. They may be at a restaurant with friends, at work, out in public but they are still in this bubble they have taught themselves to withdraw. You see them everywhere staring at whatever device they have in their hands, never making real eye contact or speaking to those they come across or pass by.
People not being able to connect looks to me as a social trend of avoiding casual interactions with others. Do you wonder why you now have social anxiety? You have forgotten how to be around other people. People are growing more self-conscience, insecure, and less able to spontaneously interact with other people in their environment. I have seen people who do not interact well with people they do know.
The lack of connecting with others is really upsetting to me. This is one thing leads to loneliness. I have seen people in a city of millions live a lonely life.
I was walking down an office hallway, and a lady was walking by. I just said my usually simple greeting. “Hi, how are you today?” She said I’m good,” but as she walked away, I heard her say, “Wow, she is friendly.” That used to be how people passed each other all the time. Now they direct their eyes to whatever device they are holding, or they plug their ears with buds, so they do not have to interact.
I felt good by what she said. I know that simple greeting put a smile on her face. It may have changed the path of her whole day. AND …. IT MADE ME FEEL GOOD.
People used to strike up conversations on park benches, in the restaurants, on the bus, and in elevators. When did that stop? When did people become so afraid to speak to other people?
I think people have found a sense of safety by placing themselves in the bubble. Now you will not feel rejection; Now you will not see looks of disapproval in the eyes of strangers. We are projecting fears that are not real. With avoiding people and possible rejection or judgement, we are losing out on some of the most important aspects of human sharing. We are losing out on the story the WW II vet can share, the woman whose daughter just had her first baby four weeks early and survived. The child who won his first race at school. We lose out on things that let us know there are still amazing people and amazing stories in the world.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying throw away all your electronic devices. I have two phones, two tables, a laptop, and a desktop computer. And those are just mine, not what is in the household. I am not anti-device. The difference is that they do not rule my world. You will rarely see me walking through the halls at work with one in my hand. They are tucked in my purse at the store. They are in my room when I am at home. And they are put away when I am with friends. The difference is I am not a sad and lonely person. I connect with people every day and every chance I get. I know that this is a very special quality of being human.
You are probably saying that I must be one of those very social people. No, I deal with social anxiety. I had a run in with serious clinical depression, and I took the medications. But I did not want that to be who I was. I choose to live a very intentional life and choose to be who I saw myself as. Exceptional.
In my marketing world, I see every day that people will respond quickest to texting. People will do that over the email or phone contact. The difference is that when I can get someone on the phone, they have a chance to share, they are free to express themselves, and when they get to the office, they can find a path to healing and seeing direction to move forward in their lives. The more intimate the interaction, the more healing it is. Our clients become loved people and even friends. We laugh and cry together, and we share stories, happy and sad times. The openness is possible because we reach out and make the connection. We invite people in.
The lives that I get to impact the greatest are that I speak to and listen to face to face.
I also observe, through my writing, the topics that people are most drawn to. I can write about improving finances, business strategy, improving relationships, but what people are reading is how not to be sad, lonely, and angry.
As a society, we have created a very lonely world. We are not teaching our children to put down their devices and put themselves out there amongst people. We are not even setting an example as adults.
As induvial, we can turn it around by putting down our phones and talking with people who cross our paths. We have gotten so used to protecting ourselves in our bubbles, Even fearing what will happen when we leave them. Humans are designed to be social and to connect with others. Real connections are not electronic.
I am no longer a lonely person. I was years ago. I felt so isolated, and nI felt that no one wanted to reach out to me. I realized I was projecting that image, that I didn’t’ want to be bothered. I had to take the first step and just smile at someone.; say something nice. I was able by the simple one-on-one encounters; simple time spent listening to people, to fill the void of loneliness.
Growing in this way was a big part of my intentional living. It was a huge step when working through anxiety, low self-confidence, and self-doubt. I was able to take huge steps to grow my life by living intentionally. I have expanded it to all parts of my life.
- my business
- my job
- my health
- weight and much more.
So, my question for you is this. What can you do today to start opening yourself up to others? Real people who you pass by every day? Do you feel that is you start to strike up a simple conversation you may enrich your life experience? I know you will. Instead of looking for the motivational story on Facebook, look for the stories right around you. It is amazing how that void will begin to fill up.
When you take a break at work, occasionally leave your phone on your desk and just take a walk. Your peace of mind will be so much better. Look at the sky, watch a squirrel play, do something relaxing and you will go back in much more at peace and productive.
Please leave a comment below. Share your ideas. I would love to hear from you.