The Repercussions of Loneliness
You know that feeling when you’re in a new crowd or group, you finally find a pause and are just trying to connect and say something clever or funny...But the group doesn’t catch on, and that sinking feeling of having to explain your so-called joke sets in...The remorse, embarrassment, loneliness, disconnect. You aren’t understood. These aren’t your people.
These feelings aren’t too far off from the disconnect we feel when trying to explain our story or day to someone who is on their phone. How many times have you wanted to connect with anyone, but got deterred because they had a phone to their face?
You know what I mean? I know you do, because you and I live in a modern technology-driven 21st century and this is usually a daily occurrence. Unless you’re always surrounded by ultra conscious and aware human beings, more likely than not, your relationships look a lot like this a lot of the time.
It’s disheartening. And the more comfortable or close we seem to be with people, the easier it becomes to disconnect and check out on our devices. In reflection upon our own and our peers' relationships, there were countless nights we might come home from work and after initial ‘how are you’s’ and dinner, the remaining four or so hours before bed we’d find distraction through various devices - phones, video games, or tv’s.
We work all day - come home to what should be the most important relationship of our lives - then distract ourselves further, by choice, eliminating opportunities to connect.
Think about how sad a lifetime of this, looking back, would make you feel…
One of the greatest regrets of the dying is disconnection and/or lack of quality time spent building memories (moments) with people they loved or enjoyed. This is frightening! Because, as we always hear about in this Technology Age, we have better opportunities to connect more than ever. There’s a double-edged sword to all this ‘connectedness’ though. Don’t you see it?
We’re also in the Information Age. Information has never been more accessible, available, and easily created into eye-catching content for us all to consume. Consuming is what human beings are good at, down to the very basic biological function, human beings must consume to live and grow and reproduce. Our brains are wired for this, which means just as we have to fight other biological urges by using advanced intellect that only human beings have, we must use that same intellect to fight consumption urges that take away from being a human soul - that take away from connecting to others on the most basic level, in small, but beautiful moments.
Something profound I once read (I’ll blame my ‘pregnancy brain’ for not remembering where…) said something like this:
Every small, insignificant moment [when someone asks for help, voices a need, comes to you for advice, or strikes up a conversation] has the potential to become an opportunity to connect; an opportunity to change the course of a life, which is the essence of the human spirit.
This idea, then, makes being conscious of where, when, and how we connect the most important way we can fulfill our life as a human soul.
The media is doing its job. Social media is doing what it was intended for. Every news outlet is pulling our attention for the latest soundbites AND. IT’S. WORKING. This is all on purpose. Instead of creating a conscious connection with a human in the moment, our attention is being pulled away, the ego too afraid to experience FOMO if we don’t just step away for a bit.
Our ego thinks that when we’re in the middle of reading an article or watching a video or playing a game that it won’t be there if we have to pause. So, we experience heightened feelings of frustration, anxiousness, stress, and/or annoyance when:
- We’re pulled away by our child asking for some help with his puzzle; or
- Our wife asks us a question we pretend to ignore just to get to the end of the video; or
- When our husband gets home from his 10-hour shift, wants to talk with you about his day, but instead we prioritize the work email…
These may seem like insignificant moments (there’s that word again), but what’s really happening is that we are missing opportunities to connect, albeit, with the most important people in our lives. We get comfortable. We think they’ll always be there, despite relationships crumbling. And with compounding effects, we miss creating a life of memories through conscious connection.
I know from sending plenty of poorly-timed work emails that the satisfaction you get after sending it will never amount to the same satisfaction you’ll feel after connecting with your husband.
As I prepare to enter into motherhood and raise a baby boy with my husband, the type of loving and connected environment we create in our home has become evermore significant. Our world is leaps and bounds ahead of our great grandparents. Our generation isn’t fighting for survival. We have the luxury of discovering how to create a life intune with our soul’s greatest desires - what a concept! Self-discovery means we don’t have to “go with the flow”. We get to CONSCIOUSLY create our own little world in our homes. Grandma always said, “charity starts at home”. If we can be more present and connected to our loved ones at home, just like any other skill as we practice, we’ll be able to better connect to others outside of it.Connection is love. Smiling first says “I see you. I acknowledge you. You are important”. Too many people feel unheard, unseen, and this leads to the atrocities we see and experience today. The list is innumerable, but we all know the damage we feel when we’re not being seen, heard, or understood - loneliness has repercussions beyond what we see as just an insignificant moment.