Connection Beyond the Computer

We've heard it time and time again, the internet and social media has made us more connected than any other time in history. That is a fact, but is it really a good thing? Like many issues, it's not that simple. Being connected has not solved the inner struggles we face as people. The need for community, close relationships and general feeling of contentment seem to be missing in this age of social media. In short, many feel isolated by being connected to so many people's highlight reels.

There is a level of comfort that happens in real world, face to face relationships that current generations are missing out on as all the conversations of their youth are fully documented in text streams. There was once a time where you would sit with a friend and pour your heart out. The two of you would encourage and share your burdens. In that, you would learn that you didn't have to be perfect to be close with someone. These are the friendships of the past, and now friends have been replaced with therapists. You pour your heart out to a stranger who looks at you with a stranger's empathy and asks how it makes you feel instead of hugging it out. That isn't a knock against therapist whatsoever, it's just an observation. Therapy is a useful tool that often helps people overcome some of the more intense adversity a person has faced. Friends are there for the day to day challenges and it's been found in research that the day to day challenges are what grind us down into a helpless start.

A growing concern is the mass distribution of memes splattered all over social media. Here's what I mean by that. When you read a meme, you are left with an idea, but it is up to you to learn the tools needed to incorporate that level of thinking into your subconscious. For example, "It's not what happens to you, but how you react to what happens to you that matters", is a popular meme. That's great, but if you have no idea on what goes into getting to that point, then these bits of knowledge become background noise and you lose the motivation to adopt such thinking every time you find yourself reacting to what happens to you. These things make us feel good reading them and leave us empty when we can't execute. That is something I have found success in helping people do; learn those types of skills from the ground up.

We need connection in our lives. People need to start coming by our house for coffee and conversation. Having that trust in someone is cathartic. Having friends we can go to share our success and failure with is essential to give our lives that deeper meaning. I am not saying social media is the devil, like anything, it's what you make of it. I'm just saying don't put all your hope for meaningful connection into a platform designed to show our best moments. Remember not to compare your life to those highlights or allow yourself to think that everyone else is living their best life and you're the only one with challenges. We're all people and we all have good lives that have areas we need to pay attention to. I encourage everyone to build meaningful relationships with other people in the real world and restore that connectedness we all need in life.

#change #anxiety

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