One thing we can be sure of in this world is our need to connect with others. As society and our lives get further fragmented, humans are constantly in search of new ways to connect with each other; through social utilities like Facebook and MySpace, as well as internet and Speed Dating. Unfortunately, with a society set up for personal gratification and acquisition, we can easily get disconnected without even realizing it. As with any problem, it needs to be identified before it can be fixed. Here are some common behaviors and emotions that indicate you're feeling disconnected:
Habitual lateness, sarcasm, looking for problems, preoccupation with your own thoughts, overworking, name-calling, drinking/using drugs, lying, blaming, perfectionism, being a people pleaser, impatience, overspending, being judgemental, withholding affection, keeping secrets, being bossy, procrastinating.
When we engage in these behaviors, we are disconnecting or losing touch with the people our behaviors are being projected upon, as well as ourselves. When we're constantly late, we are not respecting the time of those who are waiting for us. When we're sarcastic, we are trying to mask our true feelings by using "humour". When we over-work, we stop listening to our own body and mind's needs. When we lie, we're keeping a wall around us. When we drink or do drugs, probably the most direct way to disconnect, we create an illusion, a world that is "easier" to be in than reality.
So Why Do We Disconnect?
1. Fear of Being Hurt. Most of us have been hurt at some point in our lives; we invested ourselves emotionally, only to have to deal with the pain of losing someone we loved. We learn to build up a wall around ourselves as protection from getting hurt again.
2. Fear of Losing Ourselves. A lot of us have been in relationships where we let ourselves lose our individuality, our sense of self, either due to putting our partner's needs before our own, or from being with someone who tried to change us.
3. Selfishness and Self-Absorption. When we truly care about those around us, and value their existence on a human to human level, we're able to listen better, be more compassionate, and relate in a meaningful way. Treating others with respect and kindness will bring things into your life you never could have done alone, and happiness will automatically follow. Living in a bubble is only entertaining for you, and it's simply not enough.
4. Habit/Laziness. Everything worth its salt in this world takes some effort. If you've fallen into behavioral patterns that don't bring any sort of joy to your life, it's obviously time to make a change.
5. Reliving the Past/Projecting into The Future. When you're stuck in the past or imagining a future that doesn't exist, it's impossible to enjoy the moment, and to be present. Try getting those thoughts that won't leave your head out onto paper, or talk to a friend about them. Make peace and move on.
In order to engage in a healthy relationship, it's important to choose love instead of fear, realizing that every experience will make you stronger. It's also important to practice the Golden Rule, and to be compassionate towards others and yourself. Staying present can be difficult, but with anything else, practice makes perfect! You'll find that by paying more attention to the situations and people around you, will bring more meaning to your life and to your relationships.
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