In a world so connected by technology and social media, to be “disconnected” seems almost impossible these days. Or does it? Have you taken time out recently to inventory your closest relationships? Are you so connected to your virtual “friends” perhaps even distant family that you’ve lost contact with those who share space with you both night and day? Could it be those very same vehicles which make life seem so much more connected are also the very same conveyances through which disconnection transits into your daily personal life?
Check yourself. Right now you’re reading this either on your smartphone, laptop or tablet which means you’re disconnected from the people around you…possibly even yourself. Now check yourself again. When is the last time you had a conversation — a REAL conversation — with someone? Not a “Hey, what’s up?” text or even a “thinking of you” email but an actual voice-to-voice or face-to-face conversation with at least one person you see on a regular basis? And “Good morning” before checking Facebook doesn’t count either. Can you even remember? If not, it just might be time to reevaluate your priorities, your connections and your relationships. Rest assured there’s no shame in getting distracted by the lure of virtual communication, but if deeper and more healthy relationships is something you crave then allow these four steps to gently guide you back into personal connectivity.
- Disconnect to reconnect. Pick one day each month— just one — to totally disconnect from everything…from all electronics, all distractions and even all talking. This intentional disconnect will force you to reconnect with not only your environment but also your spirit. Getting reattuned to yourself helps bring back into focus your purpose, your joy and your intimacy with the people closest to you — starting with you. Turning off all the unnecessary noise and getting internally quiet is no easy feat, but it’s a feat well worth the effort as the realization of what’s truly important in life has a space to reenter your reality.
- Acknowledge the people in your circle. It’s a common occurrence to get so wrapped up in what’s going on outside your circle of influence that you begin to presume the people on the inside don’t need as much recognition or attention. But you know first-hand how it feels when your significant other, kids, boss or co-workers think you’re “good” and basically exclude you from conversations or activities, right? So slip your feet into their Sperry’s for a moment, recognize and encourage your inner circle of influence for the things you appreciate about them and watch what happens next! You’ll be amazed at the shift in the depth of those relationships…all because you took the time to connect with them in a real time conversation.
- Make time to play. Relationships need nurtured with non-verbal communication as well, and creativity is one way to enjoy those closest to you. Take a walk, go bowling or ice skating, play a board game, grab some crayons and color a picture…do anything outside the norm of “unwinding” by watching TV or going to the movies. Movement releases energy and sparks joy, something most people desire but can’t seem to capture due to routines and ruts. There’s no need to go crazy and try to do 100 new things a week. There’s plenty of time to introduce new activities, so pick one or two you all agree will be life-giving and actually DO IT.
Joy enhances connectivity; connectivity enhances relationships; and relationships enhance life. The more you can meld with and enjoy the people closest to you, the more you’ll be helping heal your life as well as humanity by becoming more aware of the values you appreciate and admire — and the more those values will show up in your life and the lives of everyone you know. Give it a month and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.