“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis but rather the feeling of not belonging.”
- Mother Theresa
We all need each other. We are born as vulnerable human beings in need of the care, love, and attention of someone. We would die without such care. We also would die without physical touch and tenderness. Yes, literally, we’d die.
We have used isolation as a form of punishment for centuries. Why? Because it works. It breaks a person. (Side note: I have worked in prisons offering mindfulness courses and I whole-heartedly believe that using isolation as a form of “reform” does anything BUT reform.)
Our need for human touch and contact don’t change as we age. We need our tribe.
But Today there is an epidemic of loneliness. Why?
How is it that this need for connection is so great, yet we often live in isolation (think: big backyards and no front porches. Driving straight home into your garage and into your house)?
We all know this longing for connection. Check out the bagillions of folks who use Facebook and other social media to connect.
Just about every “new mom” I know tells a story of having her newborn and desperately searching online for resources (from breastfeeding to ‘how do I get more sleep??!’) and for “virtual mommy networks” for advice, support, and connection.
Social media has its place in meeting our innate need for connection. I love Facebook. I get a glimpse into the world of a friend when they post about their day.
I believe in “mommy networks” and virtual communities. I’m a part of a few and I am about building the Barefoot Barn’s community of soulful folks. Virtual communities enable us to reach more people and have a tribe “at our fingertips.”
BUT we always need face-to-face contact.
Social media is a supplement to being in the presence of a dear one, finding ourselves feeling held and supported by their presence and offering our healing presence to them. We need human eye contact. We need human touch.
So today, this weekend, this week — take a chance and connect with someone FACE TO FACE.
Call a neighbor or friend. Reach out to them. Listen. Look at them. Communicate “I’m here” and “I see you.”
Notice how this brings a lightness to your heart.
Notice how even your posture shifts — you lift up from the back of your heart toward the sky.
You feel warm and tingly (that’s oxytocin runnin’ through you, mama! It’s the “connecting” hormone we get a dose of every time we feel loved). And your heart feels tender and connected to all living beings. THAT is how we are meant to live.
Check out this article in the Atlantic “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?”
And this post about how social media may aggravate our sense of loneliness:
And this article by Psychology Today:
And one last article making a case for connection: