While myself and thousands of others are currently forced out of our homes due to fires destroying parts of California, let’s talk about the importance of our people.
There’s a reason we’re seeing the use of social media and screen-time skyrocketing with no end in sight. Well, there are a number of reasons, but one is that it’s simply easy. Picking up your phone to watch someone’s Instagram story is easier than taking the ten minutes to speak with them on the phone. Posting a photo of yourself from two weeks ago is much easier than doing that thing again you did two weeks ago that made for such an awesome photo. Scrolling, watching, clicking, staring…it’s easy. It takes just the tip of your finger to provide a false sense of accomplishment and connection.
What you’re missing, however, is devastating and dangerous and the alternative is waaay more fun than holding that thing in front of your face all day. Humans are social creatures, not meant to survive in isolation. The whites of our eyes are larger than any other species so that OTHERS can see where we’re looking and therefore read us in real, physical time! Insane, amiright?!
Can you guess what’s holding my attention right now? Probably.
Might we all evolve into sterile blobs with empty black shark eyes? Maybe.
This concept, that we need warm, 3-D, blood-pumping bodies near us to interact with is critical for our brain health (i.e. all aspects of our health), especially during any kind of crisis, healing, and recovery. Whether you’re the one that needs that support system in place or you make up that support system for someone else, it’s crucial to understand the impact that our systems (family, friends, colleagues, etc.) have on our mental and emotional state. If you believe we are inherently lonely, struggling creatures born to spend a lifetime attempting to fulfill our potential, or you believe we each belong to a unique social system, it’s difficult to deny we have interactions with other humans, likely quite often.
What’s the point, Rio?!
My point is that we need these people, and we’re influenced by them all the time. Your people have an effect on you, and you on them. This means the lack of social interaction has an influence on us as well- when we’re lonely, we’re suffering. Without human interaction, we try to fulfill that need for belonging, connection, and community in other ways. Helloooo social media! While technology can be a great tool for connecting if otherwise impossible, it is not a substitute for face time (no, not the app- the actual time spent with another person’s face). Technology is propelling us into the future, making many amazing things possible, but let us not forget we live within human bodies and our physical selves are not evolving at the same speed as the iphone. When we hug someone, touch them, have sex (gasp!) we experience physical relief as a result of the mental and emotional relief that authentic connection provides. Boiled down even more- mental and emotional effects the physical and visa versa. Make the effort to be with people who you choose to be a part of your system, and be cognizant of what you’re bringing into their lives as well.
Put down the phone (but make sure you're following @jenniaguilarconsulting), close the computer (but first forward this insightful post to everyone you know), and go look your people in the eyeballs for a few minutes.
Author: Rio Richards