Saturday 11 May 2019

How to Feel Connected in a Disconnected World


These days, it seems like we are more connected than ever.  We communicate constantly through texting, email and social media.  However, in spite of this constant communication, we grow more and more detached from one another.
For instance, social media, does not allow for us to truly connect with one another. If I post something on Facebook or Instagram, that is simply an invitation for other people to look at me or read my thoughts. That isn’t a real conversation. A real conversation requires you being interested in me, and me being interested in you. Social media communication is, for the most part, a one-way street.
Email and texting may be more conversational.   However, emojis and fragmented sentences aren’t a real way to communicate with another person. We all know this. We know that there is a huge difference between exchanging an email with a friend and sitting down with that same friend for a cup of tea and a chat.
So, in spite of all the options that we have today for communication, many folks feel more isolated than ever. And that leaves a lot of people feeling invisible, as though they don’t matter.

For instance, I recently felt invisible at my job. I work from home, which has its perks. I am around when my daughter gets home from school. I can walk my dog in the middle of the day. And my home office is far nicer than anything that my employer could provide. But being a “virtual” employee can make you invisible.
So, the other day I learned that I was passed over for a promotion. It was given to an individual who is neither as experienced as I am, nor as knowledgeable as I am. The difference in our qualifications is vast. It was my “Hillary Clinton” moment. 2016 all over again.
I was extremely upset. I felt like I didn’t matter to my employer for whom I work so hard. I said to my husband, “I am just invisible.” And, effectively, I am. Even if I do my job better than most, by not being present in the office, I am not valued. A virtual presence is simply not the same as being physically present.
And that is the conundrum. Many of us love working from home (I do!), and we love the convenience of the Internet for communication. But it can lead to very hollow relationships with other people. And that can make us feel like we just don’t matter.
If you feel like you don’t matter, if you have 500 Facebook friends and feel alone, if you have people texting you constantly, but no one really knows you, I can tell you this: You do matter. You matter to someone.
However, I will be honest. You probably don’t matter that much to the folks you deal with solely on a virtual basis. Having Instagram followers or Facebook friends does not mean that people care about you. It means that they find you to be interesting. That isn’t the same thing.

But you do matter to someone. I matter to two people in this world: my husband and my daughter. I probably matter to my dog, as well. He is a rescue dog who went through many, many homes before he came to us. I suspect that I matter to him because I am willing to put up with his antics.
Of course, I know lots of people. And while many of them may like me, appreciate me or find me to be interesting, I don’t matter to them. Who do I matter to? I matter to only a few choice people.
You matter to the people for whom you are present. You matter to the people to whom you give your time and your kindness. You matter to the people with whom you make a real connection.
So, if we want to matter, we have to change how we operate. If we want to stop feeling invisible and really connect with other people, we have to get off our iPhones and computers. We have to have real relationships with other people. And that means visiting them, caring for them, helping them, and being present for them.
You can’t be present for your 500 Facebook friends. But you can be present for one or two people. You can matter to a couple of people. And that is what most of us are really seeking. We aren’t seeking grandiose popularity. We simply want to matter to someone.

Books: “The Secrets to Success for the Working Mother” by Meerabelle Dey ( )

Courtesy of Meerabelle Dey/ Beliefnet

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