I’ve been looking for a really powerful theme for the month of December, and the word “RELEVANCE” came to mind.
It’s been a heck of a year, hasn’t it? As we roll into the final month of 2020, I note that the one singular need that continues to show up is the need for authentic “connection”.
In my conversations with friends, many people are yearning to go beyond superficial “chit-chat” and seek a deeper level of connection. There are wistful, quick comments that emerges from these conversations that note a quiet depression, even from those we perceive as the “rocks” of our circle of influence.
The uncertainty most people are feeling is real. Month-to-month, the world as we know it has changed, and along with it, how we interact with others. From shelter-in-place, work from home, online classrooms for our kids, to cautiously re-opening our economy, every month has brought us a new challenge to navigate. As we wrap up 2020, there is the ambiguity of what’s next. How long will social distancing continue? What impacts will this have long-term on our lives, our kids, our social interactions, and our economy? It’s natural that many people are feeling isolated, concerned, and worn out by the constant barrage of worry that is dragging us down.
Even though we have an enormously comfortable quality of life, for which we should be endlessly grateful, this theme recently creeped into conversation at a very posh, small gathering I attended.
At this intimate birthday dinner… I was stunned to hear this person (who is beyond wealthy) admit that they felt this “new normal caused them to suffer from ‘depression’.” While the lavishly poured, exquisitely fine wines may have impacted the discussion to some degree, I think in the safety of that small gathering, this person felt brave enough to admit they were struggling.
Feeling a sense of depression from social isolation is easy to understand. From our very birth, we are socially connected. In fact, it has been proven that babies who are ignored and deprived of touch suffer and die without physical connection.
We’ve been denied this “social” component in our lives since early in 2020. Even the universal sign of friendliness in the form of a smile has been concealed. Times of joy, as people celebrate new births or weddings, and sadness, as people mourn those who have departed, are being shared via technology. Times when only a hug or a tender touch can convey the depth of your feelings are being replaced using platforms like Zoom, Facetime and video.
It is wonderful that we live in a time where we do have these technologies available to allow us to stay in “touch” virtually, but in the end, we crave real physical togetherness, like hugs and handshakes that engage real energy, with eye-to-eye, face-to-face, in the same room kind of contact.
This distancing has made us aware that in the absence of face-to-face connection, we seek deeper emotional connection. It is apparent that intentional RELEVANT connection has become a prominent key to real emotional exchange.
So, let’s start with us. I want to call this a START Over instead of a Do-Over. This experience with the pandemic and the resulting social distancing has given us an opportunity to reboot. We now so clearly see just how precious, and sometimes fleeting, our human connections really are. These are challenging times. When you think about it, people do the best they can at the moment, and we all need some grace right now.
Tami Bonnell posts such great finds, and today she posted a quote from Yung Pueblo:
“…Be gentle with your words because hearts are fragile”.
As you head into the New Year, vow to be kinder, gentler and more accepting of yourself. That will allow you to be gentler, more accepting of others who may be silently struggling with depression or inner conflict that is wearing them done.
As the saying goes:
“Be Kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. “