I heard a line in a television show that made my ears perk up and listen. “People in America are lonely.”
Is it true? Are people in America lonely?
Do you know your neighbors? How many of you feel like you are supported by your community? Can you count on your friends? Can they count on you?
As much as I adore technology, I feel a new wall has come between people that did not exist prior to the internet and cellular phones. In previous times, if you wanted to speak with someone, it took effort. Either you had to call while the other person was home (and then proceed to fight for phone rights because someone else in the household wanted to use it), or you would have to visit your friend in person. Did this extra “effort” bring friends closer? After all, it is widely believed that when you invest your time and energy in someone, it makes that person more valuable to you.
The ease in which we can communicate today seems like it should bring us closer to our peers and friends. However, it’s so easy to text that many can do it without even thinking. If a person does not even invest time to think, is the person truly building a friendship? Is he or she genuinely interested?
In my opinion, texting and similar routes of communication have the capacity to act as double edged swords. These swords can swing and serve you well, or they can accidentally slice you in ways you never imagined. Think about it, how many times have you decided to text someone because thinking of actually holding a conversation stressed you out? Not only that, but making a phone call may take more time than you are willing to invest. Why? What valuable communication skills are you missing out on by avoiding the awkward moments of conversation?
Aside from the “communication” factor. How many of you know, beyond a doubt, that if you asked your friends for a special favor that your friends would follow through? Why don’t you test it out? You may realize that your friends don’t have time for you or your interests. On the other hand, you may find that those you didn’t consider close will give you the shirts off your back. OR…you may confirm that the friendships you value are indeed true. After the test, ask yourself, are you lonely?
What does it mean to be lonely? Isolation from others? Feeling like you don’t belong? Feeling like you are not good enough? Feeling like you are better than others? Feeling like you have to become a celebrity because that’s the only way you will feel valuable? It’s like the yin and yang…opposites and extremes.
Being down on yourself too much can cause loneliness. Likewise, thinking you are the sh#% can also cause loneliness. The difference is, if your problem is the latter, you probably don’t even recognize it.
Then, I believe there are those that feel lonely because they feel a disconnect with God. (or whatever you are comfortable calling it, higher source, source, creator, etc.) This kind of loneliness, in my opinion, is the root of most of our suffering, if not all of it. Imagine how your friendships with others would be if you felt peace in your heart. Imagine how it would feel to be friends with someone that has peace in his or her heart. How would it change the way you do things? Would a text suffice to hearing someone’s voice or actually visiting the person? Would you continue to keep in contact with people that made you feel uncomfortable or frustrated? As you know, texting makes that task especially easy. How much more or less meaningful would your friendships become?
Is this how things are done in other countries? Are families ruled by texting?
Are you lonely in America? (Or any other country?)
I would love to hear your thoughts!