Humans crave connection. In fact, we are wired to connect! This pandemic has certainly taught me the importance of being in a room with people, breathing the same air, feeling the same energy, looking at one another’s eyes, and maybe even holding hands or hugging.
There is also a shift happening with technology, more distance, and less real human connection, especially for young people. Some say that intentional human connection is the key to curing the mental health crisis we are in, and this week we dive in.
Human connection gives us a sense of belonging, which builds resilience. We want to feel part of a whole, something bigger than just ourselves.
Many of us have also learned that we can share a physical space with someone and still not feel connected. But that can change if you want something more. People who have grown up (and are growing up) with technology ever present, know nothing different from this feeling. Children have experienced being at the feet of their parents and caregivers many times when they are non-responsive because they are looking at something on their phones. This experience is part of our modern world.
I have to be very intentional about this, and it takes the daily practice of re-focusing and commanding my attention to make real human connections as much as possible. When I check out at Starbucks, or when my kids first wake up and I meet their eyes for a few moments. These short, intentional connection points help to fulfill our human need for connection. And when we fulfill this need we build resilience and compassion.