Building the Village: 4 steps to social connection
Many would argue that technology has made instant connection to others increasingly easy. Yet, in the last two decades, the amount of people reporting that they don’t have a trusted confidant has increased threefold. How can this be? It seems that there may be an illusion of connection when the number of online “friends” is in the hundreds or even thousands. What we really need is depth of connection.
With loneliness and isolation on the rise we are all at greater risk for anxiety, depression, antisocial behavior, suicide and even physical disease and earlier death. It’s not enough to simply focus on self care. How do you create depth in relationships when social connectedness has gotten mixed up by social media’s definition of friends? Here are just a few of the ingredients to creating connection.
Building the Village
Be patient. Being able to connect deeply with someone requires work and time. If you have identified someone with whom you want to become friends, you may need to start small with little gestures such as eye contact, smiles or a compliment. Deep connection and even the start of a friendship are not instantaneous.
Be interested. If you have felt isolated or depressed, demonstrating interest in someone else may be especially hard to do. Depression impacts the very language used. People who are experiencing depression are more likely to focus on themselves in conversation. They often use “me,” “I,” and “myself” more regularly than those who are not depressed. To get to know someone, be sure to put adequate focus on learning about the other person.
Be vulnerable. If you find it hard to put yourself out there, you’re not alone. The images that you view on social media have often been packaged to meet a certain goal. In general, people tend to want to be viewed in their best moments. Remember this. If you’re comparing your darkest parts to what you see of others. Stop. Look for people who are willing to show their truth–who are willing to laugh (or cry) at their parenting mishaps–and then follow suit. The best way to get at another person’s real self is to be willing to show yours.
Be the village. Don’t just wait idly for people to show up in your village. Be that village to others. Offer help without being asked. Surprise others with your thoughtfulness. Offer words of affirmation– the very kind you wish to hear. All parents experience stress.
You are not alone. Join us for a free Parents’ Heart-to-Heart on September 24, Be the Parent You Want to Be: Conquer your stress with guest speaker, Lindsay Johnson, MSN, RN.
September is Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide rates have been on the rise in the last few years and social connection is a critical factor to prevention. You are not alone. Find more information on suicide and prevention here.
At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.