Guest Blogger: Tamisha Ford | tamishaford.com
Yesterday, I was sitting at a lunch table with someone who was staring down at their phone for 30 of the whopping 40 minutes we had. Granted, there were 5 other people at the table, but I remember thinking “why am I here?” Then, “why is that person here?” “Why didn’t they just eat at their desk?”
There is no denying the digital age we’re living in. And there is no doubt we can and should use it for the advancement of this great planet we’ve temporarily been given. However, I’m noticing a trend in many areas lately – we are starting to allow social media, digital meetings, devices, and pings to get in our way of being fully present. In fact, we have allowed it to seep in quickly and with great force. We think it’s a way of life and normal to allow these distractions.
I can tell you that research is showing in article after published article that there are more people living alone right now than any other time in our nation’s history. That isolation will cause due damage over time with this newfound power to sit behind a computer attempting to make meaningful connections with others. It has already begun shaping an entire next generation, and I’m concerned.
Think about it. We can do everything online now from buy a toothbrush to find a guy to date. We can pick out a car, a dress, a life coach, or a mail order bride all in one fail swoop! Major score? Some of those things are wonderful and will advance our economy. The rest of them are slowly starting to steal our ability to be fully present with who we’re speaking to and what we’re supposed to be doing. In the midst of all this “social connection”, we’re alienating people and ourselves faster than ever & not even realizing it. We used to ask “how are you?” because we actually wanted to know.
So here’s 2 situations where you and I can start being more fully present:
- When you’re at any type of gathering – a party, a meeting, a yoga class, whatever it may be – fully engage in each conversation you’re in. Look the person in the eye. And huge one here – if someone else comes up to interrupt or places their hand on your back, let them wait or move on! You’re not being rude. Be fully present and engaged in the conversation you’re in. If they are any kind of mature, they shouldn’t be offended by it – both you and that person deserve to not be interrupted. I call it social co-dependency. Person A feels more deserving and “needs” your attention, while you, Person B “need” their acceptance. This is the cycle we have created.
- When you’re having a meal with anyone – whether it’s one person or many, it’s okay to glance to see if you have any messages as you’re being seated, but that should be it for the next hour or so. This may be uncomfortable at first. I’m even noticing a trend now that we struggle to have meaningful conversation because we’re not looking at a screen & scrolling through a person’s thoughts. One reason this is happening is a conditioning. We have started to condition each other to have freak out sessions if someone doesn’t answer our text or call or a few hours pass and we don’t hear back. We seriously have to take our finger off the freak-out-panic-mode button. In our attempt to be more fully present, we must allow others to also be present with themselves.