Food for thought beforehand:
Hey, you. Yes, you. Look at your wrists. Do you see the little blue veins? Do you see all of them? Iron runs through those. And iron, in fact, can only be created from stars. So this means that I, you, me, we, us, all of us— we are all part of the same universe. We are all connected. Did you ever stop to think that? Us humans, all of us; we are all so much similar than we think. And it's okay. It's okay to stop being afraid of what you don't understand. It's okay to cry. It's okay to laugh. It's okay to give into the weirdness of it all!
Please love yourself. and please love others. We, as a whole, are not meant to be separated by anything-- skin colour, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, personality, social class, height, weight, and any or all differences. We are all blood. We are all flesh. We are all bodies of water. We are all, together, & collectively— stardust. Let's stop pretending that we're so much different from the stranger sitting across the room.
It's time to breathe. It's time to recognize that we are all one, we are all beings of love, and that humans are made for one thing: to connect & to be connected. Let's end the suffering. Us. We. All. Together. We are all broken, we are all beautiful, we are all different, but we are all the same. Start looking into the hearts of one another. We must overcome, all of us.
On that note, here are some ways you can begin to find more human connection in this day of age where social media and technology overpowers us all.
1. Phone off. Eyes Up. Ears Open.
A great way to steer clear of becoming a human robot in today's social media madness is to turn off your phone for a while. If that feels like too much, then I recommend just setting daily limits. On the new iPhone update, there's a feature in settings titled, "Screen Time", that allows you to set time limits on any and all apps-- including social media!
I cannot tell you how many times I will look at the world around me, trying to engage, and just see people with their heads in their phones. It's slightly alarming yet intriguing at the same time-- like, this is what our world has come to. If we're not careful, it might evolve into something similar to the society that exists in the movie "Wall-E". People often wonder why they're so lonely, and let me tell you; this is a reason. Human beings are spending so much time with their minds stuck in a simulation of a world rather than living in the moment being in the world they are actually in.
There was a time when humans did in fact live with rather large abundance without any technology, and still survived. I'm sure you can live at least a little while without your technology, and you actually might be surprised at the peace it can bring you.
2. Use social media as an asset.
The above being said, I am a millennial. Social media is a tool that I use often, and I understand why it was created and is useful for the success of our society. It provides us with so much information, social network, access to the world, and connection to people all over the world. The trick is in how we use it.
For instance, take this. I am using social media as a means to inform and hopefully help people live their lives to a fuller extent. More examples would be things like motivational speakers through YouTube, Ted Talks, musicals such as Dear Evan Hansen that utilizes social media as a network and as a theme to advocate for things like mental health, and people that we see all the time using social media to advocate for causes that they are passionate about.
What we want to avoid doing is using social media in a way that actually disconnects us more. We want to avoid being fake and superficial. To do this, we need to stop acting like our lives are way different on our accounts. We need to stop saying things through these platforms that we wouldn't say to someone's face. We need to stop hiding behind a screen. Instead, we must take off the mask. Be Real. Be genuine.
Use it for the greater good of human connection.
Communication is key, in all things-- relationships, jobs, friends, family, school-- you name it. To be a successful and genuine human being, you need to be able to communicate.
Part of the problem in this day of age is that when we get in this habit of being so stuck in the warped reality that is technology, we forget how to talk to people in real life. This contributes to disorders that we see so often in this time like social anxiety and depression.
What we need to practice more of is getting out there and with people that we will benefit from. We need to be honest and clear about what we want and expect. We need to relearn how to communicate. It's so important, and it's lacking.
4. Go out on more dates!
Ah yes, the infamous online dating paradigm. *sigh*
Don't get me wrong. If you and your significant other met through one of these, that's great. I'm happy that you guys have found someone to share your love with, no matter the circumstance. I happen to have one of those apps myself!
However, I see them being treated with extreme amounts of disrespect and a lack of genuineness. Not only do people pose as things that they are not, but they also use it just to have a body to mess around with and fill their void. It's really sad.
As an old fashioned gal, I want to see people go out on more real dates. Go out. Meet new people (safely). Share human connection in person. Look into someone's eyes. Hear them laugh. Learn about people. Expose yourself to what real love can be. It exists, and you deserve it.
5. Go on a nature walk with someone.
Hello, fellow nature lovers. What do you feel when you think of nature? Grounded, balanced, relaxed, worldly, pure, evolving, everlasting. These are all adjectives that we can use to describe our world without anything man made.
If you're looking to find more human connection or just something real in general, I would suggest going on a nature walk with someone. Whether this be a close friend, a family member, someone you're hoping to get to know better, or a significant other.
Nature is beautiful. It's what everything comes back to. It takes away all of the hustle and bustle of the world, and just allows you to breathe and touch something real. Sharing this experience with someone is likely to be very freeing, and would take you away from all of the unauthenticity that can be found elsewhere. It allows your feet to connect to the earth, your eyes to experience the treasures of the world, and your heart to connect with whoever you're on that journey with. It's a form of mindfulness, a way to live in the present.
6. Travel more.
Traveling in and of itself is also extremely freeing. Even if you don't have the funds to go somewhere extravagant or far, even traveling to another town or city would give you insight into the world and the people in it.
Often times, we get very stuck in our own life bubbles... and sometimes it's easy to forget that the rest of the world exists. It's easy to forget that there are other types of people in this world, and more fish in the sea; if you will.
Traveling and getting to know a new culture can be very humbling and insightful. It allows you to develop new perspectives on life, if you choose to be open to it. If you are seeking more connection, explore the world. See what you find.
7. Break stereotypes and stigmas.
Ahh, this is important. Stereotypes and stigmas are real. They are dangerous, and they are hurtful. It has been said that the most dangerous thing in the world is ignorance in action.
If you're looking to connect, and if you're looking for more genuine experiences; you need to educate yourself. Break stigmas against mental health, gender/sexuality, race and many others. Break stereotypes against the typical groups of people in your school. Hang out with a different types of people. You'll be surprised what you find.
To give a real life example, I'm a theatre major. There is a huge stereotype belief against theatre majors that we are all very extroverted, loud and obnoxious. This is a reallll big pet peeve of mine, because I happen to not identify with the majority of the adjectives that some people put labels on theatre people. I'm actually quite introverted and quiet at times. I'm just a person, just like you.
We are all people, just like each other.
8. Fight the bystander effect.
This is another thing that is also real and scary due to our lack of skills in true socialization as humans. I've seen this happen so many times. Ever sense I was in grade school, I would watch bad things happen and see no one do anything about it. It's terrifying. If no one is stepping in, who is ever going to?
Fortunately, I never had the mindset of a follower and it never phased me to step in and take action. You could be the difference between life and death. You could be the difference between discrimination and fairness. You could be the difference between harassment and respect.
You could be the difference. Step in. Speak up.
9. Make eye contact.
Make eye contact with the people you are sharing time and energy with! Okay guys, this is such a huge factor in success as a person. Think about all of the important social interactions: job interviews, dates, orientations, family meetings, etc.
Ever since social media became a huge things, people have lost the ability to make eye contact while talking to someone without feeling awkward or tense. This is, again, because we have habitually trained ourselves to thinking that our phone is our best friend. We've done this to a point that true human connection is somehow foreign to us. Think about that for a moment.
The next time you talk to someone, look into their eyes. Let them know that you are invested-- that you are there: physically and mentally. It means so much.
10. Be Yourself. Authentically.
Lastly, but certainly not least: be yourself. Ah yes, the good old cliche. I know, it sounds cheesy-- but it's so true and imperative to your lasting happiness as a human being. The longer you keep up this facade of yourself for others to love, the less time you'll have in your life to really get to know the real you and then share that authentically with those around you.
When you post on social media, be real. Make sure when you're commenting on people's post, it sounds like you. It's something that would actually leave your mouth and enter the heart of this person that you are effecting with your words. Use the great access that you have to people all around the world to make meaningful connections. Inspire through the gift of technology.
Be you. Be true. Open yourself up. Hug a tree. This world is suffering, but it doesn't have to.
Make a change, for me and for you.