Do you ever think about the way the ‘tech revolution’ or ‘information age’ is impacting the way we relate to each other? As a therapist and an observer, I think about it a lot.
There is no doubt you’ve experienced interacting with someone who is distracted by their phone. Being on the receiving end of that interaction can leave you feeling unimportant and disrespected. Trying to have a conversation with someone who is only half listening is an exercise in frustration (unless you are also only half listening then perhaps you are a match made in heaven.) People communicate differently when they are attempting to multitask anything with technology. Scientists are now even saying that being constantly plugged in “…can change how people think and behave. They say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information,” according to journalist Matt Richtel.
Inability to focus leads to a lack of presence which can lead to major challenges in communication, and therefore in relationships. You cannot truly connect unless you are fully engaged. And you cannot be fully engaged when you are texting, Instagramming or Candy Crushing it on your phone. You just can’t. If you are constantly attached to your phone and only listening with your ears as your eyes check Facebook, you are ripping yourself off of actually experiencing real intimacy.
Our society has become addicted to distraction and breaking the cycle begins with you! This week I challenge you to put your phone down (and flip it over!). Listen, with your eyes and ears to connect with those around you. Look at the person who is speaking to you, be present for them. And be present for you. When you’re walking, eating or trying to relax, put down your phone. Be with yourself and enjoy the present moment. Don’t miss out on your life and what you could have experienced because you were staring at a cell phone screen.
I challenge you to join me this week and take the pledge to #LookUp, which means committing to not being on your phone while talking to others, walking, driving or eating for 7 full days. Use the hashtag #Lookup and let me hear from you in the comments below. Are you in?
I hope so and as always, take care of you.
Love Love Love
*image courtesy of Ian Higgins