Katherine Woodward Thomas talks about how we make snap decisions with 15 seconds (I suspect it’s faster than that) about whether or not we’re going to listen to someone, to take them in. When we decide someone is unworthy (and really, how can we truly tell that quickly?), we shut them out. As a result, she says that “Many of us are walking around feeling like we have to sell ourselves each time we want some simple human contact.”
No wonder we feel such a yearning to find some type of meaning. Our spirituality comes through our relationship with others. We’re built to connect. I’m not talking about quiet time to recharge—that’s integral, especially for introverts. But, how many times in a day do you avoid human contact? The self-checkout lane, buying online, groceries delivered to your door...our lives are increasingly engineered to keep us isolated in our small peer group bubbles. That can feel safe but it can also compromise a broader perspective.
If you’ve been isolating yourself, start small. Can you give your full attention to your next conversation? Really show up, bring all of you. See how it feels. Let yourself connect—even a smile can alter someone’s day. We’re all going through something. Do your part to make your corner of the world a little brighter.