It’s Friday night and I am out with a friend. We stop by a new resto-bar in Toronto. As you know, one of the things I like to do when I am out, it’s the sociologist in me, is observe the way people interact. It’s amazing to see how much it’s changed in the last few years. There’s so much disconnect. It’s sad to see. I have observed that in spaces where we go to come together to connect with other people we are more distant than ever. As much as we yearn for the human connection we are quite weary, fearful and suspicious of it. We have a hard time with simple conversations or polite and friendly gestures.
While I was there, this girl ran up to and said: “I had to tell you how beautiful you are”. I said thank you and smiled. She replied, “Oh my goodness, and you’re super nice too, wow!”. She went on to say that people aren’t nice anymore. That you just can’t say something nice or hi to people without them being suspicious and rude. Why? she asked.
Of course, this got me thinking…
This is something I have talked a lot about on this site. I believe we have forgotten how to communicate, we need to communicate. We need to wake-up and put our ‘smartphones’ down and realize that we are missing what’s in front of us. Real people, real experiences – LIFE. I am not against social media but I understand it’s not life. It’s not a reality that anyone should be wrapped up in. It’s a virtual existence meant to entertain but not meant to define you, your life or happiness or what a decent human being should look like. What’s your number has turned into, what’s your Instagram…really?! As if the images on Instagram are a better sell for what kind of person someone may be than the person in front of you. It’s that ridiculous. This new way of communicating with each other, text your heart away, has also made us quite rude. There’s no feeling behind what we say and we often forget the power of language, particularly when it’s written down.
We often forget our manners and just say whatever it is that we want to say. Then we wonder why our relationships aren’t as strong or are in constant need of repair. We wonder why it always feels a little uncomfortable in social situations. We are all projecting the same fears and insecurities on one another. So we pick up our phones, our new protective shield and remain distant and afraid. We don’t value the quality of time, instead, we value the perceptions of time in the time we are sharing that space with others. If you know anything about physics you will know our perception of time, how we see things isn’t always how things really are. The only thing that is true is how you exist in each moment. What that feels like in any given moment. If you are giving nothing, your are feeling nothing, you are just existing. Time gives you so much in one moment, how you take advantage of time is what will determine the kind of life you live and the happiness and love you receive as a result.
We’re not nice anymore because we are full of ourselves. We think we are so damn special. We think that people should give us more than we give out. We think that time is on our side…it isn’t. Time owes us nothing, we owe time everything and we should thank our lucky stars every day for more moments in this life. Moments to make new connections, to build bridges. To engage in interactions that make us grow as beings. We are more concerned with social likes than social kindness. It’s great you like my picture but no I don’t appreciate your crap attitude or the insincere conversation we have when we meet in person. When we meet in person, we get the opportunity to connect in real-time. This is what matters the most. How you make them feel, how present you are, how they make you feel and how present they are. This is important. We are acing our social interactions online and failing miserably at social face to face interactions.
To be honest, the solution is pretty simple. We just need to drop our guards. It’s time to be in touch with our surroundings and take in life the way it supposed to be. We need to feel again. We need to want this above anything else. We to need dance again when the music comes on rather than stand there wishing we could. Rather than scrolling through our phones looking for something to distract us from ourselves and our true feelings. Feelings of not being good enough. The need to keep up appearances – we are so cool, aren’t we?! Everybody wants to be you…except you. We want everyone to desire what they think they see instead of what we see. We need to accept ourselves as we are. Know that we are good enough and worth liking and loving. We don’t need to pretend. We certainly should stop buying into the idea of “no new friends” it’s stupid. You’re supposed to make new friends. We are social beings and it’s integral to our growth and well-being to interact with each other. Broaden your social circle so you can grow and in turn tap into other aspects of yourself that are lying dormant, waiting for you to acknowledge them. Meeting new people is one of life’s’ greatest gifts and greatest teachers. For we learn through these social interactions.
It’s a simple challenge…
I know it’s not easy. We all have our bad days. Sometimes your bad mood isn’t about anything other than you. Sometimes, people catch you on the wrong day where you aren’t revealing your best, kind and true self. I hope aside from the not so great things that life throws your way, you don’t forget to be kind whenever possible. You learn to manage your feelings and not take everything so personal. You also need to realize your impact on others. It’s a ripple effect, that will expand with each person that comes into contact with you. Your bad vibes, the way you treat people, transfers onto others and can set the tone for someone else’s day who will then take your energy and transfer it to someone else and so forth. Just like that you created a negative energy field and to be honest, most people don’t realize this. Our impact in this world is stronger than what we think. We can either leave a positive imprint or a negative one.
I believe the only way to go about this effectively is to first start with yourself. Be kind to yourself. As my mom says “you don’t have to be perfect all the time”. When you realize that you don’t have to keep with appearances and all that mental crap you tell yourself, that’s holding you back is complete bull s__. You will realize that this applies to everyone else. We are all the same in the sense that none of us will ever be perfect. We are a constant work in progress, forever changing and I hope forever improving and evolving into our best selves.
People aren’t nice because we aren’t nice to ourselves. When we begin to approach ourselves with compassion and understanding, as we navigate through this life we will be able to do the same in social interactions. It’s okay, you don’t have to pretend, I see you and I know you are better than this. I know that there’s a decent human being beyond the filter that is wishing to be liked and loved without the illusion. You are worth a ‘hello’ and definitely worth knowing in real-time.