Do you think the world feels lonelier than it used to? How we’re more connected digitally, but less connected from the heart?
Now maybe you have a group of close friends that you are incredibly connected to and don’t feel the ache of loneliness ever in your life. If so, I am happy for you. However, for many people, the number of close friends is much less than it was a generation ago.
Technology has democratized many aspects of life. We have so many options for how we can get our voice out into the world. However, I notice that for every person posting on IG, FB, YouTube, and elsewhere, we’re still just trying to meet our basic needs. We’re still just wanting someone to notice us, to think we’re important, to tell us that we’re special.
I like to feel special, feel seen, and feel that I am valued. I’m sure you do too.
The need for belonging and community is basic. Its part of our DNA.
There are a lot of hurt people wandering around society and because of the isolation of modern day living. But if you’re reading this and if you feel the ache of wanting more, connection, community, belonging, being seen, then keep reading.
At the same time that loneliness is skyrocketing, I also hints a trend that individuals are interested in recognizing our needs and our pains and doing something about it!
Signs of the change of heart all around us
There are hundreds of people talking about self-love and self-care out there. And while it might be an annoying trend, I deeply believe its a wake-up call rippling across the world.
The growing popularity & interest in self-love, self-care, and self-awareness, is the beginning of healing for us all. We are seeking deeper connection to ourselves. Yes, this is good.
You see if we aren’t caring for ourselves, we can’t care for others.
If we have a proliferation of depraved women and men, serving others, working at the company store, striving to make ends meet, we don’t have the time or energy to give compassion and kindness to those beyond our closest circle.
I believe that when we start to care for ourselves and tend to the hurt and needy parts of ourselves, we can change the world.
If we can pause from the incessant busyness and demands for our attention and take time to focus on caring deeply and kindly for ourselves, we make a shift that starts with us and ripples out.
The wholeness that we start to cultivate extends beyond us to impact those around us, the people around them and so forth.
Its ironic that by taking time to focus on the self, that we can have a more powerful effect than by putting ourselves last. By putting ourselves first and caring for our bodies and our hearts and souls, we can be a source of compassion, kindness, and caring in the world, instead of being another needy, overwhelmed, running-on-empty individual.
We start by caring for ourselves, but the magic of that, is that it doesn’t end there. We start by noticing what our needs are, how we feel, and acknowledging and being honest about it.
We know from scientific studies, and common sense would agree, that when we have overly-packed, busy schedules we don’t take the time for little acts of kindness that could help others. And yet, I still feel good about the moment last week when I jumped out of my seat at a cafe to help a woman pick up her food tray that had fallen to the floor.
Its not that we need to go out and do random acts of kindness to feel good; although that is certainly nice.
We are happier when we are in a state when we can give and help others, rather than feeling so deprived that we want to take everything that anyone can give to us. It’s that we could cultivate a state of being for ourselves, where this desire to help our fellow human beings comes naturally and easily.
We can cultivate this state of being through a two-part process.
Two ways to create more compassion & love in the world
First, we need to critically examine where we are depriving ourselves and leaving ourselves feeling needy. We need to begin finding a way every day to address this need.
I know that if you are in a habit of putting yourself last that this might be more difficult than asking you to win the Boston marathon, but I implore you to start small and start today. Even five minutes a day of doing something purely for you and your happiness begins to have a big effect on your life. You have value and deserve to show yourself that you have real worth by putting your needs and desires first at least once a day.
If your partner or children are not accustomed to seeing you do this, there is likely going to be an adjustment period. That’s ok. That’s why you are starting small.
Secondly, we need to spend some time every day (ideally morning) in either meditation, mindfulness, or contemplative practice- now if you shun meditation or feel that you don’t have the time, no worries, we can do a variation of typical meditation that is more akin to visualization than meditation.
We will spend 2 minutes feeling and expressing compassion for ourselves and others. I detail about the metta meditation or loving-kindness meditation in this article. Through taking 2 minutes to observe your breath, focus on compassion for others, or just quietly observing your surroundings you can create a mental space so that when the events of your life come cascading into you in a rush, you have a moment when you can respond how you would like to act instead of jumping to a knee-jerk reaction.
Sometimes you have to slow down.
Slow down to handle life.
Slow down to reconnect to your core.
I know that when things seem too much, too stress, people (aka my kids) are too loud, life seems overwhelming and time is running out, then I just need to pause.
I need to reflect, when is the last time that I spent time just sitting in my own body, feeling my feelings, noticing my thoughts, focusing on something positive.
What about you?
Can you commit to 1 minute of sitting with your body, feeling how you feel in this moment? Noticing your thoughts?
Spending 1 minute focused on what you love about what is happening in your current life right now? This is mindfulness in action. And it can be simple and satisfying.
We think that we’ll be happy when we get the promotion, the client, the magazine feature, the pleasant in-laws, the happy & successful children, but actually if we don’t practice enjoying our moments, our life right now, we won’t be happy when those moments occur either.
So don’t scroll onto another article just yet- because we both know, that won’t serve you as deeply as sitting with your own self for one minute will. We are in the habit of scrolling and moving and clicking and scrolling, but what we are seeking to fulfill is much deeper. And the only way to truly reach that is to connect with yourself.
You don’t need to do a 7 day silent retreat or even yoga weekend away. You can just take 1 minute now and 1 minute later and 2 minutes tomorrow to start connecting and start noticing.
Let’s see how you feel in one minute of doing it.
I’d love to hear how your experience goes with trying out one or both of these suggestions. Email me rachel(at) soulpioneer.com and let me know!