1. That we are human beings who crave genuine connection and interaction. We might be homebodies or introverts or selectively social or whatever other way we’d like to define ourselves, but at the end of the day, we are human. We are human beings who desire interaction and connection with other human beings. Our souls long to be with other souls. If a baby is denied affection and connection with another human being, he/she could die. Literally die. As in, dead. As we grow up, our loneliness or lack of connection isn’t always fatal, exactly. We just get better at hiding our needs. We get better at distracting away and numbing out the loneliness.
2. We’re all a bit lonely, but that doesn’t mean we can’t alleviate that with each other. If there is one constant back-and-forth battle of our generation it’s that we think we don’t need people while we are painfully lonely. Is there a more isolated group of people than us, what with our constant interaction via technology that is mostly devoid of true connection? We’re the loneliest, most connected generation and we are too proud or too scared to admit that we need each other. Our loneliness is not a badge of honor. It’s a cry for help. And, we need to reach out to each other more.
3. That our best memories typically include the presence of others, the presence of love and connection. We don’t remember Snapchats or Facebook posts. Our memories are not littered with status updates or tweets or that perfectly-styled Instagram pic. We remember the aftermath, the moments when our lives stop being lived out for the eyes of others and are, instead, lived in the presence of the people in front of us. Think of all your favorite memories. I am certain the majority of them will include others: your best friends, your family, your significant other. Let’s remember this as we live our lives, that the memories we collect along the journey are far more important than the nights we spend alone scrolling through Instagram, no matter how much of an introvert or homebody we are.
4. That the way we connect as humans is through our humanity, not through status updates and quick catch-up texts or emails condensed into bullet-point lists of where we’re at in life. The pervasive sentiment of our generation is that we hate picking up the phone. We want our sweatpants and Netflix and delivery ordered through an app. While this is all convenient and there’s a time and a place for all of those things, there is something irreplaceable about hearing someone’s voice, seeing someone’s face. We cannot connect to each other through bullet-point catch-up lists of our life highlights. We cannot truly understand each other through our best moments. We end up projecting out each other’s lives without any true understanding of what it means to be human, what a different perspective is like. This is how envy and hate becomes our norm, how we stop seeing each other as people and, instead, as these reminders of how we’re falling short. We start to think, if their life is so perfect, what’s wrong with us that ours is not?
5. Bravery is not perfecting our lives and stoically presenting a strong facade, but is standing deep in the muck of our own vulnerability and reaching for another human to meet us there. We do not connect simply by our happiness or joy. We connect in our truth and honesty, when we stand up bravely in the chaos of our life and ask for help, ask for peace and understanding and a non-judgmental space to express how our lives are really going, not present a view of how we wish they were going. They say that everyone is fighting a hard battle. The more we share these battles with each other, the less shame we will all feel about our own lives, how own perceived shortcomings or failures. The more we can let each other into the truth of who we are, the less we will compare each other to the lie of what we’ve tried to uphold about our lives. Life has a way of being a lot of things at once and is not always a happy collection of moments. Maybe we would all feel more okay in our own lives if we didn’t feel like there was something fundamentally wrong with us if our lives aren’t shiny and happy at all times.
6. Everyone is a little bit lost. We are all growing and healing and scratching around in the dark for our footing. We are all reaching out to connect, but don’t always know how. When we are the first ones to reach our hands out—to tell the truth about where we are at in our lives—we release others to do the same. This is a fundamental aspect of being human, that when we open ourselves up, others meet us there and feel more comfortable to breathe into that space and open themselves up as well.
7. When two vulnerable people meet each other in the middle, that is love. That is the truest love. That is a soul mate. That is genuine connection. Whether that person is a family member, a lover, a friend, it is love. It is the purest love. We cannot make a habit of not recognizing that this love is rare. It may not show up in the form we expected it to, but that doesn’t make it any less real or powerful. Recognize it. Show up to it. And, cherish it, for what this love can do is boundless.