Somewhere between, a "then" somewhere in history and the "now" of right now, there has been a loss of connection. I am not that old, so I don't really have too much to attribute it to. I am sure it is a mix of the social media and technological aspects of the current time, but it really has to be embedded a little more further down in our psyches than that flat answer explains.
"Relationship." The taboo word that no one wants to really say out loud for fear of drama or being official or, for me, being cliché. The truth is that we are all in relationships continually, throughout our entire days and lives. Some are more important than others, and some, even more important than those, so we name them "relationships." (Like the other ones aren't?)
What we have been led to believe is that a relationship is romantic, intense, easy, and aaahhhhhhmmmaaazzzzingggg. Am I right?
First of all, they are not all romantic. In fact, I would bet the majority of them are not. Second, intense might be right, but not constantly. If it's constantly the focal point of your being, that is no good for you. And though it matches the "passion" we think we are after, it is a flame of dramatic lust that will eventually go out. I promise you. Easy. LOLLLZZZZZZ. If you think a relationship should be 100% easy at all times, sorry about your life. Certain aspects should sometimes be easy, in some scenarios. But definitely not always. Amazing. Yes. Generally. But maybe not how you think.
The problem with connection is that it's not electrical in nature. Seriously. You don't walk up to a person and say, hey let's have this life changing connection with one another, press "ON" on three! Okay, ONE, TWO, THREE- THIS IS AMAZING. (sometimes this does happen, I'm sure! so YAY for you if you're one of those lucky humans)
It requires work, sacrifice, unconditional love (in the romantic or not romantic sense) and some humility. And for those of us who are obsessed with knowing every facet of the human beings we are interested in, it comes with some less desirable moments and interactions. You see, the thing is that we are all human beings and none of us are even remotely close to being beautiful, fun, a good conversationalist, gracious, or self-less all of the time. We have beautifully carved out versions of ourselves that we generally display on the surface, and then when the brave ones cross that threshold into our real-lives, they are going to see the whole picture of us at some point or another.
I would like to say that is a good thing. The ability to connect with someone and make them comfortable enough to display their entire self-picture to you, well I think that is a gift.
The thing is that it can be ugly. Allowing vulnerability and openness opens the doors to this great connection that we are all seeking somewhere in our souls. But most people don't want to go there. We keep our control when we attempt to only allow the beautifully carved out versions of people to join us. And while necessary in some instances, this is not a self-less love or act of caring. This is conditional. And in 2016 (almost 2017) we are so full of conditions that it would make our heads spin in unison if we were to list them all out.
How would you change if you knew that the place you were was safe to be your true self? What if that person who was talking to you cared whole-heartedly about what you had to say and the intricacies of yourself and a person?
I often think of my classroom. You would probably walk in most days and wonder what bomb went off, if anyone was learning, and why everyone was so loud. (I'm sure you're laughing if you've ever seen it) But I made a promise to myself to not coast as a teacher. It is easy to do, but if I did that, I would feel like my value as a person and educator was not existent. I don't always have their full attention. I don't always have the beautifully carved out versions of my students. They always start out really quiet and hoping to come in and coast through themselves. I work hard to kill that right away. They end up loud, opinionated, comfortable, and even some days happy.
Sometimes to reach people, we have to get out our hypothetical shovels and do some digging. Sometimes we have to build a safe space where they can feel loved and accepted and comfortable. Whether that space is physical or emotional, I think its creation is more of what we need.
My goal from now on is to look at everyone the way I look at my children. I love them without reservation. Without a pre-determined outcome. With expectation. I want to welcome the quirks, talents, gifts and personalities of everyone I meet, especially my students and the people closest to me.
Being close to people is ugly.
It's also really nourishing to my soul and gives me value.
So when I leave this world, someone can remember me and the way I made them feel- loved, comfortable, and happy... and that's it.