Our phones are buzzing with notifications all the time, but how do we feel when they stop? When we’re lonely or have had a crap day and everyone’s out or busy. It’s easy to forget about how busy other people’s lives are until you’re wishing they’d text back at 23.11 on a Saturday evening.
These moments can honestly seem like a blip of existential crisis! I know that is insanely dramatic but stay with me for a moment, you’ve probably got 500+ friends on Facebook, 500+ on Instagram, work colleagues, more group chats than you can even stand, your family just a Facetime away, +700 tinder matches and hundreds of emails flooding your mailbox every day. But at that moment, you’re so, gut-wrenchingly alone you question where all these people actually are.
We’re the most well-connected generation there ever has been but is that also why we’re statistically one of the loneliest age groups? Article after article tells us about the dangers of social media, the harm that one faceless interaction after another has and the impact of this on a generation focused on likes, followers and Instagrammable food.
My theory is kinda simple, we’re so f-ing overloaded with people, background noise, dm’s and filters that we’re exhausted from it. But because most of us are so far deep into it, when the background noise stops- we panic. We panic because now we have a moment to reflect and question what we’re doing, if we’re happy and how many, out of all those people, we can actually rely on.
Self-reliance is important. I’m not saying I’m good at it or have the secret to being all you need because that’s not true. Humans are social creatures, we thrive off of social interactions and the energy of others. But we have to get better at being on our own. I think this could apply to many different people in many different settings but we’re so accustomed to having a crash mat of people, real or not, to break our fall if we’re ever feeling low. Sometimes the crash mat isn’t going to be there and you have to literally dust yourself off, and get back up. This is when you learn who you are and the power of your own strength.
We’re so obsessed with feeling secure as a result of the people we have at our disposal. As long as people are there we surely can’t feel alone right? That’s definitely not true either as someone with social anxiety, I can tell you that I sometimes feel most alone in a big group of people.
So why am I saying this? You need people but you also need to be by yourself? Well kinda yeah…there’s a balance to be reached. I’ve not found it yet and its definitely not simple. But it’s definitely important to think about purposely taking time of all the craziness around you to do something that’s just for you and cut away from everything else. Being by ourselves should, now and then, be a blessing for self-reflection and self-care. We shouldn’t need to panic and stress as soon as no one is thinking about us.
I’m trying to get better at this and find peace in the moments of panic.