One thing that seems to be lacking in our society today is a sense of belonging. The pandemic has certainly taken a toll, but the perilous trends have been building for some time.
Volunteerism is declining along with church attendance and community engagement.
The fabric of our society seems weaker. Decades ago, we lived in neighborhoods, we connected with family and friends locally, participated in schools, churches and community activities. No one was wealthy by today’s standards but there was a wealth in the sense of belonging we each experienced. Not to say life was easy but there was a lot more neighbor helping neighbor. There was an inherent respect for each person’s place in the community.
Today social isolation has reached epidemic proportions. Certainly the pandemic has taken it’s toll globally. But there are other factors involved.
One is the Information Age in which we live. Since the 1970’s, with the advent of digital technology, information is produced and disseminated at an accelerating rate.
We are bombarded with information from sunup to sundown.
This is not to discount the many benefits of having information at our fingertips. But it is too easy to get consumed with this information vortex without even being aware of what is happening.
So it’s not to throw out all the technology. It’s to wake up and make the technology really work for us. It’s being aware that we need to break out of this social isolation vortex that we are in. Face it, most of us spend hours/day online.
So it is a great day to take an inventory of how we are spending our minutes online. Are we connected with others or do we feel like we are on the outside looking in? Do we have goals for our time online that lend meaning and purpose to our lives or are we filling time?
Back to isolation- there are huge health risks not having a sense of social belonging. Anxiety, depression, a weakened immune system, all types of physical ailments.
A sense of belonging helps to give us a sense of purpose. We all have unique gifts and talents that need to be shared with others.
Take some time to reflect on how you are spending the minutes of your day. Reflect on how connected-or isolated- you really are.
Make a conscious effort to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. If we have made new friends online during the pandemic, cultivate those friendships and find ways to reconnect with people in person.
Think about your gifts and talents. Think about messaging you need to share with the world. Think about building community- locally and even globally. Building those intentions and taking action will help ignite positive energy that already will help make the world a better place. And will greatly improve the quality of your life. One valuable minute at a time.