Yes, there is a way to authentically connect with your loved ones without using social media. I’ll be the first to admit that while I log on to Facebook on a daily, very rarely do I actually connect with friends and family members who are also on Facebook. Social media has this way of making you antisocial, or just increases your social isolation. Think about it–the more you connect online, the less you connect in person and the more lonely you feel because there’s no one there to share your time with. So how does one stay connected in a world where out digital connections keeps us from connecting as human beings?
In order to combat the increasing isolation that social media breeds, you have to tap into your personal happiness. I know it sounds like some self-help mumbo jumbo, but happiness is the key to not being lonely or socially isolated. However, lonely people are not happy people. I want us to all be happy and make genuine connections, so I asked Christian Megrelis, biblical scholar, and author of “Glossary of Hope,” a contemporary distillation of New Testament teachings and their applications today. I’m sure you’re asking, “What could this guy teach me,” especially if you’re not a religious and/or spiritual person. Megrelis breaks down the five simple keys for reconnecting in a world where social media and it’s unintentional anti-social bubble reigns supreme. Honestly, these five steps will help you regain your humanity and there’s nothing more connected than that.
1. Work on loving everyone – from the stranger on the bus to your worst enemy. “This is difficult, I admit, but you don’t need to do it perfectly to see the benefits,” Megrelis says. How does one take this from intellectual concept to practice? With humanitarian acts, Megrelis says. Stop and help the person who has fallen down. Smile and say something kind to the harried store clerk. And give–not just what’s easy to give, like the old clothes you no longer wear. Share your money, your time and your resources.
2. Don’t judge! Another that’s deceptively simple but gets easier with practice, Megrelis says. “Passing judgment on others is actually a very selfish act; we do it in order to feel better about ourselves, but it really isn’t effective in that regard,” he says. When you catch yourself commenting negatively about someone else, whether loud or in your mind, stop yourself and consider your own flaws. Honesty demands you focus on and correct those before your neighbor’s.
3. Forgive. Holding a grudge or seeking revenge for perceived wrongs is a primitive impulse response. Forgiveness is a cerebral sentiment that comes from the cortex of the brain–the source of reason. Reason is what allows us to resist dangerous primitive impulses in able to achieve more far-sighted objectives, such as social life, which is impossible without forgiveness.
4. Do good that makes a difference. Feeling we have no purpose in life or being unsure what our purpose is can lead to despair or indifference often resulting in sterile ambition, delusion or conceit, all of which serve to isolate us from others. We all have a purpose, whether or not it’s easily discernible. “Whatever place is yours in society, bring your brick every day to the never-ending construction of a happier world and you will quickly recognize your purpose,” Megrelis says.
5. Have faith. You don’t have to subscribe to a particular religion or follow dogmatic rules to have faith. “It’s actually harder than that!” says Megrelis. Faith is the belief that there is something greater than us, the creator of the world in which we live, guiding all with an order and a purpose. Faith may be–and often is–marked by periods of doubt, but it should be the compass to which you return. Faith brings with it a connection to all other living things.
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