Social interaction is a basic need of the human psyche. It helps define our identities and is a critical building block of self-image and self-esteem. We may hate to admit it, but how we see ourselves is coloured by how we think others see us. The looking-glass self can be blamed on evolution and the survival instinct to be protected by the group, but it still has real implications in today’s society – especially in a society that’s erected on Bluetooth and Skype.
We may ‘connect’ with more people and chat with people all over the world but we’re becoming vampires. We have conversations in under 140 characters and catch up over news feeds and comments. As society
evolves devolves, people are losing the ability, maybe even the desire to interact in meaningful ways. Do we really know who are ‘friends’ are online. Do we ask? Do we have dialogues? Do we even respond to their messages or just ‘unsubscribe’ from them?
We’re becoming too insular. The more our worlds expand, the more closed off we are – and when we look into our proverbial mirrors, there’s no reflection staring back at us.
People are becoming invisible.
We say we want friends, but maybe we just want an audience.
Ask a kid today what he wants to be when he grows up; he says ‘famous’. He wants to be heard and seen. He wants attention because our society is void of it.
I used to consider generosity in terms of material or monetary value. Now I tend to use the word to describe people generous in spirit – giving of their warmth and their heart, giving of their time, their compassion and their positivity. We don’t just look for our own reflections in others, we also give them theirs, and being a reflection is a big responsibility. As human beings we should shoulder that responsibility with grace and kindness.
The more I look at the troubles and strife in this world, the more I think the root cause of it is someone just wanting to be heard, to be noticed. Hidden underneath people’s anger, hostility and apathy, are people who feel invisible.
Respond to others. Step out and embrace them, physically or metaphorically. Give a compliment, be a shoulder to lean on. Smile at the person standing in line that looks tired. Comment back, ‘like’ a picture, give of yourself – and maybe in doing so, you can find your own reflection again, smiling back at you.