A couple of things prompted me to write this post, but I have to thank a friend for sharing with me a FB post about a card game “Mentally Stimulate Me” that spurred me to put these words to pen…or shall I say cyberspace. We had a brief conversation about dating, relationships, and today’s society, and later when I was tagged in a post about the game, my reaction was “now this is exactly the point.”
I’ve long observed a few lost arts to relationships and human connection in today’s world. Intimacy (and I’m not talking about physical intimacy), communication, being intentional and present, as well as, integrity and vulnerability are just a few.
Having an engineering degree, having worked in the IT field and still very much working with and using technology, like many I embrace technology, however, in many ways it has hindered our basic human interactions and connections. We now live in a world of “virtual” relationships where people get to know each other through online spaces like Facebook or Snapchat or primarily communicate through texting that in my opinion lacks basic fundamental intimacy. Arguably, we are all so busy juggling various aspects of life, more complexities, and live further from our jobs, families and friends, which is why we rely on technology so heavily. Yet, the tools we use to bridge the quantity of our relationships, in my opinion, hinder the quality of our relationships. Learning about this game “Mentally Stimulate Me” is an example of how we are at a point where people are having to create a game to get at what we should already embrace in natural human behavior…talking, communicating, being open, sharing, stepping away from fear of deeply personal discussions to truly tap into the mentality, psychology and spirituality of others.
I can honestly say I’m not the biggest phone person and can have tendencies like my dad to be more quiet, observant, and maybe even somewhat distant, however, I love and enjoy the connection of being in someone’s presence and sharing thoughts, ideas, and experiences. Even enjoying the sound of someone’s voice, the highs & lows, and auditory expressions of individuals I truly connect with are more enjoyable than the mediums of text, tweet, like and comments. I still recall the enjoyment of sitting listening to my grandma share family history stories and those are some of the most cherished moments of intimacy that I have.
Now, this is not to say that I don’t, like many folks, text or post “Happy Birthday” messages to family and friends or think that it’s cool to text brief messages (i.e. Hellos, Good mornings, directions, and others) to people. It’s just that I find that often we rely on certain mediums too much to create, build, and maintain relationships, or use them as our primary means to nurture relationships without thought to the lack of intimacy that ensues.
I also recognize that there a certain times and perhaps only certain individuals, family, friends, etc., that people even want to create intimate spaces with, which leads me to being intentional. Particularly in today’s “dating” world, I’ve found that often out of fear, trying to be cool, having gotten comfortable and various other reasons, many people aren’t intentional about maintaining relationships or even “being present”, which translates to being attentive or concerned or in-tuned with another person.
Before you can connect with and truly know someone else, I feel that you first must know yourself, especially to be able to be honest with others about who you are. One of the things about being intentional about relationships is that it is a priority, something you want and do make time for. Especially these days, it’s funny to me how we often act like we are so busy or too busy for certain things. We all make time for what we truly want to make time for and if you don’t make time for certain things or certain people, that is ok. Sometimes it’s that person that you may or may not be meant to have a certain relationship with, sometimes it is or isn’t the right timing of it. But let’s at least be honest about it.
In being intentional about getting to know others, developing and maintaining relationships, it’s important to really learn what their interests, desires, fears, needs, goals, purpose and more are in order to ensure authentic connection and understanding. We often may think we are giving or doing something that WE may feel is important to the relationship, without realizing that the other person does not value or even recognize what WE are doing. And they may be looking or seeking something completely different. We have varying priorities, needs, opinions, perspectives, so to have time and space to bring all that out into the open for those involved is key.
Integrity. Integrity. Integrity. What happened to the days where “word is bond” and when people did what they said they were going to do? And I’ll give you one better, because no one is perfect. Even if you didn’t do something you said you were going to do, you at least acknowledged it or apologized or owned up to it when you realized you didn’t (because perhaps you forgot, got distracted or were hindered).
I’m nowhere near perfect, however, I’m so tied to my word that I remember about 5-6 years ago when I told my dad I would model for some photos he was taking for a class. I completely forgot about it and the next time I had visited my parents, he didn’t even mention it but I happen to see his camera and remembered what I said I was going to do. I was so apologetic because I rarely forget things like that and me being a daddy’s girl, I would never not want to come through for my dad. He said it was ok and had got his assignment done, but I still felt bad. But I remember that from years ago, because it is such a rare instance and words are like promises that I don’t easily break.
To be so connected to our word and our integrity that instances where we lapse are rare, to me is ideal because it means we truly honor what comes out of our mouths and don’t just say anything to anyone at anytime.
To end this post, I’ll say that I truly feel we as human beings are beautifully made, beautifully flawed, and beautifully growing creations, which is why I feel our vulnerability is so amazingly beautiful. Our vulnerability allows us to strip away the layers of past experiences, pretentiousness, what we feel we need to show outward, etc…and simply be. Like a child with no sense of wariness, walls, fears,…we are able to open ourselves up knowing that we can be hurt, we can receive joy, love, happiness, we can be surprised, and still we can be who we are meant to be and trust in the life experience we are meant to gain from being just that.