Today is the second day in a week long exploration of our Human Needs as defined by Maslow. If you haven’t already you can find out more about this exploration in my introductory post, “Why I think Maslow is Wrong“.
You can also read Monday’s post: Exploring Maslow and Human Needs: Physiology
This is kind of a no brainer.
We’re social animals, creatures that can not survive without the love that flows between people.
This isn’t just doe-eyed-heart-pounding-love-of-your-life-please-don’t-let-me-get-divorced-love
This is the love that comes from the smile of a stranger, love that comes from the glint in the eye of your friend as you laugh together, that comes from the tears of the service worker that you recognized as a human being.
Can you believe that back in the first half of the 1900′s it was actually considered proper to NOT touch your child, not to hold them, not to love them. That it was actually considered dangerous to their development?
This is something we have to be careful of, ideas and our knowledge are changing exponentially, It’s like Moore’s law, only with knowledge, and the power of the knowledge is dangerous if we don’t think of the ramifications.
Which is why love and belonging is so important.
Without love and belonging, without social love, without friends and family, we exist in a void.
The void is no place to be, it’s problematic because within the void, you echo back everything that you release to yourself. The amplification becomes too much, because it’s all you. It’s nothing but a feedback loop.
In a world where we have a social circle, the echo disappears. It disappears for two reasons.
YOUR SOCIAL CIRCLE ABSORBS YOU
The presence of other people with which to share love, laughter, ideas, tears and joy acts to absorb the echo. Your people want to be part of you, and in doing so they partake of you, your energy, your love and sense of belonging. This is a good thing. Your feedback loop changes from noise to signal.
This is highly important because existence in a void doesn’t allow you to grow. With no input other than the ever increasing feedback loop of your own echo, you will go insane.
YOU ABSORB YOUR SOCIAL CIRCLE
In turn you partake of your social circle, you laugh, you love, you learn and grow because of this contact, because of this love and belonging.
THIS IS WHAT LIFE IS ALL ABOUT
Everett Bogue just talked about this. We have the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, cellphones, texting, all sorts of ways to connect, but the real connection, the most important connection, the best connection, is face to face.
Without my social circle I would not be the person I am, and I would not be as happy nor as actualized as I am now without my people.
But some people don’t know how to connect, don’t understand how to face to face with a person and don’t see how to use tools like twitter to start a connection.
This is the great challenge ahead of us, we have more tools than ever to connect, and fewer connections than ever before.
The problem is that the tools, the technology, the data (noise) has been consumptive. This has to do with the fact that society has not fully accepted the merge with the Internet. When the majority of society uses a screen right now, it a one to one interface of person to thing.
This is changing. What we have to realize is that the Internet is a conduit, a wormhole from me to you. It’s not static anymore, it’s dynamic and it’s alive because the Internet is us.
The merger of humanity with the Internet has allowed us the unprecedented ability to know a person that lives across the street or across the world, and to communicate with them both at the same time.
But what people don’t realize yet is that the goal, the end result, is face to face.
So how do you connect with a person, how do you love and belong with people face to face.
1. TURN OFF
Your conduit should not be open all the time. Just as you don’t spend every waking moment of every day with your spouse, friends, colleagues and family, you should not be connected to your conduit every moment of every day. You will lose yourself in the conduit if you don’t turn off.
2. MAKE EYE CONTACT
I thought I was good at eye contact until Niall Doherty’s Random Acts of Courage Challenge. Then I found out just how bad I was at it, and just how bad EVERYONE is at it.
Eye contact is essential. It helps you focus on what’s happening, it let’s the person you’re connecting with know that you’re focused and it helps deepen the connection between people. Everyone in the world seems to be uncomfortable with eye contact, which should tell us something about the state of the social fabric of the world.
Don’t forget, eye contact is non-verbal communication, your eyes can say much, and this should be shared.
4. USE THEIR NAME
If you’re having a conversation with a person that lasts more than 5 seconds, then use the person’s name, this is an acknowledgement of their humanity, and the impact is incredible beyond belief. If you know a person’s name, use it, and if you’re having a conversation, almost without exception the first thing you should say is, “Hello, [INSERT NAME HERE] How are you today?” Or some variation thereof.
Then, See #3.
This doesn’t just go for the people in your immediate circle, this is a basic human dignity, and if you didn’t read this when I linked to it at the top of this post, then go read it RIGHT NOW. (yes I’m telling you to leave my site. GO READ THIS. (come back please! )
4. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN
This is one of the more frustrating things in life. Hiding behind double meanings and social norms and fear and expectations that other’s should intuit what you want or mean is just stupid.
You can’t expect a person to know what you want unless you tell them, you can’t expect a person to understand you unless you share what you’re thinking (this does not mean you should talk all the time. See #3) and you can’t expect a person to respond properly to you if you say one thing and mean another.
Communication is key, and if we don’t do this, if we don’t communicate with our people, and communicate with honesty and authenticity then the foundation of your relationship with the person(s) you are not communicating with will crumble.
6. TURN OFF YOUR FUCKING PHONE
Sorry for swearing.
Actually, I’m not. in fact, I’m going to say it again.
TURN OFF YOUR FUCKING PHONE
I don’t care who you are, what your job is or who is on the other end talking, texting, tweeting, whatever. With the exception of the rare emergency or critically important call/message, whatever is coming in is not as important as the person(s) right in front of you.
TURN IT OFF
This also applies to the computer, TV, gameboy, iPad, Xbox, whatever. Any conduit that is distracting you from the person you are with at this moment right now should be turned off.
NOTHING IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE PERSON IN FRONT OF YOU
We are humans, and we need each other. Leaving that conduit open all the time makes you a slave to it and you get lost inside of it. It defeats the purpose of it, so do yourself a favor and
TURN IT OFF
This week’s exploration is a lead up to the release of my free ebook, Flipping Your Switch: A meditation on awareness and defining your own freedom.
Coming up tomorrow is an examination of our Esteem needs, followed by Self Actualization needs and culminating with Safety and Security needs.
If you’re feel the love I’m sharing please share it with your family and friends via the tweet and like buttons below. Then turn it off.
No matter what, I love you.