Two women on bench

by Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd

 

We are all living in a hyper-connected world today, making constant connections through a myriad of digital gadgets and applications. We see many connections happening but are we having any real conversations? Think about it, if you were to add up all your texts, tweets and posts would they even add up to one good conversation? I don’t think mine would.

 

MIT Professor Dr. Sherry Turkle makes a sharp distinction between conversations that take place face-to-face, in the real world, and connections made online through social media. She says, “We are tempted to think that our little ‘sips’ of online connections add up to a big gulp of real conversation, but they don’t. Email, Facebook, Twitter it has its place, but it does not substitute for conversation.”

 

In order to have real intimacy in our relationships it will require face-to-face conversations. There are conversations that everyone must have.

 

1. Conversations with God – The most important conversation to start your day with is talking with God and listening to His voice. Research shows most people have already looked at a screen before they’ve even gotten out of bed. I know the pull is strong, but try to give God the first view of your day and then cultivate your God-awareness throughout that day.

 

2.) Conversations with Yourself – This conversation that helps to develops self-awareness is really lacking in our digital age. As I sit with clients each day I am seeing a sharp rise in the lack of self-awareness. It shouldn’t be “I tweet therefore I am” but “I am therefore I tweet”. We must spend time with ourselves in silence and solitude processing our thoughts and emotions. Research shows us if we’re not able to be alone, we’re going to be lonelier. We also need to watch our self talk and work at telling our brains what to think.

 

3.) Conversations with Others – We all could do a better job of developing our other-awareness. Start by exploring the people you come in contact each day with thoughtful questions and genuine interest. Have as much face-to-face, digital free conversations as possible. Recognize feelings in others and read both their verbal and nonverbal expressions. Learn to listen. The best conversationalists are those who know how to listen.

 

Real relationships and conversations are messy, challenging, unpredictable, and time consuming. Let’s face it real relationships are hard work. But they are God’s design for us and they are worth it. May we all be challenged to be present to God, ourselves and to others.