The Social Network.

Despite the title of this post, I’m not talking about Facebook, or the film, although I think both are brilliantly entertaining. I’m talking about the importance of being around people, even when we don’t feel like we need to. Even when we feel like we would rather not, and that we hate the world and everyone in it is no use to us and just doesn’t ‘get’ us. Is it just me that sometimes feels this way? I used to think so, but now I’m not so sure.

I like to think that I am a pretty positive person, and I do try to see the best in people. However, I have been known to get so incredibly frustrated over the smallest of perceived slights. Particularly terrible drivers. Road rage seems to be something that is so tempting to indulge in, and once it’s sucked you in, you’re in trouble. It will ruin your day, and make you resent your fellow humans. Yet I have engaged in it too many times to count.

When we have one negative experience, we can tend to generalise this to every single possible experience, ever. I know that this isn’t brain science, but it is easy to forget sometimes. What’s even easier to forget (because it can be hard to be the bigger person) is that we are in charge of our feelings. Whenever I choose to drive peacefully, I accept that it is going to take me as long as it is going to take me, and I do not rush or get frustrated with other drivers. I give them the benefit of the doubt – who knows, maybe they are rushing to the hospital or perhaps they are upset from some terrible news they received a few minutes ago. When we put things in perspective and look at the bigger picture, instead of focusing in on ourselves, we feel better.

Which is why it is good to surround ourselves with people. Even when you don’t necessarily feel like it. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, it is a good thing. It is so easy to forget our shared humanity (yes, really) and to think that we prefer to be alone. I used to think this too, and I still enjoy having some ‘me’ time. But not too much. When I get an exorbitant amount of this ‘me’ time that I have pushed so hard for, I start to feel lonely. I get sad, and I get inside my own head. All sorts of fun mental games start to happen then. I can literally drive myself crazy, but I will think that I am perfectly fine and it’s just that no one understands.

When I wrote about our return from Bali a few days ago, I talked about how travel really puts a lot of things in perspective and allows us to really be part of the world we live in. The thing is, it is not just travel alone that does this. It is not that we are not part of this world, it is that we just don’t feel like we are. Gaining perspective can be a great reason to travel to Indonesia, but I could also see a completely different part of my own city by driving 30 minutes to Brunswick. In fact, we did a few weeks ago, and it was eye-opening too.

I caught up with a beautiful friend for lunch and was telling her about The New Psycho-Cybernetics (everyone should read it, it’s that good). She is a beautiful person inside and out, but I know she has struggled with similar issues to me. This is because we all struggled with similar issues.

Because we are all more alike than we are different.

Isn’t that refreshing? I remember watching Oprah a little while ago and she was adamant about this. We all want similar things, and we are all juts not that different. That is not to say that we don’t all have our own talents and gifts, because I believe that every one has a purpose for being alive and gifts that only they can provide. But when we say this, it puts a little bit of pressure on us to know exactly what that is, now! A lot of us (myself included) feel we don’t know why we are here, but that may just be because the reasons we thought of were deemed unworthy. By our own minds. They are worthy, and it is okay not to know everything, but just know that you are not alone.

I hope this inspires you to contact someone in your life who is important to you, or perhaps someone with whom you have lost contact. People need human interaction and it is one of the greatest gifts you can give. So many lonely hearts would be mended if more of us reached out and embraced this and understood that we really are all in this together.

Image: xedos4 /