words by Persia Lawson & Joey Rayner of AddictiveDaughter.com
January is once more upon us, and no doubt, the majority will be busily scribing a hefty list of new resolutions to get stuck into. Many of these will include giving things up (most likely booze, dairy, sugar and/ or gluten), but how about considering giving up something far more challenging: our iPhones. OK, we know that this probably can’t be an all or nothing type resolution – after all, we do need these little devices to quite a large extent nowadays in order to function at all in our modern lives (we’re sure your bosses would not be too pleased to hear that you didn’t plan on responding to any of your emails throughout January!). However, if we are honest with ourselves, the world has become alarmingly addicted to these mini computers, and it is seriously affecting our connection with the people we love the most.
How many times have you sat opposite close friends in the pub or a nice restaurant, only to spend the majority of the evening checking yourselves in and uploading photos onto Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? How many times have you sat down to watch a film with friends, family or lovers over the festive period, only to miss most of the plot because you are so busy scrolling through the latest sales on ASOS? How many times have you failed to look a waiter/ receptionist/ taxi driver directly in the eye because you are too busy talking on your phone, or flicking through Pinterest? How many unnecessary dramas have resulted from misunderstood tones in text messages? We could go on, but we think you get the picture.
The point is, these little electronic rectangles have become a poor man’s substitute for real connection, and like any addiction, the problem is getting progressively worse over time. Did you know that there now exists rehab and 12 Step programs specifically targeted towards people who are addicted to phones and the internet? Sound a little drastic? Try putting your phone in a drawer for one whole day over the weekend, and see how you cope. It’s a damn sight harder than it sounds.Brene Brown – the brilliant expert on shame and vulnerability notes that: “When we treat people as objects, we dehumanize them. Human beings are hardwired for connection – emotionally, physically and spiritually.” When we sit opposite our friends and family at a table and spend the majority of the time looking down at our phone, we are putting out the message that they are not worthy of our attention or respect. This is dangerous territory because, not only does it stop us from being present in the moment, it also sends the subliminal message to ourselves that we are not worthy of real intimate connection with those around us.
So, our 2014 tip for your new years resolutions? Make connection a priority. Put phones away at the dinner table. Look people in the eye when they talk to you – especially people who are providing you a service. Read a book, instead of mindlessly scrolling through the internet for four hours. No technology at bedtime. And most importantly, when you have gone to the trouble of arranging a get together with people you cherish, be there with them, instead of aimlessly floating around cyber space.
Because, when push comes to shove, the internet does not love or care about you, your friends and family do. Honour that.
By Persia & Joey, founders of alternative lifestyle blog addictivedaughter.com