As life gets more and more hectic, most of the spare time we once had for casual conversations around the water cooler or the dinner table has been engineered out of our days leaving more and more of us feeling isolated and alone. The increasing trend toward remote working and the constant use of technology only furthers our solitary pursuits.
One of our most basic human needs is to feel seen, heard and understood. While the workdays of professionals such as consultants, doctors, and lawyers, among other disciplines are filled with appointments, they can still feel cut off from their social supports as time for meaningful connections with friends and colleagues increasingly disappears.
And it doesn’t appear to be much different at home. Our personal lives have become so overscheduled that many of us practically need a spreadsheet just to manage all the weekend activities. Have you ever paused to reflect on this and come to realize you can’t remember the last time you actually looked your loved ones in the eye and really saw them as the special life partners they are?
Several of my clients have told me that one of the most valuable things they get out of their coaching is that their need to have someone understand how their mind works is met. That can help them make decisions that use their strengths and meet their goals.
So what can you do about this situation? You can start by being present for yourself. When is the last time you actually looked yourself in the eye and saw the special person in the mirror looking back at you? And make a practice of regularly stopping to think about how you feel about a situation before making a decision about how best to approach it.
At work, consider spending the first few minutes of every meeting you have with close colleagues to check in with one another about what is most important and what you can do to help each other. Make a point of looking them in the eye and reflect back to them your understanding of what they just said so they know they’ve been seen and heard. Schedule some time to spend alone each week to contemplate what’s most important to you in the various aspects of your life.
And for goodness sake, whether you live alone or with a partner, make a commitment to date nights even if it means staying in and playing a board game, watching a movie, or reading a great book while listening to your favorite music. While you may actually have to formally schedule it, take time to connect with yourself, friends, colleagues and partners. Really listen to what they have to say and express yourself so you are clearly heard and understood. It doesn’t have to take a long time, but the payoff will be tremendous when you feel more connected to the important people in your life – starting with your own special self.