Everywhere you look, you hear or see something that tells you relationships are breaking down. Bullying is back in the news, Facebook fighting is being reported at an all time high, and many young people seem to be doing more to tear each other down then build each other up. What has gone wrong to create these disturbing dynamics?
First, basic relationship skills are not being taught. There is more emphasis on teaching people about Math and Science than the skills of conflict resolution and interpersonal communication. Many run to their social networking sight to learn about someone else rather then be face to face and allow curiosity to take over. Often, on these sights as well as cell phones, people can tear someone down because they can’t see the pain created in their eyes.
Second, many adult relationships seem to contain the toxic chemicals of greed, judgment, gossip, and shallowness. It seems as though many adults require an activity to distract them while they are with each other: a game, a party, or alcohol. These provide the reason to get together and therefore, people are in the same room without any ability to truly be fascinated by the wonder of those around them. Having fun has become the addiction rather than the thrill of a deeply satisfying conversation that can ignite the joy of a person in a moment.
Third, it seems as though many are preoccupied with themselves while those around them sit waiting for quality interaction. It is my belief that we can show courage by over coming fear in many areas, however, it appears we are still deathly afraid of vulnerability and being “known”.
It is time we stop focusing on symptoms that only point out to us there is a problem. Certainly bullying, gossip, cliques, and violence are problems. However, they should force us to take a good look at ourselves and how we live. Are we cultivating deep relationships with our spouses, kids, friends and other important people? Do those around us feel as though we are approachable? Unless we stop accepting meaningless interactions as normal and start holding ourselves to being examples to people around us, especially young people, of deeply engaging relationships grounded in non-judgmental unconditional love, we will continue to reap the results of disconnection. The results are often deadly.
Please make a commitment today to move towards those in your life. Do the work of forgiveness and reconcile with people that have wronged you, if possible, and pursue relationships that have the power to transform those around you. You just might be transformed yourself!
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Shaun Goodsell/ Mental Edge Founder