Everyone seems to think that with all the social media options, we have forgotten how to truly connect to another person. But I don’t think that is actually true.
Because connection has always been about how much emotional energy that each person puts into the connection. It’s always been about emotional priorities.
Even if the Internet died today, I believe we’d still be experiencing a dearth of real connection.
You see, the issue isn’t about what format we use to connect to those we love. The issue is about how dialed in to consensual reality that you are (click the link if you don’t remember my definitions of objective reality, subjective reality, and consensual reality).
Far too many people have somehow decided that subjective reality is the only REAL reality. That because something SEEMS to be defined by our own personal perspective, that means that ALL perspectives are exactly the same as our own. Having lived now with two different people who LIVE that concept – to the extent that their grasp of either objective or consensual reality is tenuous at best – I understand clearly the frustration at people wanting a more supposedly real connection.
Unfortunately, unless you can actually put the emotional energy and emotional priority into a relationship (ANY kind of relationship), you will never experience that real connection.
Now, for some people, it is that emotional intimacy is terrifying. They have, in their past, experienced trauma so intimately that they cannot trust anyone but themselves. And the trauma doesn’t have to be abuse, or physical injury, or near-death experiences. It comes down to something your subjective perspective sees as traumatic, and destroys you ability to trust in anyone but yourself.
Someone with that level of fear of emotional intimacy can often not recognize that they have that fear. The trauma that led to that trust issue (or set of trust issues) may be so ingrained in their personality that it seems to be a rational activity.
It doesn’t help that there are those people out there who are so caught up in their own subjective reality that they cannot help but abuse the love or care that someone else gives them. Their lives and their minds are so distorted by their own personal worldview that they consider their actions to be reasonable and rational – even when told by mental health professionals that those actions and choices are destructive and abusive.
So, someone who is naturally compassionate can end up as one of those terrified by emotional intimacy, because they’ve been destroyed too many times by those who literally cannot see their own abusive nature.
I myself have fears about emotional intimacy, some pretty damned big ones. Some come from my own experiences in my teens and 20s relating to not being able to trust assorted authority figures who abdicated their responsibility to protect me. Some come from my marriage to a man who is completely the kind of person I describe above (2 paragraphs up).
But I’m also lucky enough to have people in my life who are persistent enough and engaged enough in an emotional connection to me that they ignore my attempts to push them away or armor myself against them. I’m not saying they are attacking me. They are being faced with an emotional habit, one that has gotten completely out of control. The persistence is necessary to remind me I am not alone.
So, if you don’t feel connected, don’t blame your computer. Take that chance, let someone in. Even if it is only over Facebook, learn to allow yourself to have that emotional intimacy with someone. Will you fail at times? Yes, because you can’t control other people’s actions. But if you want real connection you have to give it that emotional priority.