“Times have changed from when kids would walk out their front door and go visit with the neighborhood kids.” – Sandra
It’s not enough to have a ton of “friends” on Facebook, followers on Instagram, or be known by numerous people (for one can feel isolated even in a crowd, or alone within their own family). At the same time, with only a few trusted, heartfelt connections, one can enjoy time in solitude, and not feel lonely. It’s really all about the quality of the connection.
Which is why the Teen Years are so important for cultivating the skills of authentic connection. It’s not about being the most popular, talented, smartest or prettiest. It’s about learning how to find your tribe, and build connections that suit you. This begins by slowing down long enough to know who you are (deep down inside), and cultivating the courage to share that with others.
So much of today’s social media is hype: Using filters to enhance your image, picking the best “selfie” out of the bunch to share, editing your words until they sound perfect, or only talking about the good things happening in your life. This can leave many young people feeling inadequate compared to these doctored personas, leading to insecurity, self-loathing and isolation.
We need to help today’s young people to understand that there was a world that existed before the hype, where people formed bonds based on shared interests and an investment in creating a safe space to share yourself, imperfections and all. Feeling lonely in inevitable at various times in our lives. But there is a cure … in learning how to build heartfelt connections.
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