In our technologically saturated world, the definition of “connection” is in flux. I appreciate the ability to frequently FaceTime my mom over 2,000 miles away. Without easy video chat our connection would not be fulfilling. We can maintain deep relationships of being known, like a family, through technology. I also appreciate a burgeoning on-line community around entertainment. Rather than being broadcast a set program via television, we can now chat with our entertainers, and other audience members, on YouTube, Instagram or TikTok. In so many ways we can feel more connected to the world around us, connect with our tribe of common interest, through technology.
“Connection” is nuanced. Having a family and a tribe, whether on screen or IRL is important. For example, some people may have one or two important physical connections – like a spouse or a child or a close friend. And yet they can feel socially isolated, left out. FOMO. They might have a family but not a tribe. And for others, they may be around other people all day, and yet feel lonely. The connections are just not fulfilling, not deep. These people may have a tribe, but not a family. For our physical and emotional health, connection should result in BOTH a feeling of being included (tribe) and being known (family).
Not having a tribe can lead to social isolation. Not having a family (and this doesn't necessarily mean blood relatives) can lead to loneliness.
The pandemic has facilitated a growth in on-line connections, even to point of building and maintaining meaningful relationships. That is to be applauded. We are all learning new ways of connecting. Possibilities are expanding as accelerated by the pandemic. However, there are thousands of years of evolution that create basic human needs. That includes the touch, sight, smell, feel, and being deeply known, by a few other people. Don’t forget these needs, too. Nurturing our mental health takes attention and intention. To care for yourself, find your tribe AND family. On-line and in real life.