Staying too long “in your head” can kill the relationships you care the most about.
Constant contact doesn’t mean we have real relationships with anybody. And, some people have mastered the ability to stay isolated, even though they are often around others. How does this happen? It’s staying too long in your head. You are captured by your own thoughts, and your inner world really isn’t inhabited by others. Sure, you have lots of visitors, but you aren’t really doing life with anyone. People get reduced to distractions, or worse yet, obstacles to overcome.
Every now and then, I find myself in a meeting or in my home, and obviously, I’m not really there, because someone asks, “Are you okay?” And, I’m surprised by the question, because I feel fine, and I’m momentarily puzzled as to why they would ask such a thing. When I’m self-aware and honest, I realize that I was just somewhere else…lost in my world that they were visiting.
Those occurrences, when rare, can simply be comical. But, if that way of living is the consistent approach to life and others, then relationships get sabotaged, and we are no longer able to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). Why? Because we barely notice they are even there. And, when this becomes true of our spouse, kids and co-workers, the effects can be tragic.
Are your relationships threatened in this way? What do you do about it? Just being aware of this tendency helps me work against it.
Finally, it also helps to recognize that there can be a direct connection to isolation and our online way of “living.” Rod Dreher addresses that dynamic here: Blog Post.