The Importance of Human Connection
A few weeks ago, after spending a couple of days in the garden and tending to domestic
duties, I got outside with my one-year-old and headed to the local park. Kids ran around like
wild things, grannies hobbled after them, young mums and dads shadowed their children as
they stared at their phones.
So often, we carry an aching void inside of us that we fill with distraction. Whatever the
vice, it grips us and waits, ready for the next spare moment to pounce. And in doing so,
takes us away from being present with our loved ones. But when we don’t feel connected to
those around us, we so often feel alone.
When did we all get so lonely? Over half of Americans claim to only know one person they
can talk to about their vulnerabilities. Millions of people feel they have nobody to turn to in
times of desperation. What’s happening here? We are living in an overcrowded and isolated
world. Something has gone drastically wrong.
In Jonny Sun’s TED Talk, You Are Not Alone in Your Loneliness, he shares how being
vulnerable and open with other people can help us find comfort and feel less lonely. The
internet is a place of noise and confusion, but it can also be a place for connection. By
reaching out with his writing and illustrations, sharing his loneliness, people responded with
their feelings. In time, a community came together and each person began to feel less
So, how do we nurture our relationships? By reaching out and being vulnerable, by sharing
our loneliness, by connecting – whether that’s a phone call or arranging dinner – we can do
something each week that will improve our friendships and relationships, ultimately helping
ourselves and others feel less alone.
People are important in our lives. We may be busy, we may have jobs to do, but we need
each other. Loneliness has a negative effect on our health in the same way smoking fifteen
cigarettes a day, binge drinking, and obesity do. That’s powerful. There lies the truth – we
are social beings, we need each other to literally survive. Perhaps the most important thing
to nurture in our lives is our relationships and interactions with one another. For without
healthy, trusting connections, we are dust.