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Social Media Loneliness

Lonely is a feeling many of us have encountered, and likely we reach for our connection devices to scroll our social media of choice, seeking a connection. This powerful pull towards our account probably comes from a feeling of loneliness.

We are hardwired to be connected.

Research by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Timothy B. Smith, and J. Bradley Layton found that living with air pollution increases odds of dying early by 5%, obesity, 20%, excessive drinking, 30%, and living with loneliness increases our odds of dying early by 45%. When I read this research in Brene ´Brown’s book Atlas of the Heart, I was shocked. And yes, a few minutes later, I found myself reaching for my phone to scroll for a minute while processing what this means in my life.

As I was scrolling, post-shaming political choices moved through my feed. My hand stopped scrolling, and there was a pause, my mind processing the feeling of someone else’s blame for choices. The connection broke. The emotions of shame and blame were present instead.

It occurs to me this is the secret sauce of Facebook and other Social Media sites. They offer us a chance to connect. To learn what is going on in people's lives far from us. An opportunity to feed our beings with the connection we must have to thrive.

On the flip side, they also offer us a chance to disconnect through shame and blame. It comes in all styles of posts. Anger about politics. Posts of pretty (by media standards) people. Perfection. The list can go on forever.

The talk of shame and blame in our minds triggers these emotions, and disconnection and loneliness arise.

Coaching Questions:

  • What can you do to connect without breaking up with social media (because it does bring connection with people far and wide)?

  • What connection do you desire?

  • What will feed your soul?

  • What can you do to give voice to the shame and blame? Because voicing the feelings of shame and blame release their hold on you.

  • What is your safe place to be unabashedly you?

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