Last week at a symphony concert in Indianapolis, I saw someone I knew and asked her “what are you doing in Cincinnati”? Wow, that was a red flag for me that this transition/move was taking its toll on my ability to remember where I was.
Any life transition can put us in a state of “betwixt and between” and we don’t really know how to deal with the unexpected reactions that rise up. I have noticed that it is difficult for me to engage and reach out to people I know because I am overwhelmed by change. I have moved several times before and inevitably there is a deep sense of alienation from what is familiar and comforting.
First comes the feeling of disconnection or loneliness in any situation or aspect of life. That feeling then attracts certain habits that perpetuate and add weight to the original feeling. The habits hold power to comfort and ease the pain of the feeling; it can even be a feeling that has been stored in your emotional memory since childhood.
These habits of disengagement and loneliness are so ingrained in our behavior that they feel familiar, like a favorite winter sweater, or chair by the fire. The Truth is that we are designed to live interdependently, engaged in meaningful work, fueled by passion and purpose through relationships in a community of like-minded people.
According to Gallup research, positive relationships, right (and reasonable) expectations, appreciation and recognition are critical to the feeling and acts of engagement. When these are missing, or devalued, the opportunity for feelings of disengagement and loneliness to occur increase. If this happens repeatedly, coping habits are established that are difficult to recognize and change.
I’ve put together a list of 7 Highly Effective Habits of Disengagement that can keep you from connecting with what makes your heart sing!
When you habitually…….
- Use “NO” as your default for everything! The movie “Yes Man” starring Jim Carey is a great example of this habit!
- Lack follow through on commitments and engage in unresponsive behaviors.
- Take things personally. Read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz for more insight into this habit.
- Focus on the weaknesses and unworthiness of self and others.
- Have difficulty making decisions.
- Stay stuck in the past.
- Intentionally (not circumstantially) disconnect from a community of like-minded people.
These habits form a vortex of energy that feeds on itself like a tornado, getting stronger and stronger until it destroys everything in its path. However, if you believe in the “Butterfly Effect”;
one little change in a different direction will weaken the force of the winds and cause the storm to fall apart.
Is there a magic pill that will fix this?
Yes, there is!
If you want to feel appreciated, encouraged, praised and acknowledged; do it for someone in your life.
If you want to have everything you need to be successful; give to others what they need to be successful.
If you want to feel like others are invested in you, your mission and purpose; invest in someone else’s mission and purpose.
If you want to have a best friend; be a best friend.
If you want to learn, grow and develop your strengths; learn about the strengths of those around you and help them grow and develop their strengths.
Warning! I like to call it The Boomerang Approach to Love and Engagement: when we expect that what we send out will be returned to us by the same means it inevitably leads to disappointment. Let go of the outcome. The good you do will be returned to you, however, we are not the ones that determine the path that it comes back to us or the timing! Even if the people you are engaging with do not respond, do it anyway! For more ideas on this topic read Anyway by Dr. Kent M. Keith.
This is the cure for disengagement and loneliness; take a a large dose with gratitude and thank your lucky stars you have the power to change!