The Importance of Being Human
Two simple words that hold a lot of meaning. With the words typed on this page, can you tell how I really am? If I put an exclamation point on the end, would that help? What about a question mark? Does that help any more? I would assume not, because that’s all they are to you, words on a page. You don’t see the smile on my face, or maybe the tears falling from my eyes. You can’t “feel” how I feel, just from those two words.
This is where human interaction comes into play.
In this world of drive through conversations and contact through online groups, texts, and Snapchats, human contact and interaction has taken a back seat. People can sit at the same table in a restaurant staring at their phones texting other people, but they can’t participate in a human conversation with the people sitting across the table from them. Feelings and emotions have been reduced to an emoji or the number of likes and comments per post. Relationships have been reduced to “swipe left or right.” Then when things don’t work out, it’s back to texting to end a relationship.
The job I do, the one that pays my bills, requires me to work on equipment that runs 24 hours a day. If something goes wrong or breaks, I get a red alarm to tell me it’s broken. I visit sites daily—to look, listen, smell, and touch the equipment. To get telltale signs that something is not right. I can sense a problem before something goes wrong.
This happens with humans too. If we wait until someone is broken, or needs help, then we are not having human contact. We need to talk to people and make phone calls to friends. Hell, even a video chat is considered human interaction. Through these contacts, we get a sense of our friend’s state of mind and can tell when things are not quite right. We can sense a problem before they break. It’s called “being human.”
People need contact with others to feel human. People need to feel another person’s touch. It makes us feel worthy and important. Conversations between humans and direct eye contact are part of being human.
Most people know what it feels like to end a relationship or have one ended by text. Do you know what it feels like to look someone in the eyes, face to face, and end a relationship? You feel the pain they are feeling in that moment. You see the tears rolling down their face. And if you’re human, you will feel your own tears as well. As difficult as this sounds, it builds character and understanding for others. It allows us to face our fears and our demons head on, face to face, and deal with them as humans are meant to do. We grow from these moments. We allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and it builds respect. Respect for ourselves as well as other people.
Our children are growing into teenagers who have no idea what it means to interact with humans. Their lives are all in this little 3x5 box we call a phone. Teach your children the importance of being human. Teach them how to carry on a conversation with one another. Teach them how to deal with disappointments by facing each other.
We all could use a lesson on being human again. We forget how it feels to touch someone who is hurting, or be touched when we are hurting. Have you ever broken down and cried in a stranger's arms? With human contact, it allows all emotions to flow free. Everything you are and everything you want to be is released in that moment. The weight of your trouble is lifted from your heart.
So, in this fast paced world, let’s take the time to put down our “boxes” and lift up our heads. Let us become human again to feel the emotions and see the world around us. Let's talk to people with a human voice. This world we live in is a pretty amazing place, and the people around us are our Tribe. We are not meant to do life alone. We are meant to do this together.
And by the way, I am really fine. Just fine.
This post previously appeared on The Good Men Project.