Why is Happytalism key to reconnection?
We live in a divided world. And not just politically. The world economy is creating winners and losers, with no clear way to prosperity for millions of people. The last couple of decades have produced great inequality of wealth and, with it, unequal access to the reins of power. We are separated along local, regional, and borderlines, and we are divided into rural and urban parts. We increasingly struggle with differences of class, race, and religion.
But the polarization doesn’t stop here. We are also divided politically and ideologically. Race wars, abortion, same-sex marriage, poverty, the use and abuse of power, environmental protection – you name it. The political parties worldwide play a more important role in how people vote and how they think about political issues than we imagine. And the news is no help in that matter. These political, economic, and other polarizations are a clear result of us becoming more and more separated from ourselves, from others, and our planet.
So what can we, as humans, do about this? We must boost public understanding about how to participate in the process, from the smallest towns to the biggest countries in the world. We have to be more mindful when it comes to public dialogue. We must strive for collaboration, cooperation, and compromise in all matters of human existence. Only then can we make our first step towards global human flourishing.
In work and life, we have to deal with others with civility and respect. We should try to recognize our differences and value the things we share in common. This means listening carefully, understanding the other’s point of view, and finding a way to accommodate differences so that everyone can gain something rather than fights producing winners and losers. It also means striving not to hurt others for our sake but instead persuading them to reach a result that helps everyone succeed. Finally, it means that we are all in this together, that we are all striving for the common good.
The Pandemic of Loneliness
Way before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, loneliness was already recognized as a significant public health issue, prompting numerous countries to create a strategy to end loneliness. But with the start of the pandemic, and with such measures as lockdowns, shielding, and limiting contact with others, has left millions more dealing with social isolation, lengthy separations, and loneliness.
In America, just in the past couple of decades, the number of people with zero friends has tripled! More than one-third of people over 45 report feeling lonely, with the predominance among those under 25 and over 65 years old. According to a recent Cigna study, those aged 18-22 have the highest loneliness scores on the Cigna US Loneliness Index.
However, loneliness has significant health consequences, no matter the person’s age. According to Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a psychology professor at Brigham Young University, social isolation and loneliness can be equally damaging to people’s health as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day! Loneliness also contributes to early morbidity and mortality. Lonely people are also at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, obesity, depression and are more likely to lose the ability to perform their daily tasks.
The problem has become so severe that in 2018, then British Prime Minister Teresa May appointed the first Minister of Loneliness, announcing a national strategy to fight one of our time’s most significant public health challenges.
As former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy writes: ‘We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s.’ What do these numbers tell us? That it’s time for us to start seeing health as not only physical or mental but also social.
Key to Reconnection
What humankind desperately needs is a return to wholeness. Deep inside, most people struggle with loneliness due to the lack of awareness about their ultimate wounds (shame, guilt, rejection, denial, separation, repression). Instead of active healing of these wounds, people tend to lock themselves in their states of hurting. On a massive scale, this creates collective suffering, and collective suffering requires collective healing.
The first step is learning how to forgive and love ourselves. It is a reconnection with our basic personal potential and talent, discovering our life’s purpose, and realizing our highest personal happiness. But, what are we actually reconnecting with? We are reconnecting with the light and universality of our being, letting our consciousness return to the natural balance. When our consciousness is balanced, then healing begins. From there, we can have the freedom to be, consciousness to expand and evolve, and happiness to share.
Happytalism as a New Mindset
Practicing empathy, compassion, and consciousness can help prevent and reduce chronic loneliness. As far as compassion goes, we need to divide compassion towards others and compassion towards ourselves. Self-compassion is learning how not to be hard on yourself. We all make mistakes, but we can also have the will to mend things.
As doctor Kristin Neff explains, having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. It means acting the same way towards yourself in both difficult and happy times. Instead of mercilessly berating yourself for your shortcomings, you should confront personal failings with kindness and understanding.
This is done because you care about yourself, not because you are worthless. Having compassion towards yourself and others means that you honor and accept your humanness. The more we are ready to open up our hearts to this reality instead of fighting against it, the more we will be able to feel compassion for ourselves and our fellow human beings.
When we are unconscious and shut off, we cannot recognize the things that hinder our growth. When we are unaware of specific issues within our character or life, they can have complete control over us. With time, our lives can go in the opposite direction of how we wanted them to go because we failed to practice awareness and consciousness.
The change starts with awareness and self-compassion and continues with learning from meaningful relationships and contributing to the common good. Being mindful, centered, calm, and conscious is the solution to human issues, both on a small and grand scale. This is the Happytalism way.
We need to tap into our spiritual selves (regardless of our beliefs) and awaken our consciousness to accept and love ourselves fully. Once we can value ourselves, we can feel the same for others. Once we feel the same for others, we’re effectively fighting against polarization and disconnection from self, others, and nature. A goal truly worth working for!
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