If you are like me, your morning alarm is set on your phone, so the first thing you end up doing is fumbling around for your glowing, chiming beacon of light, and then staring blankly at it, as you try to get your fingers to successfully swipe away the eerie melody. Once you have that little life line in your sweaty palms, you get sucked in to checking the latest gossip on Facebook, and digesting articles on Vice or HuffPost. Then, you might filter through some emails and texts, and see who inconsiderately “messengered” you in the middle of the night, all while still laying in bed, and wiping the sleep out of your eyes. All of your attention goes outward during those very precious first moments of waking up, and that sets the tone for the entire day.
There are countless articles out there about the importance of those first moments of waking up, and how the healthiest thing to do is actually keep the phone out of arm’s reach, and meditate or set your intentions for the day instead.
So, in an attempt to be kinder to myself, and put to test the theories of these self-help articles, I tried a little experiment.
I lasted for three days.
In those three days, I forced myself to turn off my alarm, and then set the phone down. I would get up, make some coffee, all the while not looking at my phone. The point was to look inward, and check in with myself before I let anything from the big, bad, scary world influence me. I even tried to meditate while sitting in the sun, and sipping my coffee. I have to admit that those were some anxiety filled moments, because I kept wondering about what I was missing.
This little social experiment for one got me questioning how present I am for my friends and family. Don’t my loved ones deserve the same amount of undivided attention that my clients receive? Yes, of course they do.
This Fear of Missing Out phenomenon that has jokingly and pervasively become a theme for football fans is no joke, and what happens when this “FOMO” theory catches up to you and your relationship?
If you find yourself looking for outward stimuli from the moment you wake up in the morning, what prevents the same issue from transferring in to your relationships? You might start looking outside of your intimate pairings, which includes looking to yourself, in hopes to find some reinforcement, love, or humor, and once you start looking out, looking back in can become a treacherous journey homeward.
We look to social media and the news for distractions, and we become so involved with world noise that we can’t detect the steady din in our bodies directing us towards a more intimate knowledge of ourselves. During the times when we should be resting, we are filling our lives with chatter and not allowing ourselves to be quiet. Maybe we are afraid of our potential. Maybe we are afraid of the problems we could solve if we took the time to think about them. Maybe we are afraid of ourselves, so we distract ourselves from our inner voice.
Over the past few months, I started an unspoken ritual. When I wake up, I head downstairs, and have a few moments to myself to gather my thoughts. This intimate time with myself allows me to check in with my body, but mostly it prepares me for my day. It’s a “calm before the storm” ideal which I have really come to love. In all honesty though, it can be simultaneously terrifying because it leaves space for me to speak honestly with myself. It’s the perfect time to bring up difficult issues, and hash things out in my head, and it usually only takes a few moments of quiet time for me to realize that I need the space to release some flood gates of emotion that have built up over the night.
I have come to realize how often couples’ conflicts stem from never leaving time to get into it with each other. The excuse of “this isn’t a good time” becomes the panacea for the issues, and they get swept under the invisible rug until a more convenient time arises, which it never does. The fear of intimacy leads us down the thorny path of distractions and gives us reason to talk about anything…..anything and everything other than "us."
But, let’s not give up so quickly. When you really allow authentic communication to happen, the fear of missing something starts to disappear, because the realization that the stimuli that you hold most dear is in your reach. Your partner might be beside you, and your family and friends are just a phone call away. The news will still be the news in half an hour. A joke that was tweeted will still be funny once you get to it, and fashion does not go out of style in one morning’s time. World news is important, but nothing should take precedence over your intimate relationships.
You’re not going to turn to your relationship with CNN when you have an emotional meltdown……are you?