Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash
What does it mean to live in the shallow? Do you ever find yourself just going through the motions of life? We are often so busy that we forget to be still, reflect, and meditate on life. Sometimes we are so consumed by life's demands that we forget to breathe. Living in the shallow may be coasting through life on auto-pilot without full engagement. Often people remain observers of life instead of active participants and sometimes even numb themselves to avoid experiencing hardship or being fully connected in relationships. Life definitely can be painful but if we choose to remain detached from the stress and conflict, we will miss out on the joy and happiness too. One of my favorite movies is "Inside Out" in which the character named Joy tries to drown out the character Sadness. In the end, Joy realizes that without Sadness we don't know or fully experience joy. What does shallow living look like for you?
Do you worry obsessively about physical appearance, status or wealth and lose sight of everything else in life? Some people are attached to their stuff rather than people. Others enjoy gossip and trash talking in effort to feel better about themselves. Or maybe you're more comfortable with surface conversations and avoid sharing emotions or feelings. In today's world of technology, some people prefer social media engagement that limits the depth of the interaction. Even though technology has enabled us to connect with more people, the level of connection is often limited and tainted. Some would rather be engrossed in their cell phone than have a face-to-face interaction. Not to mention that device conversations (other than video talks) don't provide nonverbal cues and signals that help with understanding and accuracy. We lose the nuances that are essential for effective communication and may struggle to learn the subtle cues that are experienced through in-person interactions. Are you just marking time or making a real effort to be connected to the people in your life?
Life is messy and so are relationships. If we want greater depth in life we will need to get dirty and fully experience the ups and downs of normal life. When we attempt to numb ourselves with alcohol/drugs, pornography, excessive work, techno-diction, or extreme busyness, we miss out on feeling the pain and joy that's a part of life and relationships. To enrich your life, start by focusing on sharing more openly and deeply with others, sharing both the good and bad times. Find a quiet time (maybe start with 5-10 minutes) during the day to meditate, pray, or be still so you can focus on what happened today. Sometimes journalling allows us to focus on life and record our thoughts/feelings that we can then share with someone. Being vulnerable and allowing others into your struggles, fears, and insecurities can deepen your connection and strengthen your relationships. Skip shallowness and live deeply with others.