You are not alone…

Outside-Looking-In Today I was reminded of the incredible power of learning that you are not the only one in your particular boat.  It is so easy to worry and feel scared; perhaps even think that you are going nuts.  Over the last few days someone close had something odd going on and of course it is worrying.  We all subconsciously scan our environment and that includes our bodies, for anything abnormal.  Once our alarm has been triggered it isn’t simple to turn it off.  We constantly worry away at what is causing this. 

This is where knowledge is power; discovering other people agree with us or feel the same way, or can explain what we are feeling or seeing is a huge relief.  Suddenly we are no alone, not nuts, not powerless.  It is one of the real gifts of the internet.  It gives us access to a universal library and window into the inner world of others. 

Helping others not feel on their own is one key step to building rapport and those people who can make us feel understood on a regular basis earn our trust and our love.

“From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.”

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7 Responses to “You are not alone…”

  1. Ron Davidson says:

    A complex web of thoughts in there Richard.

    I’ll pick two.

    1. The Internet and the development of its enabling technologies is already starting to enable us to do things not previously possible. It really is about connectedness, but on a global scale.
    For example a few weeks ago, I participated (admittedly passively) in what is called a Large Scale Intervention.
    However, instead of just being in one physical place, this was on-line.
    So some of the social technologies, Facebook, twitter etc., may for many just be fun and social, but it is just the beginning of capabilities to change the way we work, do business and govern ourselves. Consider the work Holger, Lucy and others are trying out with “Radical Inclusion.”

    2. The other point was about learning. Although our capacity for learning is not as amazing as when we infants, we are still have an amazing bandwidth. We are constantly sampling our environment and adjusting our response to the data we receive. We change our behaviour in the light of how we process that data – this is learning. So discovering that others have the same or similar issues to us, sharing their experiences, adapting from those experiences is the greatest gift of our connectedness – even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.

  2. Ron,
    I think both are valid and interesting points.. so Thank you.

    I’m interested in our ability to share relatively intimate thoughts, experiences and feelings with strangers (something that would normall be socially impossible) and how that process builds relationships and helps us to grow.

  3. Ron Davidson says:

    I was once in written communication with a friend in the United States. Once or twice our letters crossed – mid-Atlantic as it were – and to our surprise we had started to discuss a new topic, the same new topic! I can only assume we had become somewhat “tuned” to each others’ ways of thinking and this phenomenon was not so unusual. But to able to share with someone you don’t know… Well maybe that is about the nature of the stranger, who does not have any knowledge about you, so there is nothing to judge or make conclusion from.

    Or how about this: I looked up and found I was looking at a fellow passenger (we were awaiting our flight), as she was looking more or less in my direction our eyes met. A week later, same place, this time our eyes met almost without any search. We smiled in recognition. This happened for a few weeks. Then I didn’t see the person for about six months. Going to lunch one day, I looked up and there she was coming in the other direction and headed into the building where I am based. Big smiles of recognition.
    I’ve not her seen since – it has been a few months.

    I have had a similar encounter with a male “colleague” – our jobs don’t cause us to work together or have any other dealings. However, we are now on speaking terms and not just “good morning”, but sharing observations about our airline, and the experiences of our “northern office.”

    I’m intrigued by such encounters that make connections like this. There does seem to be some kind of affinity, some exchange of energy.

    We are not alone, we are connected. It may be a matter of being aware of the intersection of respective social fields.

  4. I think you are raising two points Ron. Firstly about the gift that only comes from a stranger and how that leads to a connectedness that, in fact, redefines them as someone we feel connected to.

    The other is about a more fundemental level of connectedness which we all share but somehow often feel cut off from.

  5. Steve Holmes says:

    My experience, during the 3 long years that I was stuck at home nursing someone dying by inches of cancer, was that I literally had no choice but to reach out to others on the internet. Their response was very mixed: some stayed in close contact and some raised money; some doled out empty platitudes and some even mocked me when I was acting strangely.

    It wasn’t a cure-all, but on balance it helped, and it least it was something to do when she managed a few hours of sleep.

  6. Steve,
    This is obviously a slightly different aspect of this question. I feel that you can make some real connections here but of course people come with all their inherent flaws as well as their unique gifts!
    There is something about this medium that enables connection across the cyber-devide. I’m glad that you did find some real support during that time.

    However, sometimes, just the gift of a little knowledge can be really great.

  7. [...] on from yesterday’s blog, it turned out that two small pieces of information made all the difference.  A friend told us [...]

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