We are living in a time where it has become more and more fashionable and acceptable to go natural. Many people, including myself, have abandoned the world of relaxers or released their addiction to the “straight dope” as the naturalist call it. Everyone is going natural and becoming more organic conscience.
The natural hair movement focuses on encouraging women with African roots to not only appreciate but celebrate the natural characteristics of their curly, kinky, hair texture. The movement has skyrocketed in recent years. It is currently a social media-led discourse that includes hair-care tips, how-to videos, meet-ups and basically an overall cultural shift towards redefining the position of “natural” black hair within the domination of Western beauty through empowerment and acceptance.
If people can come together to start such a great “movement” when it comes to our something as basic as our hair imagine what would happen if we all decided to forge a new movement and really go natural with our connections and relationships. Social networks have broken the barriers of space and time, enabling us to communicate on a 24/7 basis with more people than ever before. It appears that the focus has now turned to quality versus quantity, authenticity versus superficiality! Ironically, social media has managed to make society less social; a substitute for the real thing.
How do we communicate effectively and build deeper, more authentic relationships when we utilize only words (some as little as 140 characters) instead of voice, face and body expression to get all the important and powerful distinctions that often contradict the words?
With such a vast network of powerful social technologies at our fingertips, society seems more connected, while paradoxically more disconnected than ever before. Here are some tale-tale signs we are less connected now more than ever:
- Anyone can hide behind a text, e-mail, or Facebook post. The ever evolving twitter platform, projecting any image they want and creating the illusion of their choosing. We can be whoever we want to be. And without the ability to receive, otherwise organic, nonverbal cues, our audiences have not got a clue.
- You can know a lot of people and even be popular online, but never develop real connections. If the dynamics of the relationships we pursue are not adequate, they will not bring any perceptible value in your life. The truth is, online we spend great lengths hiding who we really are only to settle for superficial pseudo relationships.
- Our ability to build and maintain healthy relationships is the single most important factor in how we get along in every area of life. We cannot “do life” alone. Many have learned how miserable life really can be when you are cut off from meaning connections. Life is designed to be lived within the context of varying relationships. Success comes from initiating relationships with the right people and then fortifying those relationships by being authentic.
Social media is making us less social and definitely less authentic. We are disconnecting from the real world. How many of us have been to an event where nearly everyone utilized the first 10 minutes to check in on Facebook, post a picture of the event on Instagram, check their Twitter feed and other social media notifications, or emails? I know I am often guilty.
I believe it is time to join the movement and really go natural. To eat meals with friends and loved ones and not care about what else is going on in our “social” network. Take time to disconnect, relax and take in the beauty around them. This is the “organic” world that produces authentic and healthy relationships.
I can remember many times being on vacation and everywhere I went I noticed that many people were staring at their phones and not looking around. They were headstrong into their phone even while sitting with others eating or soaking up the sun at the pool; they were hooked unwaveringly to their mobile device. Imagine a host of people hanging out at the beach not looking at the wonderful scenery, not communicating with the people in close proximity, nor really experiencing the moment, but instead hypnotized by a smartphone or tablet. At night they frequented bars, clubs, and restaurants, yet were mesmerized by the glow of their own phone.
Without saying anything at all, we are sending a clear message that we are more interested in what is going on elsewhere other than those that we are with. This might not be the case, however, that is the message it sends. As long as we maintain this behavior we are becoming less present with those that are near us in social settings.
My hope simply put is for us all to slow down just a bit each day until we are finally taking in the beauties around us and cultivating truly wholesome relationships along the way. It is not too late to abandon your comfort zone, join the movement and really go natural.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Freedom After the Sharks: Is Human to Human communication dying?
Top Image Courtesy of Dionysius Burton – Flickr License
Inline Image Courtesy of Asim Bharwani – Flickr License
Featured Image Courtesy of Devin Trent – Flickr License