I listen to podcasts while on my (usual) daily walks. This morning’s podcast was so filled with wisdom that I stopped several times to take notes. I was listening to Brene Brown’s “Unlocking Us”, in which she interviews noteworthy experts. While I love Brene Brown’s work, not long ago I declared that I would no longer follow her due to her frequent use of profanity. Well, I have not kept that promise, and she is still using profanity. (I suppose that is not the only promise that I have broken!) I am conflicted by this, but not enough to follow through with what I said I would do about it. Her podcasts are so good, and although for me they would be even better without the profanity, I have decided to hang in there with her and hope that she changes in this regard. I am hopeful.
Dr. Vivek Murthy, a physician and the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, was the expert interviewed on the podcast I listened to this morning. His subject was loneliness, and the physical and emotional toll that social disconnection takes on us. This is certainly a timely subject, given our inability to be physically close to many people due to COVID-19. Although some of the restrictions that have been in place due to the Coronavirus have been lifted, all of them certainly have not. If we are being wise about protecting ourselves and others, we are still social distancing in most situations, wearing masks when out, and not hugging many of those whom we would normally hug. We are no means back to normal, whatever normal is or will be in this regard. Some of us may be loosening up on some of this, once again seeing close family members, including grandchildren. Yes, we are taking a risk, but many have decided the risk is worth taking. We have been lonely long enough. We have missed the human connection we took for granted.
Some of Dr. Murthy’s points:
1.Human connection has the ability to heal in extraordinary ways.
2.Building community helps us heal.
3.We have to love and accept ourselves.
4.The root of so many addictions is loneliness.
5.We need to strengthen and support connection.
6.We need to build a society around people.
7.People are driven by two emotions-love or fear.
On the podcast, Dr. Murthy discussed the “Why” and “What” of human connection, but not the “How.” I think it is important to understand the subject of human connection in this order, beginning with the “Why.” Once we understand the “Why,” we are better able to understand the “What” and be able to implement the “How.” For instance, once we understand “Why” we need to love and accept ourselves, we better understand “What” that means and involves, and “How” to love and accept ourselves. If we start with the “How” without understanding the “Why” and “What,” our work starts with tactics before insight, and will likely not result in real knowledge of the connection of these.
Dr. Murthy has a new book, Together, that was released recently. I plan to read it and delve deeper into his work. I believe that Dr. Murthy will discuss in detail in his latest book “How” to build human connection and community. I want to immerse myself in this subject, so that when we are able to be together again physically without restrictions, I will be ready to help others build a society around people.