Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Many of us live with blinders on, walking down the street without actually noticing who’s there. It seems like life moves much faster these days, with more effort put into making ends meet and keeping up with technology. Texting, social media and other electronic methods of communication have somewhat depersonalized communication. Yet it’s important to feel connected to people!

I walk past one person after another who is walking while looking down and texting. They barely see where they’re going, no less see who they pass. People live more and more in a bubble of electronic connections, yet that can’t compare to actual human contact. In a world where people are so heavily connected electronically, we’re more disconnected from the people in our immediate world than ever. Yet unless you’re a hermit there are people all around you.

There’s a guy in my building who is always texting or absorbed in a phone call when he gets in the elevator. Whether coming in or going out, he’s deep in some electronic communication. He never sees me or anyone else in the elevator. I’ve said “hi” to deaf ears (he wears headphones). ONCE he actually looked up and I smiled. He smiled back and was friendly but I haven’t seen him look up since. Though he goes outside, his life seems to be compartmentalized in his phone. I can feel his tension as he rushes through whatever he’s doing. He always seems stressed. Weekends, nights, it doesn’t matter. He’s always absorbed, looking down at some electronic device.

That guy is a good role model about what NOT to do! I believe it’s important to pay attention to the people around you, and connect to them. I used to walk around with blinders on and didn’t notice the people I passed or that were near me in some way. Then one day I walked down a street in NYC and a guy I passed said something to me. I ignored him, as I usually do but he called out “You look so serious and a smile would make you happier.” I stopped, turned around and saw his big smile. I smiled back and it felt good. He told me to take off my blinders and pay attention to people around me. From then on I did.

When I’m in an elevator, whether in the building I live in or one I’ve never been to, I smile at people and say “Have a nice day” when one gets off. It often elicits a smile from the person. Most people return the greeting, which makes me feel good. Since I began doing this, the people in my building feel more like neighbors than just strangers who live there. We exchange hellos when I see them on the street. My once cold environment has warmed up dramatically by connecting to people!

I do believe that people need to feel connected to each other. It improves your life and brings more light in. When you make an effort to exchange pleasantries with people in your world, even if you don’t know them, you’ll feel good, as will they. While I still don’t know the names of most people who live in my building, I know their faces well and feel a small kinship with them. Connecting with the people who live in your immediate world will make you feel good and it feels loving. Try it!

Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Challenge–a pledge to do something loving for yourself for the next 31 days–and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts from 2012 HERE.

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