When I am walking to work I like to say ‘Hello’ to people. I love people and I love connecting with them. Today I decided to say ‘Hello’ to everyone I meet, so I did. What I noticed was that very few people these days actually say ‘Hello’ back, most of them do not even notice that someone greeted them. Many of them had earphones in, or where looking down at the ground or just doing their best not to make eye contact with me. I don’t take things personally any more, but the experience put me to think.
When I moved to Ireland, nearly four decades ago, one of the things I liked most about Irish people, was their friendliness. I never experienced anywhere with such a level of friendliness as I did in Ireland. It was so refreshing to be greeted and asked ‘How are you…’ by people I did not know. Even if you were feeling down, when somebody said ‘Hello’ or asked you ‘How’s it going?’ your mood changed instantly.
With time, things have changed. Very few people connect with one another these days. People are often even afraid to look at one another. Is it that we are all too busy? Or all too afraid?
I walk my dogs every day, and I noticed that every dog always acknowledges another dog that they meet. They wag their tail, they start to bark or at least they look at one another. I think there is a lot to learn from these little creatures. Everyone needs connection. We often wonder why we have so many mental challenges these days. We research, we write big studies about mental issues and still the problem is getting worse.
Mental health has now become a political issue. Every politician is promising us some sort of change. Sometimes I think we are totally ignoring the simplest most powerful things, like connecting with one another. If we start to acknowledge one another’s presence a little more, we could all feel a little better.
Maybe is time to learn from our 4 legged furry friends and start to connect. We do not need to have big conversations with everyone we meet, but at least just to look at one another and make a small gesture or smile.
How do you feel when you go to work and somebody gives you a smile without a reason? How do you feel when you had challenging morning and shop assistant give you extra smile with your change?
We have wonderful quotes tattooed on our bodies, brilliant quotes on our T-shirts and notebooks. Every day have some new self-help book and social media is telling us how to better ourselves. Do we have these quotes in our hearts?
We live in wonderful times, we have great technology, brilliant cars, wonderful holidays and nice places to live, but we also have much more loneliness then we ever had.
I think it is time that we all realise that connection is what we need more of, and we can start right now.
William Shakespeare once said: “Eyes are the window to the soul”.These days, I think our souls are very hungry, so lets open our window and start to look and acknowledge one another. Just a simple friendly look and connect. The ‘Hello’ can come later .