In December of 2020, were all living in a “bubble” in order to manage the risk of contracting COVID. Living in this physical social bubble inevitably leads to loneliness and perhaps depression OR it can lead to searching out new ways to connect and interact. Here are some suggestions taken from how to break out of a psychological bubble applied to today’s lifestyle!
In July of 2018, a psychcentral article called out people living in their own bubble as a negative- meaning unwilling to hear the perspective of others, being committed to being right. How ironic that in 2020 living in a bubble socially is what we are all being asked to do for our physical well being and health?
First suggestion: To live a full life, remember the lessons of kindergarten; Play well with others. Playing well with others means EVERYONE. None of us can afford to reject people based on an initial judgement.
We all make judgements al the time, these are two-dimensional snapshots that we either release and look deeper or cling to in defence. we walk through life unconsciously categorizing people into man, woman, androgynous, white, yellow, brown, black, smart, dumb, rich, poor, republican, democrat, narcissist, pushover, etc. Sometimes we are more conscious of this process, other times less so. Take a look at the filters you are using and ask yourself, how much are they really helping me? In kindergarten, kids were kids for the most part. We gave everyone a chance until they proved themselves a threat.
The problem with living in your own social bubble is it’s boring. Even more so when we are in our current health bubble. Now is the time to tear down the barriers socially because we can do it through social media where we are much safer. we can hang up, turn off, click out any time we want so let’s go out and explore. Seek to be challenged! Not like a throwdown challenge, but challenge your own preconceptions and judgements by pushing on them. When we did not have a physical bubble, we were more at risk allowing ourselves to be challenged, at risk of physical reprisal or harsh words. In the new living online version of this, however, we have the safety to research, safety to gently explore and even challenge a little ourselves.
Beware of being triggered. Inevitably when we push on our unconscious beliefs, some part of us gets PO’d! The good news is we can now give ourselves a virtual time out and take a good look at what in fact we are triggered by. After all, not only are others allowed to be different than us in their choices and how they live, but life would be super boring, perhaps even oppressive if everyone were the same. Learn to deal with disagreement!
Benefits of getting to know those who are different than we are is that we will inevitably be exposed to new ideas in the process. New ideas in and of themselves will challenge us in ways that are exciting, scary or perhaps provoke anxiety. These are three very similar feelings and the feeling itself may even be open to interpretation- meaning, we may decide that a little anxiety or fear can actually be experienced as excitement if we so choose.
As we meet new ideas or ones that are even contrary to what we believe, we can either reject them in anger- an ever-popular reaction- or we can put our triggered reaction in check and exchange views gently and with respect for the other person point of view.
It is virtually impossible for anyone person, short of being God, to be absolutely right all the time. That is true for everyone reading this piece. That in itself makes it worthwhile to listen to other people’s perspectives as judgement-free as possible.
If all of our friends are just like us and believe exactly what we believe then we have basically created a clique just like we might have hated in high school. GO BACK TO KINDERGARTEN.
For the next year we will be in our physical health-related bubbles, go outside of your social bubble. Look for groups on social medial that you might be reluctant to join and check them out. Hang out with people of different spiritual beliefs. Hang out with different races, sexes, anything that pushes on your sense of normal. Join a workshop way outside of your comfort zone. Next, observe your reaction. Talk to folks about your reaction in an objective way. What kind of person would frame the difference the way that you are initially inclined to? Are they someone you would feel safe around? If not how much you reframe your perspective? The opportunity here is to expand your thinking, your mindset, to come out of the physical bubble in 2021 ready to embrace difference.