As a psychotherapist, I often hear the wish for a more meaningful life. Quarter life crisis, disillusions with work and relationships fill the therapeutic room. I listen to the pressure of “performing” and living up to a curated on-line self. Perfectionism, fear of failure and difficulties making decisions are common modern day conditions. All leading to the catchall self-diagnosis: Imposter Syndrome. Add on the idea of infinite choice through dating apps and the multitude of career paths; even the abundance of product options can all lead to not knowing how we feel or what we want. What psychologist Barry Schwartz popularized as the concept: Paradox of Choice. Our constantly wired world has led us to increasingly live in disconnected ways. A large number of people use technology to dissociate from their feelings when overwhelmed, bored or lonely. We connect to disconnect.
What is your emotional response to the world?
Sherry Turkle, sociologist, teacher and clinical psychologist, spent the last 30 years studying the psychology of people’s relationships with technology. Her recent book, Reclaiming Conversations: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, presents a compelling look at how the new world of online life affects our relationships with others and ourselves. Her research shows that frequent use of social media leads to feelings of depression, loneliness, social anxiety, and loss of empathy. The good news is that the very same research claims that we are resilient. We can gain greater self-esteem and improve our emotional connection with others through face-to-face conversation. “In person, we have access to the messages carried in the face, the voice, and the body.” We can begin to read others emotions and feel our own. We can reclaim empathy.