It seems clear to me that the human being is a relational being. What that means is this: humans will deteriorate overtime if they fail to secure positive and meaningful human interaction. In similar fashion to failing to satisfy our need for food, water and oxygen, the longer we do without sufficient quantity or quality of human interaction the more we will deteriorate.
Unlike the physical requirements of life, without which we will deteriorate quite rapidly, the absence of sufficient quantity/quality of human connection will produce a slower but just as certain deterioration over time.
We are social creatures. We learn who we are through social interactions with family and friends. Failure to socialize impedes the development of identity. Further, our mind develops in community. We test our perspectives by sharing them and sensing reactions. To a great degree, our minds are trained by those interactions.
Without human interaction it is difficult to learn. Left to our own thinking, per se, all we tend to do is agree with ourselves. Left alone, our mental processes only reinforce our current conclusions. However, human interaction provides needed perspective that serves to temper our thoughts and expressions. Without this, we soon become opinionated and unable to assimilate or appreciate alternative perspectives.
The more we connect, the better we get at connecting. The less we connect, the more our interactions become awkward, eventually moving toward odd and then eccentric. If we move down this road of neglect much further we move toward mental disorder. With regard to our social muscles, it is “use it or lose it.”
Human beings were not designed to go-it-alone. We were not designed for isolation. In fact, much of the dysfunction seen in humans is born and nurtured in isolation. Unfortunately, the digital age tends to foster isolation.
Failure to connect deeply and stay connected is a root of addiction. This condition produces the emptiness and loneliness that we tend to medicate through various behaviors, leading to compulsions. In my experience, solid meaningful connections are essential to relapse prevention regardless of which compulsive behavior is at work.
Here at UGM-Salem, we invest heavily in guiding our clients into understanding the importance of healthy connections to others. We help them learn the principles at work in healthy and unhealthy relationships. We assist in providing healthy mentors and then train those mentors in how to connect with our clients.
We grow these connections into life nurturing permanent relationships that our clients can take with them as they leave. We are so grateful for the hundreds of men & women mentors the Lord has led our way. I truly believe we could not be as successful as we are without them.
Restoring Hope…Restoring Lives