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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Attention! You are being ignored!

As some of you know, I've had phone issues for the past week or so.

So this morning I've been struggling to set up a new telephone, and its very complicated somehow. Since I last purchased a telephone there have been many options added, layers of settings, privacy screens, notifications, voice mail connections, forwards to other devices, caller id menus... all ways to stay connected, and when I really thought about it – all ways to ignore people...

...someone has made the effort to reach out to me, someone needs or wants to talk to me, and I am given at least a half-dozen options to pretend that they do not. I am struck by how easy we have made it to ignore and dismiss another human being and we’re convinced it’s not only acceptable, but appropriate.

I got to thinking about the larger phenomena of "being ignored."
I've known that feeling of being ignored.
Have you ever asked a direct question and not been answered?
You have been sent the message, “I think you are insignificant.”
Think about it.

Well, it's rude. Borderline passive/aggressive. And, we have been able to desensitize ourselves from our rude behavior. I'm not talking about needing to take a message when you're engaged elsewhere. And, I'm not talking about clicking the porn queen's unfollow button or hitting the ignore button when faced with the thirteenth invitation to play Mafia Wars. I'm not talking about responding to spam.

I'm talking about choosing to ignore, out of arrogance, or immaturity... or fear.

Love. It's the basis of the human need to connect and should be the starting and ending points of any communication, personal or not. We all need to remember that there are REAL human beings behind the phone calls, emails, texts, and all the other ways we use to communicate with each other.

What happens if you imagine making eye contact with who ever’s request, question, idea or sentiment you’ve chosen to ignore? On a soul level you already are. Pretend what you will.

If someone contacts me and reveals a personal vulnerability, I need to realize that required courage. And courage should always be applauded, validated, and recognized. I think we might need a refresher memo with every new phone, application, and social techno-gadgetry on how to stand up and be human, and do it in a respectful and meaningful way. How to be intentional, transparent, and honest. How to stay human in the virtual world. I'm going to try to be mindful of the temptation to hide behind my technology. I'm going to look you in the eye, wherever you may be.

If you are being ignored, don’t be afraid to speak out. You were given a voice for a reason. But...

"The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them." Maya Angelou

That's really good advice. Don’t keep going to the same well if the well is dry. If you open up all lines of communication and are still being ignored, that person doesn’t deserve your attention. There are many more wonderful people out there listening for your voice.

May you be blessed!

Image credit: www.zazzle.com/ignored+gifts

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