We’ve all been there. The urgent, no-addictive, need to check the phone when alerted to a text, tweet, email, or incoming phone call. It rings or vibrates, we are trained to respond. The problem is that now our phones are with us – usually AT ALL TIMES. It’s quite impossible to get away from someone’s “like , “tweet”, or “comment.” It seems like we are now so used to being connected socially, that we feel lost without it. Recently, I left on a flight for a day business trip and realized at the airport, I forgot my phone. At that moment of realization, I froze. How was I to communicate? How was I going to let my business associate know I had landed? How was I going to find my way to his office (gasp! – a paper map – you have got to be kidding me). I did make it through the day and it was quite nice actually. It was peaceful to be at a meeting listening to every word and focused on the task at hand, with absolutely no distractions. I was present. I was engaged. I was in the moment. I was exactly everything I encourage the couples that I work with to be: present with each other. When I returned home from my trip to greet my husband and my daughter, I fought the urge to check my phone. Surely I had about a hundred emails, texts and calls check out. I resisted the urge to go for it on the counter and instead vowed not to look at it until morning. That night, my family got my full attention. We need to do more of it – we all do. We need to have those times that we set aside when we are free from the burdens/urges of the phone, computer or other electronic device and connect with the people in front of your face. Perhaps you get inspred after you read this and think to yourself “that is exactly what I am going to do tonight.” You get home or greet your partner or kids with your new determination, intent to focus on conversation only to find that THEY have their faces buried in electronic content. If you wish to have some electronic-free family time, you need to have a conversation about it first. You can’t expect everyone to be on your page through osmosis. Discuss your wishes with them and determine together the hours and/or days that will be electronic-free. Believe me, you will survive. Not only will you survive, but my guess is that you will feel uplifted by the real face-to-face (note: not facetime!) you will have with the people you love the most.
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