Published on Jun 13, 2013

The power of people

This morning my grumblings were fueled by my vexation that the luxury of solitude would be stolen away from me by my required participation in…wait for it…human interaction. I know, right? What a pain. Actually, my attitude this morning wasn’t an anomaly. After picking my brain, I can’t recall a day of my life in which disgust aimed at human interaction didn’t pervade my thoughts.

The very instigator of my discontent, it’s people, without fail, who transform my daily grump & gripe into laughter, joy, and as my good friend Bruce describes it, “smiles that speak to the soul…those soul to soul smiles…that make me realize how alive I really am.”

Today, because I (begrudgingly) conceded that I would have to be around others, I witnessed several externally unspectacular interactions that served to remind me of the beauty of the shared experience of life: rising agitation followed by swift apologies and forgiveness, a surprise baby shower celebrating a journey into fatherhood, and collaboration in dissecting a tricky math problem.

Today’s events spoke to me in a way that I normally don’t hear. It was so evident to me that they were rooted in care and compassion, perhaps love, even.

My introversion begs for “me time” on a daily basis, but sometimes I think I forget that humans are social beings, that is, we survive and thrive on meaningful social interactions, connection, and touch. Rene Spitz’s studies of social and emotional deprivation in infants and young children serve as extreme examples of the importance of social interaction in human development. However, investigation of more recent research averts one’s focus from the disturbing social conditions of early 20th century orphanages to a realization that Spitz’s work parallels current attention to social isolation and withdrawal – that in excess, it may be a risk factor for the development of depression.

I think a fitting follow up to my recognition that people aren’t that bad (ok, they’re pretty cool), is to train myself to anticipate the delights that social interaction can offer. My hope is that soon, I’ll be able to circumvent my usual negative attitude and begin my days with the eager intent of prioritizing the people and relationships in my life.

You know, I’m starting to think that people are what it’s really all about. If it (life) is “about” anything at all. I hope you are well, wherever you are, and I look forward to seeing you again.

“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” -Carl Sagan