The one thing I would like to see happen in the New Year is the end of alienation

Happy New Year to all my readers and followers! Thank you for taking the time to read my work and interact with me through your comments. I appreciate every single one of you. Starting a new year is always filled with much anticipation; 2021 carries with it a lot of hope bearing in mind what we all went through in 2020.  There is much to say about last year and if I can succinctly summarize it in one word, I would use the word INSANE. Moving on, if there is one thing that I would like to see happen in the New Year is the end of the state of ALIENATION where we all seem to languish.

This Is Your Quest - Author Joanne Reed
My name is Estrange – The one thing I would like to see this year is the end of alienation – Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

The word ‘alienation’ comes from the Latin word ‘estrange’ and is defined as the separation or estrangement of human beings from some essential aspect of their nature or from society often resulting in feelings of powerlessness or helplessness.

We spent the whole of last year being alienated from each other, being forced to stay at home away from friends, family, colleagues and, customers. Spending all our time in-door in our own-little-sanitized-virus-free-bubble; being linked to the outside world only through our electronic devices is becoming the ‘new normal’ and this in return alienate us from one another, from nature and from ourselves.

Alienation from one another

No man is an island’

Humans are social creatures, connections are a core human need; we need healthy relationships to thrive.  It is through connections that we accomplish virtually everything that happens to us in life. It is not just a preference, it is a survival need. It is not surprising therefore to see connection and the feeling of belonging to a group coming in 3rd place on Maslow’s Pyramid of needs just after food, water, shelter which is the first basic needs that are necessary for our survival and the need for safety through employment health, property, which is Maslow’s 2nd basic needs.

As a quick refresher, Abraham Maslow is an American psychologist, best known for writing A Theory of Human Motivation and Towards a Psychology of Being; he defined the concept of Self-Actualization. Maslow’s unique approach to psychology came from the fact that he decided to study mentally healthy individuals, instead of people with serious psychological issues. His focus was on Self-Actualized individuals who had a better insight of reality, deeply accepted themselves, others and the world and who share qualities such as truth, goodness, aliveness, uniqueness and playfulness.

This Is Your Quest - Author Joanne Reed
My Name is EsteemThe one thing I would like to see this happen in the New Year is the end of alienation and for people to feel recognized and appreciated for what they doPhoto by @freepik via freepik.com

At the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid of needs, you can find basic needs of human beings such as food, water, sleep, sex. The next level is safety needs or the need for security, order and stability. Once individuals have achieved their basic nutrition, shelter and safety needs, they are free to accomplish more; and this is how they move on to the next level i.e.love, belonging to a group, connection. The fourth level i.e. esteem is the need to feel competent and recognized; this level is achieved when individuals feel comfortable with what they have accomplished through professional success and status. At the top of the pyramid, you have the need for self-actualization which occurs when individuals reach a state of harmony and understanding because they are engaged in achieving their full potential.

Coming back to the main point of this article, several studies have demonstrated the fact that connecting with others is good for our physical and mental health. Real connection is more profound than mere conversation. True connection can happen without words and with someone we don’t even know. On the other hand, constant contact such as working with someone every day is no guarantee of actual connection.

True connection happens when you make yourself open and available to another and the other person does the same towards you. We feel connected to someone when we are being physically embraced, emotionally understood and supported by another being; you add to this mix some empathy and compassion and you have the secret recipe for a great connection.

Scientists looked into this and science is clear on this issue, how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health and happiness. The Harvard Study of Adult Development[1] is the longest study on adult life ever conducted, allowing researchers to collect a huge amount of data on men’s physical and mental health. Women were not part of the original study because the college was still all-male. The study started in 1938 when scientists started tracking the health of two hundred and sixty-eight Harvard sophomores; they hoped that the study would reveal clues to leading healthy and happy lives. Scientists expanded their research to include the men’s offspring and more than a decade ago added their wives to the study. From the pool of men who participated in the study some went on to become successful businessmen, doctors and lawyers, while others ended up as schizophrenics or alcoholics. The surprising finding was that our relationships, and how happy we are in our relationships have a powerful influence on our health. The revelation is that: taking care of your body is important but tending to your relationships plays a critical role in living long and pleasant lives and is a form of self-help too. Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives. These close ties protect people from life’s discontents, help to delay mental and physical decline and are better indicators of long and happy lives than social class, IQ or even genes.

The one thing I would like to see this New Year is the end of the current state of alienation from one another that we are experiencing right now. I wish for 2021 to be the year where we are safely able to reconnect with our family, friends, colleagues and customers.

Alienation from nature

In a world where we spend more and more time indoors and glued to our screens, we should add go outside and immerse ourselves in nature as one additional item on our New Year resolution list.  There is nothing better than a walk in the park, or in the woods, or a stroll by the beach to invigorate our senses and give us a feeling of happiness and peace. Scientists are beginning to find evidence that being in nature has a profound impact on our brains and our behavior, helping us to reduce anxiety, stress and improve our immune system.  

Researcher David Strayer of the University of Utah confirmed that brain scans show unequivocally that we are physically and mentally healthier when we are interacting with nature. Science is demonstrating what we intuitively knew that nature makes us happy.

This Is Your Quest - Author Joanne Reed
My name is SunshineThe one thing I would like to see this New Year is the end of alienation and for people to go out more to enjoy feeling the sun on their skinPhoto by @freepik via freepik.com

“We must cherish the natural world because we are part of it and we depend on it.”

Sir David Attenborough

A day out in the sunshine can provide us with vitamin D which is vital for a good immune system. A large chunk of the population today is Vitamin D deficient and this deficiency is often found to be the root cause of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s to name only a few. This problem can be easily solved by spending more time outside in the sunshine.

The environment is a natural purifier. Spending some hours outdoors helps in releasing the toxins from our body and leave us feeling fresh and rejuvenated.  Moreover, time spent outside will naturally push us to do more physical activities, such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming surfing, kicking a football. Any exercise outdoor will help burn fat and improve your body’s metabolism.

If you live in an urban area and are not within close proximity to a park, having some plants at home can work wonders. Growing plants at home can add aesthetic beauty to your living space, but it can also contribute to purifying the air you breathe.

Advice from a Tree from Ilan Shamir

Advice from a Tree – Ilan Shamir

The one thing I would like to see this New Year is the end of the current state of alienation from nature. I wish for 2021 to be the year where we go outside and embrace the changing seasons, the energy and birth of Spring, the growth and contentment of summer, the wisdom to let go like leaves in the Fall  and the rest and quiet renewal of winter.

Alienation from self

Do you know who you are and what your true nature is? Operating within our true nature is often put on the back burner because there are more pressing things to attend to on a daily basis. People tend to get lost within their never-ending obligations, domestic chores and ordinariness of life.

Everyone has to bear the burden of their own internal struggles.  Life will bring you a series of  good fortune and misfortune. Learning how to respond to the resulting joy or pain and confusion is always a struggle; but if we learned to act from our true essence, it would be less of a struggle.

One way for us, human beings to regain our sense of connection to ourselves is to be mindful and present in the moment and pay attention to our feelings about a particular situation, such as fear, greed, envy, jealousy, anger, hate. The idea is to let those feelings envelop us and try to deal with them with as much compassion and wisdom as we are capable.

What is fear? Non-acceptance of uncertainty. If we accept uncertainty it becomes an adventure. What is envy? Non-acceptance of good in others. If we accept good in others it becomes inspiration. What is anger? Non-acceptance of what is beyong our control. I we accept it, it becomes tolerance. What is hate? Non-acceptance of people as they are. If we accept each other unconditionally, it becomes love.

Native American Wisdom
This Is Your Quest - Author Joanne Reed
My name is Clarity – The one thing I would like to see this New Year is the end of alienation and for people to have more clarity – Photo by @freepik via freepik.com

According to the Ancient Greeks, the source of all wisdom and clarity is to Know Thyself. That Motto Know Thyself was one of the maxims inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. With this inscription, the Oracles at Delphi invited people to gaze inwards and discover that the essence of one’s life is not be searched outside ourselves, but within, this is where we find clarity.

“Way too many people are going to spend 30–40 years of their life trying to check the boxes of the things that they’re not good at and waste a fuck load of time and lose.”

Gary Vaynerchuck

Self-awareness is a conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires; without self-awareness, many of your choices are made unconsciously; who to love or not to love, why you feel sad, why you feel happy, why you stay in your current job?

The one thing I would like to see this New Year is the end of the current state of alienation from self a lot of people are experiencing right now. I wish for 2021 to be the year when people reconnect with who they are and find the clarity that eluded them before.

And this my dear friend, is your Quest for 2021.

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[1] The Harvard Study of Adult Development – https://www.maelstrom-research.org/mica/individual-study/hsad

9 Comments »

  1. Joanne, I couldn’t agree with you more. Everything you listed is essential for our well being. Social contact and being outside are two of the most important things in my opinion. I wonder if the protocols have done more damage to people in the long term than the virus will ever do. I wish you much love and abundance in 2021. Scott

    • Scott. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. So glad to hear my article resonates with you! Sometimes the medicine is worse than the disease; recent statistics have shown that since Covid the rate of domestic violence, divorce, depression, suicide have increased. so,…

  2. I love this post — it has been a long time since I thought about social alienation in this way — and reintroducing the Latin estrange (or the English estranged) adds a deeper understanding of the way in which we are all suffering from lack of connection in the ways you cover.

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