What message are you sending?

What would you do if you did not have access to your cell phone for one day? Okay, okay, I can hear the collective gasps of horror, let’s be more realistic and imagine not having access to your cell phone for one complete hour. You cannot respond to texts, check your email, or scroll through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You cannot even touch your phone. What would you choose to do with your time?

My name is Tammy Grode and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor on staff at Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. For some of us, the thought of going for one hour without access to our cell phone may seem welcoming, even refreshing. But, for most of us, the reality is that we have become so dependent on our cell phones that we may experience significant anxiety just imagining no access to it for one hour. If you belong to the latter group, it is likely that dependence on your cell phone may also be causing distance in your relationships. One of the most impacting moments in my counseling career thus far was when a four year old child said to me ” I like you because you don’t look at your phone when I’m talking to you.” This statement significantly highlights the message we unknowingly send our loved ones that the cell phone, or social media, or emails are more important and deserve more attention than the human beings sitting right in front of us. Is that the message we really want our children, our spouses, our partners to receive? How does it feel when your spouse or friend or anyone you are trying to talk to keeps looking back at their cell phone and is attempting to attend to you and the phone at once?

I challenge you to implement a daily detox from the cell phone. There are many ways you can personally benefit from this decision but this blog entry is focusing on how it can benefit your relationships. Even ten minutes of uninterrupted, undivided attention given to those we love can send the message that they truly matter to us. Children will benefit greatly from you saying ” I’m going to put my phone away for awhile so nothing distracts me while we play” (or read, or talk, whatever). Relationships with family members and friends can be improved because the new message you are sending is one of respect, care and concern, that they matter. Isn’t that what you want in your relationships?

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