We are complex creatures. We are shaped by the environment in which we live, by our achievements and shortcomings, by the people we surround ourselves with, and most of all, by our actions.

In the age of technology, we must acknowledge the degree to which we are shaped by our complicity in the digital revolution. The fast paced evolution of high-tech gadgets, the environment created by omnipresent cell phones, instant messaging, and social media, and the inundation we experience every day by an avalanche of information all impact our lives and our identities in significant ways.

In this Digital Age, as we encounter unprecedented challenges, distractions, and dilemmas, virtual reality becomes a new source of stress. Our lives in cyberspace demand a great deal of attention and create pressure to learn skills for simultaneously navigating online and offline connections.

We are getting used to putting people on pause as we multitask, often feeling distracted by conversations with others or by the projects we are supposed to be working on. We struggle to define reasonable behavior in spite of practically nonexistent social etiquette in virtual communication. The public sphere and the private sphere are becoming nearly indistinguishable, and we are losing our sense of distinct identity.

This is a problem. 

The use of technology gives us many opportunities while taking away others. The very thing giving us an easier way to communicate with our loved ones makes it more difficult to carve out time for real, deep conversations and connections. It distracts us so much that we miss opportunities to deeply explore ourselves and each other.

This week, we encourage you to consider your own life in the context of the digital age. Where are you? Where are you going? Is this someplace you want to go? If not, where do you want to be? Are you dependent on technology? How does social media impact your relationships with others, and more importantly your relationship with yourself? In our next two posts this week, we will offer you suggestions for reconnecting with yourself in deep and meaningful ways – to “know thyself” is a necessary condition for enjoying deep and meaningful relationships with those you love.

We leave you with this: “Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”

More in The Digital Age
The Digital Age: Reconnect With Yourself
Ellie Lisitsa

Ellie Lisitsa is a staff writer at The Gottman Institute and a regular contributor to The Gottman Relationship Blog. Ellie is pursuing her B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis on Cognitive Dissonance at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.