Who Are You, Really? The Reflection of Disconnect

When technology doesn’t work and we can’t do anything to fix it, we tap into feelings of anger and frustration, of being out of control of something we believe is vital to our well-being.

When did we surrender that much power to inanimate objects, allowing them to wreak such havoc in our lives? It’s as if we really do want to believe in fairy tales and have decided technology is our surrogate happy ending. When we have our technology, we will live happily ever after.

We have tied technology to personal happiness, which is unwise. Happiness in life should never be based on external circumstances. Other people and outside circumstances, like technology, are erratic and unreliable. Instead, personal happiness ought to be anchored to something more solid, reliable, and trustworthy.

The more reliant we become on technology, the more control over our personal happiness we cede to it, the more power we transfer to it. The more power we transfer to it, the more we expect to receive in the bargain and the more discontent and unhappiness we experience when that bargain doesn’t meet our expectations.

Technology can act as both a mirror and magnifier for our personality traits, whether good or bad. You may seek to control how others perceive you through technology, but how you use it actually projects your own fears and compulsions, your preferences and priorities to a very broad community. What you use and how you use it tell you what you secretly believe about yourself.

In a perverse paradox, I buy technology to enhance my life, but without care, that same technology can quickly degrade my life to its worst forms of self-expression:

* I buy a cell phone in order to stay better connected to my family but end up using that same cell phone to interrupt my family time.

* I give my kids a cell phone and tell them it’s so I can always get a hold of them but then neglect them in person.

* I try to teach my kids that stuff doesn’t matter, but before I know it, I’ve bought them more stuff than they know what to do with.

* I use technology as a ay to be more time efficient, to buy myself time, but I find myself even more impatient with every new gadget.

* I use technology as a way to be more time efficient but find myself using that “extra” time to use more technology for what I want to do.
I stay connected all the time so I don’t have to worry, but I end up worrying all the time anyway.

* I use technology to stay in touch with family and friends, to build relationships, but I find myself tempted to “tweak” my communications to my advantage.

Technology has a way of putting me in the driver’s seat of my life. When I’m in total control, what does it say about who I am? What does it say about my priorities, my character? Is that truly who I want to be?

The above is excerpted from #Hooked: The Pitfalls of Media, Technology and Social Networking by Dr. Gregory Jantz.

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About Dr. Gregory Jantz

Dr. Gregory Jantz is the founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, Inc., in Seattle, Washington. He is also the author of more than 20 self-help books - on topics ranging from eating disorders to depression - most recently a book on raising teenagers: "The Stranger In Your House." Married for 25 years to his wife, LaFon, Dr. Jantz is the proud father of two sons, Gregg and Benjamin.