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Western society is making us lonely

I think there’s a massive problem at the core of Western society that results in so many of us feeling lonely.

The problem is this:

Western society is too focused on the individual.

Don’t get me wrong. I think one of the great achievements of Western civilization is the idea of individual rights. Many philosophers and activists that have come before us have created important movements that have resulted in political systems today recognizing the human rights and dignity that each of us possess.

However, it’s reached a point where there’s now a consistent message that the path to self-actualization comes from looking after yourself first and foremost.

I think there’s a real problem with this message. It misunderstands the nature of our humanity.

Yesterday I was a panelist for the New Human online summit and had the chance to share this message. I recorded the video below with my reactions right after the panel.

If you aren’t able to watch the video now, keep reading for my summary. And make sure to check out the New Human Summit here. All of the recordings are available for a limited time.

The antidote to loneliness: Understanding you’re a social creature

It’s important to take responsibility for your own personal development, to believe that everything happens for a reason. Too often we rely on other people rather than taking control of our own destiny.

However, sometimes we can take this too far.

Human beings are fundamentally social creatures. We can’t exist in isolation from each other.

Societies were created in order to help groups of humans survive. By collaborating, we were more able to live off the earth and defend ourselves against other tribes.

It’s easy to criticize society these days. Personally, I’m on a constant struggle to define my individuality in opposition to social norms and conventions.

Yet the reality is that I can’t ever be an individual. I can’t exist on my own. Holding onto my individuality is what makes me lonely.

It’s important to understand how important relationships are in my life. My identity comes from how I see myself through the eyes of others.

It matters more that I’m cooperating effectively with others, living a life of virtue and being useful.

The importance of vulnerability and authenticity

I’m so happy to be part of the New Human Summit because it was created with these values in mind.

On the panel yesterday we spoke about the importance of vulnerability and authenticity. We’re not perfect, and life can be a struggle. When we’re honest about the pains and struggles we go through, we create the space to authentically connect with others.

I would like to invite you to join the New Human Summit, while also checking out the recordings from the incredible conversations over the last few days.

Speakers include Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus and world renowned scientist Bruce Lipton. More importantly, there are a number of speakers you may not have heard, but who shared incredibly authentic stories in their panels.

I was lucky to speak on two panels and share more of my own backstory to creating Ideapod and what we have in store for the future.

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Do you want to live your life with purpose and meaning, but you struggle to figure out how to do this without needing to completely change your life in the process?

Most modern day approaches to living with purpose and meaning involve trying to visualize a different life for yourself.

The problem is that doing this distracts you from the life you're already living right now.

In this free salon, Ideapod founder Justin Brown shares a very different approach to aligning with your purpose and creating meaning in your life, without needing to drastically change your life.

Check it out:

How to Live with Purpose and Meaning, Without Turning Your Life Upside Down

Written by Justin Brown

I'm the CEO and co-founder of Ideapod, a platform for people to connect around ideas. I'm passionate about people thinking for themselves, especially in an age of information overload.

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