Last week I came across this article that stated, being ignored is worse than being bullied.

I had to stop and think about that statement for a second. Nevermind the article and the research, I wanted to just think about that statement, especially since we hear so much about bullying in the media these days.

I can’t come out and say one is worse than the other…they are both painful experiences in our lives.

But it’s interesting that in my therapy practice I often hear kids in more pain because they have no one to talk to. No one to sit with at lunch. No one to hang out with during or after school. No one is bullying them…rather, no one is paying attention to them. It’s as if they don’t exist. The pain that they share is heartbreaking.

And then they are spouses who describe marriages as places of utter aloneness. They are married to someone who pays no attention to them. Their spouse comes home from work and doesn’t acknowledge them. Sometimes they retreat to another room, at other times the retreat is in the presence of the spouse. They are describing neglect and it is painful. It’s so painful for many because they can’t quite put their mind around what is happening. Unfortunately many marriages are like two roommates occupying the same space, but with little love, like or engagement in the relationship. This too is very heartbreaking to hear about.

Who we are as people is defined and refined in relationship to others. Adam became Adam because he was in relationship with Eve. Who he is, his understanding of self, was understood in relationship to another person.

Though my identity and sense of self is informed by my relationship with God, it is in my relationship with my wife that I have a clearer understanding of who God created me to be. We were meant to live in reciprocal relationships with other people. After all, the Trinity (Father, Son, Spirit) are in a reciprocating relationship with one another (but that would be for another theological post).

I just wanted to encourage you to think about those around you.

Look around and see who is being excluded.

Who is lonely?

Who is in dire need of being in relationship with people?

And what role do you play in that?