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I’ll just say it: we all have gotten into the habit of using our phones too much. It’s hampering our relationships to the point that ‘together alone’ is a common catchphrase. It’s understandable; I do it, too! Our phones are enticing, with emails, social media, shopping online, videos…but they’re also brain-numbing and isolating. We, myself included, look at our phone when we’re with our spouse on a date, when we’re with our children, when we should be connecting. It’s become a habit — almost an addiction. It’s an epidemic! We have to learn to honor the relationships that we’re in by putting down our phones — or even (gasp!) leaving the phone at home when we’re going out.

But there’s an anxiety around not having your phone on you at all times. I often have to ask myself: Is it really necessary to have my phone with me when I have the opportunity to be with my loved ones? On a walk, is it really necessary to have phone in my pocket?Recently, I turned off all notifications, and it’s helped me break the habit — but I’m always tempted to put those notifications back on. Part of this is that we all want to feel important. Every buzz says someone is thinking about you. Every ding tells you you matter. But the truth is you ARE important; you already matter — to your loved ones! And they, in turn, will feel important and significant when you turn your phone off, leave it in the car, or have a fast — go a whole day without technology. Just to be together; be present. Intentionally present. Give the gift of your 100% attention, to yourself, as well as to others.