What do our texts say about us?
What do our texts reveal about us: about our fears, our desires and our needs? Our texts are like free associations, quick and uninhibited statements. If Freud were alive, he would probably ask to see your phone. He would wonder about the size of your phone and what you are compensating for. And then he would ask about what you text to your mother.
I decided to try this out, so I re-read most my texts over the last year. Honestly, it was boring and a little confusing. Texts are short sentences and sometimes only one word.
To make a little more sense of all of my texts, I themed them into departments, because I am in a Walmart state of mind:
- Bathroom: Personal texts about bodily functions.
- Cell phones and Electronics: Texts about how to turn on the TV, how to get the Netflix to work.
- Food: Texts asking me to get specific items from the grocery store, texts about “What’s for dinner” and “Who’s coming over?”
- Health and Pharmacy: What my doctor told me and how much the needle hurt.
- Home improvement: Love, partnering and parenting texts made up a significant amount of the meaningful stuff.
- House swear, Men swear and Women swear: Texts about how we are pissed off about stuff in our lives.
- Household essentials: My family likes to remind me about things I am supposed to do, stuff that I should buy at the store, not forgetting to pick up the kids or asking me to not to burn supper again.
- Party Occasions: Things we are happy about and things we are celebrating.
- Personal: Honest texts about our emotions and our needs.
- Photo Center: Selfies and Emojis (I would like to know what country speaks Emoji?)
- Travel: Texts that amount to “Where are you and when are you getting home?”
What, if anything, do our texts reveal about our spiritual lives?
Some of you science types may raise an eyebrow at this, but stay with me for a minute (we’re almost finished). When we were Nomads, we lit fires and told our stories (see “Camping and the Stories that Make Us”, published through the Good Men Project). Later, we went to church and made confession, telling our stories in a booth or telling our stories to God.
In a day of Steel and Glass Mountains and wireless Superphones, we seem to have fewer formal beliefs (other than a belief in the need for Wi-Fi everywhere). Our texts are a type of social media church: We celebrate; we send up prayers; we confess our angst about our work, our relationships and our lives; we support each other.
Our texts reveal something about our souls, even if we don’t have a formal religion or a spiritual practice: we long to connect, to confess, to celebrate, to be supported and to support.
If Moses used a Smartphone instead of the Stone tablets, maybe we would’ve had The 10 Texts instead of The Ten Commandments? The texts may have gone viral (thinking about it, something going viral back then may not have been so hot…), but then they would have been forgotten with the next video about Pharaoh dancing or stupid cat videos. We have cultural ADHD and our attention span is over rated. At least taking the time to write 10 statements, there was at least a chance for it to be taken seriously.
I invite you to set your phone aside. If you are like me, you will need to breathe and maybe have an Ativan. Pick up the phone or have a walk with someone instead of texting. You may want even want to try texting Moses style and hand write a note instead. Be honest, be real. Your soul is asking for it.
“Our texts reveal something about our souls, even if we don’t have a formal religion or a spiritual practice.”
Keep it real.
You may want to read “The Psychology of Texting: How Your Cell Phone Reveals The Inner You” by Alice G. Walton in Psychology Today.