perspective

Let the Tears Come

You could hear it coming…a pause that lasted a little too long. The turn away from the microphone. Then, when she turned back, the tell tale crack in her voice. Tears.

The people around me became visibly and audibly uncomfortable. Squirming in chairs. A woman a few feet away recoiled, mumbling “oh no, oh don’t” under her breath. Crying isn’t allowed.

What is it about crying that gets people upset? Why is it wrong to do it in public? In a speech, ok, blubbering tears may make you harder to understand, but still. Why is that strong emotion supposed to be kept inside, kept out of sight?

For me, crying isn’t unusual. I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m touched by something. I cry when I’m overwhelmed or upset. And of course, I cry when I’m sad. I cry at commercials, photos, memories, songs, all kinds of stuff.

Sometimes people say crying is a sign of femininity and, therefore, weakness. I disagree and this is sexist, People’s discomfort with emotion is the real pathology. Humans are feeling beings. I am sure we all know examples of people who keep all their emotions bottled up. Sometimes those people are cold. Sometimes they wait and explode.

So I say, let the tears come. Keep talking as you weep. There are beautiful and tragic things in this world and it is ok to react to them, respond to them, and let people see us resonating deeply with this mixed-up universe.

Feeling isn’t weakness.

friendship, giving

Listen Up!

I often talk about active listening skills in professional settings. I often challenge many participants (especially males) in those environments to engage in activities that test their ability to actively listen.

It may not be every male who can’t listen but it is definitely a higher number than women by far. I often think about the why of this…

Listening is the greatest gift you can give to another human. Anyone can give quick advice when somebody has a problem but those who are actively listening can hear your emotion, feel your pain and generally connect with you. Listening takes time. Listening requires one to be patient.

When I think of my own life and frustrations, I think of how my spouse doesn’t listen a lot of time. Doesn’t engage or empathize with anyone who has an issue or struggle. This makes me think back to something my mom taught me at a young age. Never pass judgment on somebody until you have walked a day in their shoes.

In order to be supportive or helpful one has to be willing to set their own feelings to the side, get down on your level, listen and really relate to your issues or struggles. This doesn’t even have to occur face to face!

If you are struggling and you text your life partner, one would hope they could read your words and really listen to your hurt. Unfortunately, I have seen first hand that many close to me are grossly incapable of doing this. 

I think this honestly comes down to their inability to get down on your level. Feel the hurt. It’s a lack of genuineness. Ask yourself, who do your reach out to when you need to talk? Is it your mom? Your best friend? Your sibling? Your spouse? Who?

Then ask yourself who will listen to you when you feel troubled? Is it the same person? Maybe it’s more than one person. The point is you are never going to reach out to the person who lectures you, passes judgment on you, or just brushes you off.

In order to be a better listener you need to give of yourself. You need to put the phone down and listen to the person in front of you. Maybe you need to stop playing a video game to read the words of a loved one.

Today more than ever our words are powerful. In today’s digital world words are a big way of communicating. Sending a note of praise. Sending a text of good will. Even sending an emoji with a smile is positive communication. We are all capable but not everyone does it.
Positive communication opens the door for building trust. One day somebody may need you. They may need you to hear or read their words. They may need you when they are struggling.

If you are not capable of using your active listening skills you may never hear or read those words. It’s unfortunate that many I know struggle in this area. This why I am opting to write this post.

If one person can make a change based on this blog, I feel like I have made an impact. Listen up. Turn on your antennas. Today’s world is hectic and crazy. We are all busy. We are all trapped in a digital world. But we are all capable of listening to words spoken or words written or even emailed / texted if we just slow down, pause and think about what another is saying. 

Remember “tell me more” offers the one person with words hope that somebody is there to listen to them. Offering hope is free.

I know I am making it a point to listen more listen to all around me and I encourage you to do the same. It’s a new year. Why not make it a goal to be a better listener?

Listen up!

perspective

Social Disneying

This was a new term for me this week but apparently it’s all the rage. I went to Disney World on a last minute-trip and boy did I see a lot of 2020 nuances.

Let’s start with the temperature checks. I get it but wow of all the times at Disney this is new and different but definitely expected in 2020. Then there is the mask up rule. Over the mouth and nose at all times. It’s on signs, it’s broadcasted all day on speakers and cast members let you know often.

Only time to remove the mask is when you are actively eating or drinking in a stationary position. No shifting the mask on the move, in line or just for fresh air. Not to mention their mask guidelines are specific. No neck gaiters. Must be two layers. No mask with the vent. Kids over 2 need one. Not just at the park, at Disney Springs and pretty much everywhere. I only felt like I could take a mask break in the bathroom of all places – behind closed doors.

It’s normally a popular fashion statement to have matching Disney shirts, family reunion shirts or special occasions like a newly wed couple or first trip to Disney, but this year the theme was different. Majority of shirts said Socially Disneying or Disney 2020 with toilet paper for the zeroes. Interesting, new and something I didn’t expect.

I also didn’t expect lines to get into retail stores to get a souvenir. One-way traffic when walking. Cow corral type setups at entry points to separate people. Limited food service. Reduced choices all around for snacks. I only found one place that sold my turkey leg that is a normal purchase at Disney. Such a disappointment but with only 30% capacity, I am sure all staff is not working which impacts sales. 

The longest, twisted and turned lines that only an imagineer could have designed! I am an adult I can adjust. Kids over age 5 seemed to do well with masks. Kids 0-4 seems challenged A-Z. Take a look. 

I thought back to taking my kids in the 0-4 years old category, Squirming around in lines. Wanting an ice cream while waiting in lines. They always thoroughly enjoyed character visits and autographs. Guess what visits are at a distance. A far distance!

Parades at Magic Kingdom were interesting. One float – people gathered in closed proximity. The float moves on and people disperse. 20 minutes later another float. Same scenario. What a clever way to still offer a parade while keeping people together less than fifteen minutes. Genius.

Then at Animal Kingdom they put the characters on a pontoon boat and sent them around in a water tour with music and cheers and waves. Seemed to uplift those around even at a distance. Such creative ways to bend and flex on Disney’s part so people can still enjoy a little different Disney experience during the pandemic.

Disney also did a great job with signage. Reminders in lines to be 6 foot apart. Signs to separate. Seating even on walls or resting places by bathrooms had signage showing not available for seating due to 6 ft rules. In addition there were plastic dividers on rides where lines wrapped and people would normally be in close quarters for an extend period of time. Just creative overall.

Although the theme park was at a drastically reduced capacity it still had lines. Mainly because every other seat was empty on rides.

Now that I covered all the steps Disney took to comply with new rules and regulations, let’s talk about judgment. Those who thought I should not go to such a public place. Those who believe social distancing involves becoming a recluse and staying trapped inside your home avoiding people.

Sorry folks that’s not me. I maintain my health and sanity in more than one way. I work out for mental clarity, stress relief and to get out of the four walls of my home. This is a requirement for me but a risk to others. I support local small business because I am a small business owner and I need to go out to stimulate the economy. I can mask up and comply with local rules but I won’t be a prisoner of the pandemic. 

I enjoy fresh air each day. I walk my dog. I go to the park. I ride my bike. I’m sure some particles in the air could get me sick. Particles in the air could have gotten me sick in 2019 before the pandemic too.

Just wrapping up this post with one can socially or physically distance and still be active. Maybe social Disneying is for those who are extreme risk takers but even the most cautious people need to interact with others, breathe fresh air and really just celebrate life. Anything less just isn’t living. I’m not even sure if I’d say it’s surviving. It’s more like being robotic and slavelike. 

Everyone has a right to an opinion. Everyone has the freedom to speak. However one should never judge another unless you walk a day in their shoes. And at Disney that means walking a marathon on most days.

I had a great time in Disney. Made mask memories and saw a side of the country practicing safety measures that I would not have seen otherwise. I may not do it again but I enjoyed my spontaneous trip.