Day 375: Direct Communication

I am having lots of thoughts, right now, about the topic of “Direct Communication.”  The challenge (as usual) is translating those thoughts into a blog post that’s coherent and enjoyable (enough), today.

Allow me to start out with a short trip down memory lane — that is, a return to yesterday’s blog post, called “We’re doing the best we can.”

In that post, there was (at least) one thing I communicated indirectly.  Because direct communication is very important to me,  I will be more direct about this, right now:

I wanted you to notice my cool umbrella, in yesterday’s post.

Here’s a photo of this umbrella, which I have been enjoying for many years:


I have been considering featuring that umbrella in a blog post for many months, because it always cheers me up.

Yesterday, I was hoping that somebody would notice that umbrella (which appeared in two, very similar photos). However, nobody commented on it.

Here’s  one of the photos from yesterday, which included the umbrella.


I don’t want to indulge in the human cognitive distortion of mind-reading, but hey!  Why should I be any different from anybody else?  Here are my guesses as to why nobody noticed that umbrella in yesterday’s photos:

  1. The umbrella is being upstaged by Fenway Park.
  2. Those aren’t great photos of the umbrella. Maybe the umbrella isn’t even recognizable there, but hey! YOU TRY taking a good picture when it’s freezing, the light sucks, you don’t want to be late for work, and you’re trying to capture a favorite ballpark and umbrella, while balancing an iPhone, your mittens, AND that friggin’ umbrella! **


Please forgive the somewhat hostile tone of #2, above, which is most likely due to the cognitive distortion of Mind Reading (see here for the complete list of those common judgmental ways of thinking) and perhaps other things, too.**

What was the topic of today’s blog post, again?   Oh, yes, direct communication.

At this point, I wanted to look at what’s been getting in the way of my direct communication about my umbrella:

  • Sometimes, being coy can be fun.
  • Saying, “Look how great this is!” can feel uncomfortable, especially if it’s about something of yours.

Also, when I’ve considered being more direct about that umbrella, before — that is, featuring it more prominently in its own blog post —  these things have gotten in the way of that:

  • Hassles, discomfort, and absent-mindedness (I write my blog posts in the morning and my umbrella lives in my car).
  • Superstition (it’s bad luck to open an umbrella inside).

What else did I want to tell you about direct communication, this morning?

Just this: I’ve been thinking about something my son told me, after he had his teeth cleaned for this first time by my new dental hygienist.  (I wrote about my first visit to her, here.)

My son told me some very positive, flattering things she said to him, about me.

Now, this dental hygienist, named Michel,  is a very direct person, I think. That’s one of the things I really like about her. However, I was surprised by what she said to my son, about me. As a matter of fact, some things were SO positive,  that I’ve been holding on to them, as gifts, to help me feel more confident and secure, and to help me replace old, negative (and very common) types of self-judgmental thinking.***

So I wonder why she told my son these positive things, instead of telling me?

I will tell you this: Despite Michel’s directness (which I’ve observed in other ways), she did a similar thing about praise, regarding my son. That is, the next time I saw her, she raved about how wonderful HE was.  But she didn’t tell him.

I think there are lots of reasons why people don’t communicate directly, including their positive thoughts about other people.

I might wish other people would be more direct, more often, because I think that helps.

However, I believe that everybody — including Michel — is doing the best that they can.****

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is something else I wanted to communicate directly, in yesterday’s blog post.

Thanks to all who are doing their best at communicating directly AND to my wonderful readers, whom I probably don’t praise enough (which would include you, y’know).


* I found this photo through Google Images, which informs me you can find this umbrella many places, these days, like here.

** Regular readers of this blog might have considered another Usual Suspect: hunger.

*** Hey!  I’ve now linked to the same page three times in the same blog post!  A new personal record!

**** Which does NOT mean that people can’t improve, grow, mature, evolve, and get better in many ways.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 28 Comments

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28 thoughts on “Day 375: Direct Communication

  1. Thanks for the smile on a multitude of levels this morning. The umbrella is fantastic and now that you’ve directly commented about it, grin, I was inspired to mention it as well. What you say about communication is so very true. And yes, I agree with what you said about communicating directly with someone, and not just about them to another. I find I say what I feel simply because I don’t want to miss an opportunity for one to know anything that may make them feel good, attractive, smart, etc.Great post my friend.

  2. On my first trip to London (many eons ago) I bought an umbrella that became my favorite souvenir of the trip; what’s more fitting than an umbrella and London, right? Well I held on to that little black umbrella for nearly a decade and I dont remember if it was one of the ankle biters who broke it or whether it was me….but either way….it was such a sad day when I had to toss it…..sure, I could of kept a broken umbrella in my study….but I’m sure that would end up being some kind of fodder for my future psychiatrist to use against me; “so Kenneth, it seems like that broken umbrella in your study symbolizes all of the broken dreams of your past”… Or something like that lol…… 😉

  3. Adam Hughes

    Oh my,your post cheered my grumpy mood up no end! That poor umbrella 😦 I must admit,I too prefer people to ‘say it as it is’ I might not sugar coat things but when a compliment is due,I give it. Wonderful post.

  4. I must comment on the very nature of that umbrella, Ann. The fact that you found, use, and love an umbrella that depicts blue skies above says so much about you! Now, yesterday. In that Fenway shot above, not knowing Boston proper, I thought said umbrella was the El. Now, if you would have slyly put it in the potato latke shot, I would have missed it for another reason. Favorite-foods-of-the-past longing! Thanks, Ann.

    • You’re welcome, Mark. I wouldn’t have noticed the umbrella in a potato latke shot, either. Thanks for this observant comment.

  5. I like to tell the parents about how wonderful their kids are (when it’s true), I think that parents need to hear it. (and I found it on a list of random acts of kindness, and that got me thinking how weird it is that we don’t let others know how awesome their kids/parents/siblings are, once it was brought to my attention, I’ve started doing it all over the place) So, having giving you that background, sometimes the lack of direct communication might be on purpose! I have no problems communicating directly, but what a gift it was to your son to hear wonderful things about you. And what a great gift to you to hear how awesome someone else thought your son was!

  6. It is a very cute umbrella. And a very wise lesson about being direct!
    Diana xo

  7. I can very much relate to Michel’s style. I find I often share praise about another readily to a third party, but not as often directly to the person being praised. Weird, now that I think about it.

    • I think that style is very common, Nancy. And it’s true that people can be uncomfortable with praise (especially if they’re not used to it). So wonderful to see you here today. Thanks!

  8. You certainly know how to get my mind ticking! Oh and cute umbrella haha!

  9. Really, the umbrella could have acted as extra aperture bringing to life the clouds behind it. I could never have thought that it was the inside pattern of your umbrella! 😉 I did my best though! Lovely optimistic umbrella.

    • Lovely optimistic comment. I’m so glad we’ve met here and that we continue to enjoy and learn from each other’s posts. Thanks!

  10. Hi dear Ann,

    How are you doing in the new year? Looks freezing in your place, brrrr. I can’t stand cold weather, it makes me aggressive and want to cry, out of helplessness. I’m very sensitive to cold and it just makes me very miserable.

    I love your umbrella – it deserves a separate post!

    Communicating directly – Americans are generally very polite, at least those that I met here in Israel. That may be a reason people are less direct, because it is not considerd polite or sensitive or well-mannered… I am very direct, always was. I think that’s a good quality, when it comes to telling a person the positive things you think about him/her. Regarding the less flattering stuff, I used to be impossible, embarassingly direct sometimes. And that is BAD. With the years (getting older definitely has its PROS 😉 ), I have learned to be more diplomatic and respectful, also towards people I don’t think deserve it.

    I’m going to bed.
    Hugs, Heila

    • Hello dear Heila,

      I am doing fine in the new year. It is freezing, and I can’t stand the cold either. Actually, it makes me aggressive, wanting to cry out of helplessness, and sensitively miserable, just like you.

      Thanks for your compliments and insights in this comment. It’s always great to see you!

      All the best, and hugs back at ya,

  11. Pingback: Day 382: Why I was judgmental about yesterday’s blog post | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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  14. Pingback: Day 604: Direct communication | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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