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:
- The umbrella is being upstaged by Fenway Park.
- 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.
Day 343: What Other People Say, Part 2
Today’s post is dedicated to my friend, Janet, whom I met in film school along with her soon-to-be-husband, Ray. Janet and Ray appeared in this post, earlier this year, when we were all recovering from the trauma of the Boston Marathon bombings. As much as I would like you to link to that earlier post, I’ll make it easier on everybody and include that photo, again, here:
Today is Janet’s birthday. Happy birthday, Janet! Earlier this year, Janet and Ray, along with one of their fabulous sons, attended my 60th birthday party. This was a very memorable occasion for me, but there are several Janet-related memories that stand out for me, from that day.
Some of those memories have to do with Janet’s amazing creativity and humor. For example, she has a long history of putting together perfect combinations of words and images, to celebrate things. While I may try to create similar magic in this blog, she’s The Master, and has been, for decades.
Thank you, Janet, for those hilarious words-and-pictures celebrations of my wedding, my birthday, and all those Christmas masterpieces you put together for your friends, every year.
I just took a break, for a few seconds, to look for the incredible piece that Janet put together for my 60th birthday. This piece not only celebrated me, hilariously, but also included smart commentary on all the decades I’ve lived through. During the party, I placed it in a location of honor, so that all my other guests could see it. And they loved it.
But I can’t find it, in the moment. Which doesn’t surprise me, because I tend to lose track of things. Especially in the mornings. Especially when I have limited time (which I do, today, since I blog before I go to work).
And, I also tend to lost track of positive things that people say about me. At least, I have easily lost track of those things, in the past. This year, I’m working on getting better at holding on to What Other People Say (Positively) (as difficult as those things might be to believe, at times).
Part of this process has involved letting go of unhelpful things that people have said. (The first blog post entitled “What Other People Say” focused on that.) The other part of this process is learning how to make the positive “stick.”
In Janet’s genius creation for my 60th birthday, she said something positive, which has stuck with me, all year. It’s been indescribably helpful, every time I sit down to write a blog post. On the last page, which focused on my present and my future, she wrote:
When I locate Janet’s Birthday Masterpiece (which I will, later today), I will double-check my memory, to see if I’m quoting her correctly.
However, it doesn’t matter whether my memory is perfect. Here’s my punchline, for this post:
What Janet said, one month into my first blog, has helped keep me going, all year. It’s been there, for me, helping me write every day, no matter how much I doubted myself and my abilities.
As I’ve been encouraged by all your feedback, too, dear readers, no matter where or in what form that’s occurred.
Thanks to Janet, to all who encourage their friends in any way, and to you — of course! — for reading today.