I have written from time to time about farts. It might gross some of you out, but those of you that are transparent and not afraid to say what is really on your mind know that we all fart, and sometimes it happens in public places. On an airplane, in a dressing room, or at the grocery store. These days with gluten and dairy intolerances, it seems to be a more common occurrence, or maybe a more common conversation. Do not worry this blog is not completely about farts, I have another mission for your day.
It is about hugging. Ah you read the title. A colleague recently shared (jokingly of course) that he was not a fan of hugging. His wife confirmed it. He said: “Hugging makes me fart.” I laughed, and then I laughed again. Literally I can see what it means. Sometimes Chris has squeezed me so hard that well a bit of air might have escaped, but again, not the focus of this blog post. I loved what he said, and I love how funny it was to me. It was real and raw, and even if he was kidding, it brought a smile to my face and made my day!
Growing up, my house had few hugs. I do not remember hugging my siblings much, or my parents, or grandparents. It was not really encouraged and not something I witnessed too often. So I am not sure at what point in my life that hugs became prevalent. I am a hugger. I have no problem meeting a new person and by the time I have had a conversation, interacted, feel comfortable and connected giving them a hug at the end of our visit. It often feels odd to get to know someone (a man or a woman) and not give them a hug at the end of the visit. Although there is one thing I have noticed. Men often feel awkward hugging a woman too close. A hug is a hug is a hug. Just bring it in and hug it out. Who cares about what body parts come into contact with each other? To me a hug is a way to connect, a way to say I value you.
Even in an extremely love filled relationship, a hug can sometimes feel more meaningful than a kiss. You can squeeze the crap out of someone and show how much they mean to you that is sometimes hard to show in a kiss (especially in public). In the morning I often find Chris wherever he is in the house and demand my morning hug. I feel somewhat off starting my day or being at work and realizing I did not get my morning hug. (Makes me grumpy). A hug says things that do not need to be said, soothes a bad day, tears, and even a grumpy person.
Just remember though that the next time you hug someone, they might just fart!
Engagement is incredibly important to me. It matters in so many areas of life. Of course you can imagine that I will tell you that engagement matters in my marriage, you better believe it does! Focused conversation, feeling heard, and a give-and-take engaged conversation is what makes for a happy and successful marriage. Without that what is the point? I want to know that I am always paying attention and engaged in Chris’ life, that he is doing the same for me. When it becomes part of your every day, it is not hard, it becomes part of you.
Engaging with others also matters at work. Do you pay attention to your co-workers or employees? Do you listen and engage in their questions and ideas? Or do you come to a meeting with the decision already made and only bring them in so they think you care? When I read Seth Godin’s recent blog: “The hard work of understanding” I thought “Godin gets it right again.” The full excerpt of his post is here, (the bold lines for my own emphasis):
“Sometimes, we’re so eager to have an opinion that we skip the step of working to understand. Why is it the way it is? Why do they believe what they believe? We skip reading the whole thing, because it’s easier to jump to what we assume the writer meant. We skip engaging with customers and stakeholders because it’s quicker to assert we know what they want. We skip doing the math, examining the footnotes, recreating the experiment, because it might not turn out the way we need it to. We better hurry, because the firstest, loudest, angriest opinion might sway the crowd. And of course, it’s so much easier now, because we all own our own media companies.”
It makes me think that when we try to move through our lives so fast, we miss others along the way. We miss engaging with them, connecting with them, we miss understanding them. Instead of going through each day, each meeting, so fast, what if we focused, listened, connected, and engaged with others? I think it is doable, sometimes we just need to stop, breathe, and think about what experience we bring to those around us. Are you with me?
Do you ever have a conversation with someone only to realize they are in another world? Their mind is thinking about Facebook, the text they just received, the email they need to respond to? We are now such a highly connected society that we often do not go more than an hour without having connected with someone that is miles away from us, yet we struggle to sometimes connect with the person that is sitting right in front of us.
A few months ago I finished reading the book: “Program or be Programmed” by Douglas Rushkoff. A few days ago, I was reminded of Rushkoff’s book, after an interaction that just felt too on the surface to me. We have become a society that just takes from the top layer. We are getting farther and farther away from going deep. Our world revolves around the moment by moment distractions of our phones, tablets, and what is happening on the Internet. Rushkoff says:
“A society that looked at the Internet as a path toward highly articulated connections and new methods of creating meaning is instead finding itself disconnected, denied deep thinking, and drained of enduring values.”
My question is what can we do to get back to deeper values, connected conversations, and quality interactions? I also like what he says here:
“Faced with a networked future that seems to favor the distracted over the focused, the automatic over the considered, and the contrary over the compassionate, it’s time to press the pause button and ask what all this means to the future of our work, our lives, and even our species.”
I want to take another look at my moments and interactions and see how I act. I already know that I am a multi-tasker. I at times applaud myself for all that I can do at once. But, am I doing things better? Am I really focused on all that is happening around me? Could I provide more quality to whatever activity that I am doing by being completely 100% connected and aware?