Shame

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“It is difficult to be in your own skin when you’re struggling with shame” – Monica Lewinsky

I wish I could say it better, but she nailed it. And I don’t know of anyone who could say it better. If you haven’t already, look up her TED Talk.

I have and sometimes still do struggle with shame and I know other do to. Nothing helps me more than sharing with those who I am close to and nothing brings me closer to someone than when we share something so viscerally scary as our shameful moments.

What are you ashamed of? Who do you have in your life to share with? Who is someone you can draw closer to and share in your hardest moments? Who can you be there for as they share in their shameful moments?

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Pennywise

Take-a-penny, leave-a-penny jars are some of my favorite things. From a practical standpoint, they keep me from ending up with a load of unwanted change when my total is within a couple cents of an even dollar amount.

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Impractically, they are the best version of generosity.

They are the place I can leave a couple pennies for someone else. A complete stranger who has nothing more in common with me than using cash at a specific establishment. Other than that, they will never know I existed. But they will reap the psychological relief and monetary benefit of a few cents left in a tiny cup for their moment of need.

Where can you leave an intentional benefit to someone else? How can you make a small donation to a strangers moment of need? What can you do to add value to someone in the midst of their daily mundane?

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Sharing Tears

The other day my son did something dumb, but it was something he knew he was not supposed to be doing. I had removed him from the temptation several times. Emphasized and been stern in how he was not supposed to be doing what he was doing. Finally, he was not listening and I sat him down in time out and made it explicitly clear he was being disobedient.

Next, he starts crying. Not the wail of pain or the cry of whining because he wants something. He just stares at me, with tiny little tears rolling down his round little cheeks.

And I am standing there watching him cry.

Then I start crying!

He is a good kid and he is learning boundaries, but I also need him to listen, the first time. It is only so long that until I need him to listen and it is the difference between him running out into a busy street or listening the first time when I tell him to stop and he does not run out into the busy street.

Until that day, I can only bond with him with the minimal vocabulary he has and the nominal understanding of the world he has. But in that moment when he was sitting, staring, and crying. It was the best thing I could do to meet him there, staring, and crying.

We can understand one another when we meet each other in these moments of tears and mutual emotion. We can share a moment together and know that despite our differences, we see each other and though we are different, we are still humans meeting each other where we are. We share emotions and humanity together.

Where are you meeting other people where they are at? How are you showing other people you are human and the same as they are despite your differences? How are you sharing moments of humanity with your coworkers, friends, and family?

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Favorite Part of a Song

I was singing along to one of my favorite songs and towards the end of the song, the lead singer sings the chorus and another singer sings the bridge over top of them. It is truly a goosebump sort of moment.

All the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The hairs on my arms stand up. I get a slight shiver in my spine and my smile spreads a mile wide.

I know it is coming and still. I cannot stop it from happening when I listen to my favorite songs.

So good.

Whether it is our favorite song, favorite movie, play, musical, book, painting, tv show, or time of year, we all have these little items we love. However, what stops us from making more of these moments?

What stops us from planning these moments out and being ready for them all the time so we do not have to wait for them, instead we can experience them more often. We can plan these moments out for others to add value to their lives.

We can enrich the lives of friends and family by sharing our goosebump moments and share enrich our own lives by asking others about their goosebump moments and we can see something new or old in a way we have never seen it before.

Who are you sharing your goosebump moments with? Who are you asking about their goosebump moments? How are you seeking out new goosebump moments?

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Moments

Moments. Life is made up of them. I cannot escape living them and they are always followed up by another one. The older I get, the more each one loses significance. Each moment becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of my life. And yet, some of them are far more significant than any other.

I am currently in a phase of life where I have so many significant moments, but in 20 years will I remember them? Will I have them jotted down in my brain in such a way that I can reread them and remember what I am experiencing? Laugh at my naiveté? Celebrate my maturity? Or shake my head at my lack of acknowledgement of what really matters in the situation?

When I run into someone else going through what I am going through, will I be able to remember what I went through? How I felt? What I did to cope with it?

What do you remember? What significant moments do you have the details of stored away for yourself? How can you store away more moments to reflect on later in life?

Momentarily,

–JT

Wear Out Your Welcome

Recently, more and more, I have begun to notice some people wearing out their welcomes. Not in the sense of staying at my home too long. They aren’t leaving their laundry all over my floor or leaving their dirty dishes all over the place. The toilet seat has not been left up too many times and nobody is trying to use my soap. 

Still, though, they have worn out their welcome. They have filled my head with too many of their words. They have worn my ears down with the sounds of their voice. They give their opinion when they are not involved in conversations. They are over involved and under requested. They input into every open moment. They have not earned the right nor have they been given the right to be vocal. Yet still, they continue to wear out their welcome. 

Every word becomes a little less valuable than the last. And still they wear on. 

They speak more than the others around them and they do not know that they are more than their fair share. No measure is taken of their input compared to everyone else’s yet still, they wear on. 

They have worn out their welcome in the ears of their listeners, their voice has become shrill, and their words are legos under bare feet. 

What are your words worth? How much more than your peers do you contribute to conversations? Are you an equal contributor to conversation? How often you wait for others to speak first?

Listening,

–JT

Experiences

Often times I am filled with assessment and analytics on what is going on around me. Not so much hard data, numbers, and graphs, but more gut feelings. I will see a friend about to do something I have done a number of times and I know there is a natural pitfall and it is easy to fall into it. So I speak up. I tell the person about the pitfall. Where its origins are, how it works and, most importantly, how to avoid it. 

When suddenly I hear a voice in the void between me and my friend telling them about the pitfalls etcetera. A voice of caring and concern. I listen intently to the voice and appreciate their care to help my friend. As I listen, the voice become more familiar. I know the cadence, vernacular, and phrasing. The voice is very reasonable even. The voice is making some of the same points and sharing experiences I have. 

I look up expectant of seeing someone I know helping my friend and sharing helpful tips and trick. 

There is not anyone there. 

The voice is mine. 

And the voice never left my head.

My friend gets up and moves along to their next destination and I have not said a word.

What will my friend do? I hope they make it ok. I hope they do not end up engaging in any of the same pitfalls I ran into. I better connect with them quickly. I better make sure they know what they have ahead of themselves. I would hate for them to hit any of the same speed bumps I did when they are so avoidable. I hope it is not too late. 

What experiences do you have? What experiences have you not shared?

Sharing,

–JT