Yum Yuckers and Balloon Bursters

Wanted to share this excerpt from the Living in 120 square feet blog that was posted by Laura LaVoie on August 28, 2013:

“At an event not too long ago I was showing photos of our house when someone exclaimed, “Oh, how ugly! Why would you decorate your house in green?”

Most of the the time I just smile and move on but this time I looked at them and said, “Because I like green. If you don’t like green that’s fine. If you build your own house you don’t have to use any green.”

I was kind of surprised when they were taken aback. “Did that comment offend you?” they asked. Well, yes, it did. What purpose does it serve to tell me that the thing I like is bad?

Let’s recognize these differences and focus on the things we do share. Let’s all make a conscious effort not to yuck anyone else’s yum.”

For thirteen years I worked in adult day care and activity programming. I worked with a team of fabulous women who brought their love, enthusiasm, and half the contents of their home to work every day in order to put on a program for our day program attendee’s. It was our way of helping them remember, reminisce, and stay connected to life. Sue, one of the activity leaders, had just returned from the beach and was really excited to do a summer program on going to the beach. She brought in a beach chair, towels, sand bucket and shovel, and her fabulous collection of sea shells for the residents to touch. At the end of the program, as she was helping Frank (a program attendee often frozen with Parkinson’s disease), get ready to go home. She asked Frank, “Did you enjoy the seashells?” Frank answered, “I don’t care so much about seashells, but it was your enthusiasm on the subject that I really enjoyed.”

Do the stories above offer any insights?

Live for the Applause

angel 2012“I live for the Applause!” Sings Lady Gaga in her new hit “Applause”. Well, so do I; both given and received. To be applauded or recognized is a gift to be taken in. And yet, so many of us push away recognition or compliments by saying things such as “oh, it was nothing.” A response such as this is not accepting the gift that someone just gave you.

In the song, “Given To” (from the album titled “Given To” by Ruth Bebermeyer,1978), the lyrics speak to the gift of giving and receiving compliments:

To receive with grace
may be the greatest giving.
There’s no way I can separate the two.
When you give to me
I give to you my receiving.
When you take from me, I feel so given to.

Angel, a beautiful mona guenon, is our monkey teacher in Chapter 9: Feeling Important (Monkey Business: 37 Better Business Practices Learned Through Monkeys). It is rare, but occasionally a baby will reject its own mother, as in the case of Angel. This brought great psychological distress to the mother. Angel had to be removed from her and fed and reared by human hands. She came to Frisky’s Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary when she was quite young. Colleen Layton Robbins, her surrogate human mother, says that even as an adult, Angel is uncomfortable with touch. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t enjoy interaction and attention. She eats it up! When she receives the gift of our attention, we, at Frisky’s, feel so given to.

My offering in this chapter and in this blog is to practice the gift of giving and receiving compliments and recognition this week. A fun exercise for the workplace may be to give the 6th or 7th person to walk into the conference room for a staff meeting a standing ovation—just for being them!