How to keep from losing “touch” on social media

Social media is awesome for keeping in touch with family and friends all over the world. Our kids are on it almost 24/7 and it’s completely normal for them to go for long stretches without physically coming into contact with people.

So here’s a question: do you keep in “touch” your kids when you see them? Do you hug them, hold them, tousle their hair, pat them on the back?

If you don’t….you must! If it doesn’t come naturally, a good way to keep in “touch” is by holding their hand before they sleep. Sit on the side of the bed, ask to hold their hand, and give it a little squeeze and maybe even a massage as you talk about their 5 favourite things of the day. It’s a fantastic ritual and can be continued even when they’re older IF the practice is started when they’re younger.

“Reach out and touch…somebody’s hand…make this world a better place…if you can.” ūüôā

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What? Me, worry?

I don’t think of myself as someone who worries a lot, but when it comes to what I think people think of me, I can be a basket case.

Yet contrary to what many people have told me — that this is because I lack self-confidence — I don’t think that’s true. ¬†It’s not because I don’t have self-confidence, it’s because I genuinely care and want to make other people happy. ¬†Is that a bad thing?

Well, it depends.

I think some people are just ‘born to make you happy’, as Britney Spears sang about. ¬†They are the ‘givers’, the ‘sweet kids who would do anything for you’.

I’m like that; that is just who I am.

I need people.  And I want people to need me.  This is never going to change.

Barbara Streisand sang that ‘people who need people are the luckiest people in the world’. ¬†If that’s true, why do so many people tell me that I’m gullible and naive and I have got to throw away my rose-colored glasses, grow up and live in the ‘real world’ (even though technically I’ve already grown up)?

Why don’t I hear more people saying: “Wow, you are so lucky!”

I get it — there are bad people out there — people who are immoral, hateful, ‘damaged’ themselves and just want company, or those who enjoy hurting other people (especially those whom they think are easy targets, like me).

I read a great quote once, something like: ¬†“Just because you’re a vegetarian, doesn’t mean the bull won’t charge at you.”

But here’s the thing — I never said I didn’t want the bull to charge. ¬†What most people don’t realize, I think, is that nice people can be a lot stronger than they let on. ¬†We have morals; we have principles. Just because it may seem that we want to be friends with everyone, and we want everyone to like us, there’s a line we won’t cross. ¬†We’re not stupid.

Unless, perhaps, our self-esteem has been broken by people close to us who are supposed to love us telling us that we’re dumb for being this way.

Parents, relatives and well-intentioned friends who, in trying to protect us, ultimately hurt us by cutting us down and saying that we’re gullible, naive and, well, stupid for trusting people and being ‘nice’. ¬†Then telling us that we have to basically change who we are.

The sad thing is, because we need people to like us, all of those well-intentioned remarks can have the opposite effect.

Why? ¬†Well, first of all, there is the ‘love hierarchy’, and parents are at the top. If we can’t get that, we go down a level to friends. If we can’t fill our love tanks* there, we go down even further, and further, until we find someone who will fill that basic need. ¬†More often than not, we go farther off the rails. ¬†Even if we know it’s wrong. ¬†And we may never admit it to you — you’re the one who told us we’re basically stupid for being so nice. ¬†Our need for love and approval may make us do things we don’t want to do.

When people tell me (or their kids or friends) to ‘grow up’ and realize the ‘world is a bad place’, I think to myself, “Why do WE¬†have to change?

Why not tell us how lucky we are that we see the world for it’s possibilities and not its negativities? ¬†Why not tell us how you wish you could be more like us, and most importantly, that you’ll be there for us when we do get charged by a bull – helping us to see how we can do better next time; choose better friends; help us see how they don’t matter, but you do?

Because from my point of view, it’s not ME who has to change — I mean, as¬†¬†Natalie Portman said in¬†Where the Heart Is:¬†“we all have good and bad inside of us, and the good that’s the only thing worth living for”.

I’m living for the good. And I’m thankful that those closest to me understand and support that. Because I just don’t see how being more like the bad will make this world a better place.

*For more on filling up our ‘love tanks’, check out the ‘Love Language’ series of books by Dr. Gary Chapman.