Today is our blog’s third birthday, so happy birthday to us!! We originally opened our doorway on this little corner of the ‘net as a place to share ideas, thoughts and feelings and to create connections with others, so ‘Creating Connections’ seemed like an apt title for today’s post.
We live in an era of technology and one doesn’t have to look very hard or very far to find people who feel that we’ve lost the ability to connect with each other. There are probably thousands/ millions of images online of a group of people, all sitting together, each looking at his or her own phone, tablet or other device. Each seems to be in his or her own world, cut off from those around them, but I don’t think that’s true. They are connecting, but they’re connecting in new and different ways than was possible before. I’m old enough to remember a time where it seemed every teenage girl (and some guys) wanted not only a telephone in his or her room, but a separate line as well. There they would spend hours in conversation with someone who also had a telephone and the freedom to use it. Before we had smart phones and texting we had the internet and chat rooms, and before we had computers and telephones we had letters. The idea is the same, only the tools have changed.
Marcia and I both have smart phones and we both have e-mail, text and social networking accounts. When we’re sitting together at a coffee shop it may appear as though we’re disconnected from each other, but we aren’t. We’re usually toe to toe or touching in some way, and when one or the other discovers something interesting we’re quick to share it. We embody the space between us, and we extend our reach out into the world around us. Maybe we’re unique in that, but I don’t think so. People still have an innate need to feel connected, to reach out to others in whatever way they can, and they still do.
Marcia and I leave Hug Certificates for people to find when we’re out and about, and sometimes we give them to others we see sharing a hug. We’ve also done several ‘Free Hugs‘ campaigns around town. They’ve given us the opportunity to interact with people of different places and different cultures from around the world. Smiles are the same in every language.
As part of ‘World Kindness Week‘, one anonymous young woman created a giant love heart out of heart-shaped sticky notes that covered the mirror in the girl’s bathroom at her school. Each note was labeled with encouraging thoughts, so that by looking in the mirror one was surrounded by love. You can read her story here.
I recently came across a video on Facebook that highlights footage from security cameras in different locations. The edited video shows people treating each other – friends or strangers – with kindness, honour, respect, joy and love. It’s wonderful to see! Also on Facebook, the Ripple Kindness Project shares daily doses of inspiration and random acts of kindness. Reading them is sure to make you smile.
In 2010 the Brave Girls Club (started by Kathy Wilkins & Melody Ross) began their Random Words of Kindness project where they tore paper into strips, added phrases of encouragement, and gave them out to strangers or left them to be found. The video shows how touched people were to receive them. If you’re a Brave Girl (or guy) or need someone to be brave with you, feel free to join them!
If you’re feeling the love but not the technology, you may wish to join in on Hannah Brencher’s The World Needs More Love Letters project. Each letter is handwritten, mailed and sent to someone who needs it. Hannah’s TED talk is here.
Analog? Digital? Personal? Pen and ink? Screen? To me, it’s all the same. There’s a whole world of kindness, love, joy, connection and sharing out there. Where and how you engage it is up to you, but if you hold out your hand, someone will be more than willing to take it, and if you need an ear or a shoulder, someone is willing to be there for you. After all, a stranger is merely a friend you have yet to meet. And if you come across Marcia and me on the street, in a coffee shop or wherever, we’re always willing to share a hug!
These are only a few examples of people creating loving connections with each other. If you know of more, please leave a comment and let us know!
P.S. As outlined in the article, “Forget Twitter: Old-Fashioned Techniques For Making Customers Feel Connected” by Craig Chappelow, making connections is as important in the business world as it is in the personal one. From the article:
“I don’t need to follow my dry cleaner, but I love it when the owner recognizes my car and comes out to say hello. I am incredibly impressed when I see the local branch of my mega-chain haircut salon showing up as a sponsor on the back of what seems to be every Little League shirt in town. There is nothing like hearing my dentist call my house on the night of some treatment earlier in the day just to see how I’m doing. And, I appreciate that a huge company like McDonald’s offers me a human being to talk to instead of a forced self-service option through some keypad prompted recording. These are the experiences that make me feel connected.”