Facebook pulls all the heart strings

One of the benefits of not using Facebook much is that I see how Facebook entices occasional users back into the fold.

I don’t use Facebook all that much lately. When I do open the app, it’s generally to check which birthdays are coming up in the hope that I don’t miss them.

One of the benefits of not using Facebook much is that I see how Facebook entices occasional users back into the fold. Here’s an example that I noticed yesterday:

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Whatever you may think about Facebook, it clearly hires really smart people who know heart strings to tug to persuade users to return to more active use.

Despite what I know about Facebook, and my thoughts about using the service, I can’t help but notice how compelling this sort of messaging can be. This is something Facebook does really well.

Getting to know yourself Inside Out

I just watched Inside Out with our daughter. It's a wonderful family movie that speaks to our emotions and how they change as we grow up and face new challenges. If you haven't seen it yet, make some time to do it.

I just watched Inside Out with our daughter. It’s a fun movie and I hadn’t seen it before today. If you haven’t seen it, it is very much one of those layered animated movies that kids can enjoy and that also contain a remarkable depth.

The idea of the movie is to represent a young girl’s emotions as she and her family relocate from the American Mid-West to San Francisco as five characters with their distinct personalities.

I knew what the movie was about before we watched it. What I really enjoyed about it was how the movie represented how our emotions interact and challenged common assumptions about which emotions have value and which don’t.

I’m not sure how much of the message our daughter took away from the movie but this is the sort of movie that you can watch again and again. I suspect that each time you watch it, you will take away a little more and, in the process, come to understand yourself a little better, inside out.

Writer’s remorse and things you can’t take back

Writer's remorse or, as it is otherwise known: that feeling that "I probably shouldn't have told you that", followed by the overpowering desire to hide for a very long time.

Writer’s remorse is a horrible, sickening feeling. It’s usually accompanied by the thought (or words), “I probably shouldn’t have told you that!”.

There are days, weeks even, when stuff happens and my first impulse is to start writing about it and sharing it with BIG BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS because, as we all know, that Makes It All Alright. Actually, it rarely does, but it seems like the Right Thing To Do at the time.

I’ve written about why writing is so important to me (quite a lot) and when I have one of Those Days, writing is one of the few outlets that work for me. I’m not the only person who resorts to words in challenging times. Take this advice by Chuck Palahniuk, for example:

The challenge in times such as these is how to express yourself constructively. By “constructively”, I mean not in a way that wrecks your career, relationships or results in the sort of outcome you know you will regret later.

Flying off the proverbial handle and publishing your most visceral thoughts on the public Web may seem like the right response to a difficult situation, at the time. Unfortunately, it is also often conducive to that profound regret and shame you may feel the morning after a questionable encounter in a dimly lit bar.

In times like these it is usually wise to follow suggestions that you not click the “Publish” button right away. Even if publishing immediately seems utterly necessary and delaying means not having the desired impact.

Just don’t publish yet. Give the fog time to dissipate, give yourself time to process it all. Then edit and publish (if it is still relevant).

There are times when that expression of rage or profound disappointment needs to be expressed. Other times, it’s ok to relegate your verbal fury to your growing folder of post drafts to gather digital dust.

Some days, just the process of taking those thoughts and feelings and expressing them are enough. Publication isn’t always the answer, as easy as it is to do it.

Today is one of Those Days for me and the one piece of advice that bubbles up from the recesses of my foggy mind is this: Don’t be bitter, be better.

I’m going to publish this one, though.

Image credit: Pixabay

“I just don’t want to make your day worse, Dad”

My daughter sobbed that she didn't want to make my day worse by not listening to me when I told her and her brother to get ready for bed. She reminded me about what is really important.

“I just don’t want to make your day worse.” My daughter’s tearful words to me before bed hit me like a proverbial shovel (or whatever proverbially hits people). I paused and explained to my little girl that her Dad had a tough day at work.

“You and your brother make my day better,” I said to her, “not worse. Definitely not worse. It’s not your fault that I was grouchy. That is my fault. I let my day upset me and I’m sorry I was grouchy with you tonight.”

I told her I love her very much and turned off the light. She turned over, went quiet and soon fell asleep. I sat with her like I usually do, this time in the growing realisation that letting myself become so caught up in my day stress-stuff meant I was putting strain on my family, my refuge from it all.

Trying to be a better Dad

When I find myself anxious or upset during my day about some or other stressor, I keep thinking that I should be able to handle it all better. After all, I’m 40 years old and I’ve been through more stressful things than this. When do I start behaving like the grown-up I am supposed to be and process my stress in a constructive manner?

It isn’t Father’s Day in Israel today but considering I’m formerly a South African and it was Father’s Day there (and elsewhere) today, I’ll go with it for now. Father’s Day is a celebration of fatherhood (yes, and an over-commercialised event, blah blah). It is another reminder to me of how fortunate I am to be a Dad to our amazing children.

In recent days, I think I have lost sight of that a bit and I let myself be snared by my stresses. This adult thing isn’t easy. It seems there isn’t really a manual for that one either.

I suppose all we can do is try be aware of our behaviour; get better at letting go of the crap we can’t change and change the crap we can. Most importantly, don’t lose sight of the people who make it all worthwhile: our family and friends.

If all else fails, I hear crying in a manly way into your beer or brewing a perfect flat white helps. I’m partial to Mumford & Sons’ Wilder Mind, but that could just be me.

Image credit: Pexels

Taking time for the meta stuff

I really like Caterina Fake‘s one tweet today:

It is so easy to get caught up in work, work and work and to forget to take some time for a mental breather, the meta stuff and to let your mind snap back to some semblance of flexibility where it can be creative and regenerate.

I used to take a day off every month or two and do stuff that didn’t involve work. I haven’t done it for a while and its only when I do it that I appreciate the value of that not-work time. My mind needs the space to be a little meta now and then. It gives me much needed perspective after weeks of being in the metaphorical trenches. How would you know if you are even digging in the right direction if you don’t take the time to get a little altitude and survey your landscape?