When we see or hear the word “sharing” in 2017 our first thought is social media and sharing in that context. Sharing means posting or publishing something that informs multiple people about a new event – or letting an audience know about something we think is important, relevant, smart, funny, cute or silly. This is NOT the sharing I am talking about. Sharing in social media can be a great addition to our lives and to certain aspects of our relationships, but it is worlds away from personal sharing in the intimate sense I am thinking about. I worry that many fabulousover60s are spending too much time sharing on social media because they think this is the only way “everyone” is communicating; and letting slide the more intensely personal one to one sharing that was and is still a must for maintaining any great relationship.
Because social media can get ugly quickly, many of us are wondering if people are just too thin-skinned to want to hear our thoughts and consider our ideas. We are often too quick to think “I am not telling anyone anything. People get so easily offended, or just don’t care about my opinion. I am going to keep my opinions to myself.” While I agree that learning to stay on one’s own yoga mat is a great thing, and offering advice via social media can backfire, I think we make a mistake if we fail to share our considered viewpoints with those we really love one on one. Fabulous women know how to share privately without being a busybody or a know it all. We personally share to support those we love by adding perspective, not by telling others what to do. Ultimately we know people must make their own choices – and celebrate or recover from the consequences of those choices on their own.
My idea of fabulous sharing is giving serious thought to an issue or to challenge what one of our close friends/family members is going through – and figuring out how and what we can share with them so they can consider more and/or different options or ideas. It is then sending a meaningful, sensitive but direct message to someone we love/care for – or sending it indirectly by recommending a movie, book or article that sends the message in a more interesting, elegant or even funny way. On the reverse side, it is spending time listening/reading another’s message to us, and thinking about why it was sent and what is being suggested that is at least useful and potentially life transforming. Fabulous sharing starts and helps build fabulous relationships.
Poor “shares” sound like this:
- Carol — stop bitching about Carl – divorce him or live with him!
- Linda — your kids are like all young people today – selfish – just stop giving them money.
- Maryanne — who cares what your daughter says – you want to date Bob and it is none of her business – just don’t tell her anything.
Some great “shares” sound more like this:
- Laura — I know you are struggling with your health right now, glad you are seeking medical help – for another perspective you may want to look at an old take on the mind-body connection called You Can Heal Your Life by the late/great Louise Hay. I got some real insights from it.
- Bob — Of course you’re angry and upset with how your family is acting – they do seem to be too critical as you say. Have you seen The Midwife? Great characters sort some family dynamics out – might get you thinking of some new approaches to what you are dealing with.
- Kathy — just called to say I was sorry to hear you were getting some nasty feedback from people at (the club, the office, church, synagogue etc). Think things can be handled with some style and grace with a minimum of anger/upset. Am here if you want to consider some options for handling these people – think there a number of options, not just one.
Dumping careful and thoughtful sharing strikes me as a lazy move for someone aiming to stay fabulous. As we age and struggle with staying fabulous it can seem wise to stop getting “too involved” with others’ drama. But if we do care, and we want to stay close to our small circle of friends and gain the few new ones we need to as times evolve, the best way to do that is with genuine intimacy by risking reaching out to others with support and love and yes, great or different ideas.
If no one wants to hear your thoughts, or feel your concern, or understand what you are trying to communicate to help them, maybe you have lost touch with connecting deeply. Worse, you may have lost your sensitivity – thinking older age makes being blunt OK. You wouldn’t be alone in this increasingly disconnected age. As Cathy and I are often saying: being fabulous is hard work. And the “new sharing” isn’t always helping us as much as depersonalizing our friendships. If you only have a small amount of time for sharing why not reach out to someone you care about and offer a piece of yourself – rather than sharing a recipe to all. Hey, time enough for that when the holidays arrive before it is even Halloween.