Posted in Attitude, Life, Thoughts

The Power of a “Like”

What is it we are all seeking by being on social media?

Validation? Friendship? Making money? Adoration? Popularity?

What?

Do we all really know what happens when “Like” is clicked?

It’s a lot deeper than we think. When people “Like” our posts, it gives us affirmation, and a feeling of validation, and it also has a lot to do with the feeling of popularity. Some people need that. It’s like a thirst, a craving, a need. And I believe that’s dangerous. As adults, most of us know how to deal with controlling this, and putting this feeling in its place, and carrying on with what’s really important in our daily lives.

But for some, it’s not that easy. It becomes a competition, a race. It also becomes about who liked what, and how much. Some people cannot control what happens to them when they see someone else with dozens of “Likes” and that’s when it gets complicated, and often time, confrontational. That’s when private messaging begins with accusations and harassment. They don’t want to see another person getting ahead, or gaining attention, because they think, for some reason, it will detract from them. Sadly, the anonymity of the computer equips some people with the gaul to intimidate, harass, and threaten other people.

Sad and alarming.

Here’s something else which is quite disturbing. “Likes” are important to the social media platform people use. Did you know that computer algorithms are compiled from “Likes” and Personality Tests?

From a recent study: “With just 10 likes, the algorithm would know you better than a work colleague. With 150 likes, it would know you better than members of your immediate family, and with just 300 likes, it would know you better than your spouse.” (Branwell Moffat)

The reasons listed above are two fairly serious reasons why we need to re-evaluate the power of the “Like” feature, and I personally, am pleased that Instagram is dealing with this.

For our relationships, our sanity, and for our mental health as adults. And more importantly for the young people who are on these platforms attempting to garner popularity, and who are not equipped with the tools to properly deal with rejection, with bullying, and lack of popularity.

I’m more concerned with young adults and teens. I’m concerned about what they’re seeing online. I’m concerned about who is messaging them, and what they’re being told. I’m concerned about how young adults compare themselves to those who have huge followings, and hundreds of “Likes” and how they’re dealing with all of this privately. For some reason, social media with young adults, and teens has become incredibly influencial, but sadly not always for the right reasons. If you perform a quick online search about teen suicides, you’ll be shocked to find many are the result of pressure from online exchanges.

I can’t wait to see how the emotional climate will shift when Instagram shakes things up a bit for everyone.

 

 

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Posted in Attitude, Life, Thoughts

The Grass Seems Greener on the Other Side

My daughter posted this last week, and it stopped me in my tracks.

Facebook for some, is a place where they choose to express themselves. For others, it’s a place to find support and solace. Many people use this platform to post highlights of their life, which others may interpret, and often do, as bragging, or even unreal. Everyone has their own reason for sharing what they do.

I use Facebook to highlight my life, mostly my ups, a few funnies, a bit about Andrew, and rarely my downs. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have challenges, and that I didn’t struggle, and worked super hard to get to where I am. Many of my choices were bang on the money, and others not so much.

It’s all about what everyone wants to post, and we, as followers and/or friends, need to respect that, and not make assumptions that someone’s life is a bowl of cherries, just because they choose to share all their gatherings, vacations, and me times, and all that. Alternatively, don’t come down hard on people for voicing their politics, or sports teams, and all that. They are emphatic about their claims, and that’s alright! It’s just folks doing their thing, posting what matters to them, and that’s it!

But mostly, when someone experiences success with a personal goal, we must all remember the message in this photo, and that, that person probably went through thick and thin to get to where they are.

Posted in Atttitude, Autism, Life, Special Needs

A Rough Day

In the wake of needing to fulfil a basic human need, my son was subjected to public degradation, not once, not twice, but three times in a span of 20-minutes.

My son is a young man, afflicted with autism. His cognition is that of a toddler. His skills are improving, his speech is improving, he is not reciprocal with his language, but he understands. He understands everything. He is sensitive to people’s feelings and to their expressions.

Last week, he was made to feel like a piece of trash.

“Get out, you don’t belong here, you’re a man.” This is what the public restroom attendant told us both, as I was waiting with my son for a Handicapped stall in the female restroom.

I described my son’s condition to the attendant in front of others and that he requires assistance with toileting, I explained that we tried to wait for the one and only Family Restroom for a reasonable amount of time, but when my son expressed behaviours of urgency I had no choice but to enter the female restroom. She was unyielding. She maintained that he “could have waited for the Family Restroom and that he had to leave.”

When I was assisting my son with hand-washing, the attendant was still there reprimanding me and telling us that he doesn’t belong in the female washroom because he is a man. When we left the female washroom, the attendant followed us out and continued her reprimands. At that point, I could feel my anxiety rising and I chose to leave because I didn’t want my son to become even more upset. Curiously enough, the Family Restroom was still occupied. Twenty or so minutes had elapsed from the time we tried to use that restroom. Did the restroom attendant seriously expect my son to wait that long? Is that reasonable? Is it up to her who uses the restrooms? Is that in her job description?

What if my son was neuro-typical and in the process of a gender change not yet entirely complete, and his physical appearance was still that of a male, but he identified himself as a female? What then?

How can this person act this way?

I have since contacted my local Human Rights Tribunal and I have opened a file against the property managing company that owns this mall. I contacted the property managing company and expressed our experience and I was promised that by the end of September 2019, more Family Restrooms and a Universal Restroom would be in place, to accommodate all people. I was also informed that sensitivity training had already commenced for this particular restroom attendant and all others contracted out by that third party.

Update:

The local mall is almost finished completing the installation of three “Universal Washrooms” and one more “Family Restroom” (in addition to the original Family Restroom).

Success! Andrew’s challenging experience paved the way for better experiences for many people.

 

Posted in Attitude, Autism, Decluttering, Disney, Jackie's Adventures, Life

FREE At Last!

The biggest mistake I ever made was the ‘art of collecting’ and storing things in boxes when I first got married. I actually thought I was demonstrating organization. Everything was important, everything mattered and everything was tied to a special memory – even the tiniest piece of paper filled with doodles opened a flood of memories while learning about Louis Leakey in university.

I was the person, who as a kid, felt sorry for any kind of candy wrapper, or scrap of paper and who would stuff the wrapper in a box, between pages in a book, or a coat pocket. I felt sorry for a piece of paper and what would become of it, so imagine my anxiety when recycling programs came about and the great relief of the emergence of fancy storage boxes.

I saved everything. Even receipts from our meals at Disney. I’m not kidding. It was, after all, a great example of explaining how to keep track of Disney Dining Plan Meal Credits, which, at the time was really important.

But, at some point, after the move to our second home, after our kids began to get older, there was a shift, and all those boxes of ‘things’ began to cause me great grief. I would think of the closets, and the piles of books and papers and bags of memorabilia which I just HAD TO HAVE at the time, but would now send me into a panic. My closets were filled, organized, but filled and sadly, excessive.

But, there was a problem, I was physically exhausted from being up most of the night with my son and his nighttime behaviours for fifteen years. Fifteen years of walking around like a zombie during the day, trying to catch a wink here and there, fifteen years of struggling with my weight and mobility and yo yo diets which left me anemic and unhealthy. The struggle was real and the motivation at an all time low. I just had no energy, so all I did, was to focus on what I loved to do, something that fed my soul and boosted my moral. For me, that was anything related to Disney. And then came the internet and chat rooms and social media and cyber-friends and the distraction was massive and it took me away from my task at hand and made and continues to make me very happy.

Over the next few years, we would attempt to clear ‘the piles’, but stuff still had a way of creeping into the house- well I was the one who brought it all in, I’ll take the onus.

I would bag stuff, I would donate it, I would run things over to schools and shelters, but that wasn’t enough and those donations did not even make a dent in the clutter that lurked around my home and that kept coming in. This was all I began to talk about with family and friends, even more so than my chatter about Disney and this is when I knew this was a huge problem that had to be dealt with.

Something else had to happen. I wasn’t getting very far stuffing bag upon bag for donation. My biggest problem, was that there were items that couldn’t be stuffed into a bag, such as thick binders and books and papers and frames and you name it. So, I decided to rent a residential bin and to set a time limit. This, for me, was the only way to get anything done because I paid for the bin and didn’t want to send it back empty.

So there it sat for ten days and with each purge, I felt a release. With each toss, I felt a sense of freedom and more importantly control. As the house began to open up, I felt a growing momentum to let go of all those things which were burdens and as I did, I felt more free and strong. When they came to pick up the bin, I actually felt a pang of panic because of not having the luxury of being able to toss something out so easily.

This had a huge impact on me and I vow, that, because of the immeasurable anxiety the clutter and junk had on me, I vow, to never bring in another item on a whim. I vow to let go of something when I do bring in another item, no matter what. Otherwise, I’ll be in this same position before I know it, and I cannot and will not live like that!

I don’t need knick knacks, I don’t need new pots, or pans, or coffee makers, or irons, or things to stuff in bowls, or containers filled with sand or shells, or even testimonial mugs – I have many, many mugs. Years ago, I paid good money for a few cooking pots and small appliances and they’ll do their magic until their end. I won’t visit those home stores which will tempt me to buy this or that, I don’t need anything. What I have serves its purpose and I’ll never be able to make my house look like the pages of a magazine, or what have you. I’d rather save my money for what truly makes me happy, and that’s travel, experiences and making memories.

Now, I love my empty corners, tabletops and shelves because they give me a sense of peace and make me feel in control. Best of all, dusting is a breeze.

That’s what works for me.

The 20 yard residential bin rental was from “Bin There Dump That” which I thought was at a very reasonable cost, and I highly recommend this company. For me there was no other way.

I hope you remove the clutter from your life, because it’s very liberating and empowering.  And now, I can proudly state that my household ‘To Do List’ for 2018 is finished. For the FIRST time in forever, I don’t have that nagging feeling that I have to do this or that, and I can now focus on my daily and weekly tasks at hand.

I can’t express how great that feels.

Posted in Autism, Disney, Disney Parks, Disney Parks Moms Panel, Disney Social Media, Life, Special Needs, Travel, Uncategorized, Walt Disney World, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village, Walt Disney World Resort

No vacation to Walt Disney World Resort is long enough, be it 5-days or 5-weeks, in my opinion, so when we decided to return for our adventures with close family, we booked Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village for 2-weeks. The plan was to alternate Theme Park with Resort hotel days – the best of both worlds, and it worked like a charm. The benefits of staying on property are plenty, with the biggest convenience of being able to head back to your Resort hotel to relax and enjoy the unique theming, which for us was to watch an active savanna from our authentically themed main lobby or Guest Room balcony.  We truly were just as excited about hanging around Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village, as we were to tour the Theme Parks and Disney Springs. The view of the savanna from our balcony was incredible. Disney Resort hotels can easily be vacation destinations all on their own.

Kidani Balcony

The best part? Andrew and his look of realization seeing the animals in their natural habitat right from our accommodations. Now that was something to see and hear about, with bursts of verbal animal identification that we didn’t know he knew.

Andrew Kidani

And, this look of wonderment at The Most Magical Place on Earth, where many think it’s all about amusement parks. Well, that may be, but Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks are on another level – a level of uniqueness and immersion that magically transports you to a place where all your troubles are left behind – thanks to the creativity of talented, enthusiastic and dedicated Disney Imagineers.

For us? It’s about the entire vacation experience and all the surprises we see from Andrew. It’s about the bursts of language, the connections he makes to his beloved Disney animated movies when the Disney Characters come alive, or, when he walks into a storybook setting that he becomes a part of. This makes leaving our Disney vacation extremely difficult for fear of what we will miss upon our return home.

Andrew and Buzz

Such as this photo above with his buddy Buzz Lightyear, during our visit to Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort. The direct eye contact took mere seconds and Buzz had Andrew’s attention for a solid 20-minutes of fun and frolic. We can’t wait to take him to experience Radiator Springs Racers back at Disney California Adventure Park this summer, which I’m certain he’ll make the connection to his beloved Test Track attraction!

That’s the magic of Disney.

Posted in Attitude, Life

Your Friends on Social Media Platforms

They clicked ‘like’ on my status, fabulous! And, the brain thought process begins branching out like river tributaries. They love me! I’m getting noticed! That means I’m in! This is my time! I’m accepted!

Are you?

The same applies if they scrolled past your post. The brain thought process begins branching out and spiralling here and there. Oh my gosh, I didn’t get a ‘like’, what does that mean? Oh, gosh, they don’t like me anymore, they’re not following me, I’m doomed! Why did ‘X’ get so many likes? No one cares!

Not really.

It’s about someone scrolling through their newsfeed and simply not bothering because they’re scrolling. They’re not interested in ‘liking’ or ‘commenting’ right at that point, because they’re just scanning, much like reading the front page of a newspaper and then saving what you want to delve into for another time. Or, more likely, it’s because of the time of day you put up your post as traffic is higher during specific times of the day. Research that, you’ll find interesting statistics on social media ‘on-screen’ traffic patterns.

In my opinion, ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ are a form of acknowledgement with your post and the empassioned people will give you the ‘wow’ or a ‘heart’ or a ‘mad’ while for others, not so much. And, that’s okay sometimes, but not all of the time, which leads me to the part about a two-way street, being friends and reaching out once in a while, with a click of something in reaction when you want to, but are too lazy to move the mouse over and click. What is so difficult about a simple click-response to a post if you have an inclination?

And, then of course, the reason of why we have to be friends with friends of friends? What purpose does that serve other than a little social pyramid? Who does this benefit? If your intent is to be a social media friend, then it wouldn’t hurt once in a while to drag that cursor over if you have even the smallest inclination and click for the sake of reciprocity and displaying gracious behavior.

Otherwise, why are you friends? To troll? To ‘restrict’? To ‘add to another list’? Why be friends then? Because, after a while, that’s when you see those posts pop up stating ‘if you read this post please share, it means you’re paying attention’ and people stating they’re ‘cleaning house’. They’re feeling dejected because they’re taking the time to put up a status the way we all do, and want some validation in form of a click.

Admit it, you’ve felt that way at one point or another. It’s a normal reaction.

Everyone wants some form of reciprocity and validation and I believe that’s why social media is so popular. So if you become friends and then ‘unfollow’ someone, then why are you friends in the first place? This is supposed to be social, right? Exclusionary behaviour is anti-social. Think of how in real-life you move on from people that just don’t stir your pot and gravitate to those that make your day. Same idea applies to your cyber-buddies. You put yourself out there afterall, what is your reason? To be noticed, to push your brand, to be friends? All of the above?

Unless, you’re trolling which is your curiosity coming forth, or you’re simply shy.

And about those folks who are posting fabulous vacation photos, newly aquired things photos, cozy family gathered around the Christmas table photos… yes, that’s just it, those are moments of pride, jubilation and accomplishment. Even the people who post photos of their pedi’s and their lunch…they’re proud and want to share.

Some think those are people who boast, and that might be the case, but I think they boast because for them at this point in time, life is going well and they want to celebrate that. A new house, lots of travel, weight loss, a new baby, a promotion, a celebration, and the list goes on and on. Instead of us feeling like they’re bragging, or lying, what’s wrong with lifting them in celebration and being happy for them? Heck, when it’s your time to celebrate on social media, you’ll want your friends to be happy for you, right?

Right!

Furthermore, happy posts, uplifting posts happen, for the most part, because people may be trying a more positive approach to rise above daily real-life challenges and not air dirty laundry. I believe they are attempting to redirect their feelings and attitude towards a more positive direction. That would be me. People who post that they’re looking forward to something in the near future are being hopeful. They’re happy. So they’re not bragging, they’re excited and we should all be happy for them, because one day that status will be us and we’ll want the same courtesy. Why is it automatically phoney if someone posts they’re going away on vacation, or have acquired something new, or posing with family in a holiday photo? Why is that any different that those folks who write about their past year highlights in those holiday letters attached to a photo? People just want a bit of validation. That’s all.

The same applies, however, to those folks who are venting, or expressing their sadness, because in their world at this point in time they are in pain and experiencing some form of suffering. They need our support, and encouragement more than ever…and one click, could mean the world of difference to them, that took a mere second out of your scroll.

So the next time you scroll past a status and you instinctively want to click, but can’t be bothered, just do it, click and be a good social media friend.

Remember how we all we were taught to play in Kindergarten?

Posted in Life, Uncategorized

It’s Easier to Smile

Smile.

Go ahead and smile. I know it’s forced and a conscious action right now, and may seem fake, but smile.
Keep smiling, you can do it. Smile.
There you go.

Still can’t smile? Think of something that you like, a food, an item, a place, anything. No judgements here, these are your personal thoughts. Now smile.

Even the conscious act of smiling, albeit appearing fake, has benefits for your well-being. The action evokes neurotransmitters-serotonin and dopamine to start their magic naturally without the use of anti-depressants.

Now here’s the thing, the more you consciously smile, the easier it will become and before you know it, smiling will become natural for you. Best of all, you’ll be smiling practically the whole day through. Just imagine.

Did you know that smiling helps build your immunity? Did you know that smiling evokes positive feelings leading towards a more positive outlook towards life in general? Smiling does that and we all have the capability to smile. We were designed that way.

So smile, go ahead. There you go.
Great smile by the way, you should do that more often!

Smiling will attract positive things and positive people to you. It’s a natural magnet because it breaks barriers and is a universal language. A simple smile is all it takes.

All it takes is a simple, conscious smile to help brighten your day.
That’s a good thing.

Smile 🙂

Image courtesy of FanPop.com