Sometimes you give till it hurts. Even though I truly believe that most people don’t want to wound you, they sometimes do. This can only happen in relationships if you care deeply. I’m not sure about you but I love people and I try to invest in them. I surround myself with individuals who are similar to me in some ways and those who are totally opposite and everyone in between. I’m an observer of humanity — always. I was recently caught up in an explanation about my love of the AMC show “The Walking Dead” at a local restaurant. I was so passionate that I caught the attention of others at neighboring tables. It may not be a show you watch, but for me, it is an amazing look at the intersection of lives in a time of utmost devastation, grief and fear. My friend asked how I could watch a show like that. I replied that zombies are merely a backdrop for people who are navigating human relationships at the height of extreme adversity. Each individual’s humanity is tested. How far would you be willing to go when pushed to the edge? Obviously, a show about a band of ordinary people surviving the zombie apocalypse is an extreme situation to measure acts of humanity, but I say that there are instances where people rise to the occasion and other situations where people are capable of anything. Something a little more realistic that has an ability to panic the masses would be the Ebola outbreak. I want to be clear that I’m not a doomsday prepper nor do I believe that this situation will get out of hand, but I’m carefully watching humanity deal with its fear and concern for health and safety. These erratic feelings are definitely manifesting themselves in society. Are you seeing it too? Even though our everyday relationships are not typically life and death, we are always miscommunicating, having expectations that are not met and getting disappointed with a lack of follow through. Hey, sometimes all of that happens before lunch with our significant others, children, friends or co-workers. If you are privileged enough to get the best moments inside your relationship, then you have to endure the trying situations as well, right? If you’re a parent, you know what I’m talking about. The only reason I even watched “The Walking Dead” in the first place was to spend time with my teenage son. He suggested we watch it together and since he’s a teenager and has less and less time for me, I agreed. What’s a little gore when you’re trying to strengthen your mother/son relationship? Well, several seasons later, I’m watching the show alone without my 17-year old. He did me a favor because I love it. Now, our current relationship has not been as dramatic as a scene from the zombie apocalypse, but it has been a very animated year in the Dowling household. Hopefully, I survive my personal test in humanity. There are definitely days when I’m just not sure. I can be sure about some things. The holidays are upon us. It’s a great time to witness the best of humanity. There are so many opportunities to love people, give back and show how thankful you are for all you have. I would love to see us be more thoughtful of our actions throughout the entire year. There are a few things I try to do every day: 1. Say thank you and smile at everyone 2. Ask if I can help, and mean it 3. Listen to others without interrupting or offering my personal perspective 4. Mentor those who seek my experience 5. Love people even though it sometimes hurts We are all a work in progress and I hope you spend time this season in tune with your humanity. Have an amazing holiday season. I’m thankful that I get the opportunity to share my thoughts with you month after month.
Tiffany Dowling is the Founder and President of M3 Group, a full-service branding agency located in downtown Lansing, Mich. She is also owner and publisher of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. Dowling has helped businesses and organizations with branding needs for more than a decade. Learn more at www.m3group.biz.