May 28, 2014
G’ day All!
As most of you know I love 7 Cups of Tea and am more online than offline! However, lately I haven’t shown my face around much. The reason for this is that I am currently working and traveling in Australia! Being a new Ambassador, I still wanted to be part of 7 Cups while away and I thought it might be fun if I’d write a blog about my adventures here: “ 7 Cups Travels the World: Ambassadors Trip to Another Country and How Her Listening Skills Were Culturally Universal”.
I knew I could certainly write about this topic. I mean, being on the other side of the world doesn’t mean I won’t take chats anymore! And all the cool people I would meet here, I would get the opportunity to listen to their interesting stories. There is absolutely no reason why I couldn’t use my listening skills on this trip!
My first impression of Australia was how nice and friendly everyone is. It feels like the entire country has completed the active listening training on 7 Cups! When I arrived, my bank card wasn’t working and the people here were very helpful. They listened to my story and empathized with the little mental breakdown that was about to happen. Although they couldn’t actually help me with my card, I felt like they cared about me!
But how did I use my listening skills so far?
Since I have been on my trip I haven’t had time to take many chats on 7 Cups. I am busy working most of the day and a computer is not always available. WIFI is on and off and quite frankly, at the end of the day I am just tired! Of what? Well, of listening!
As an au pair, you would guess that kids would need to listen to me, but I feel like it is me who is doing all the listening! So instead of them doing what I have politely asked them to do, I listen. I listen to the lovely little Aussie accent of a 4 year old girl as she explains how she doesn’t want to finish her breaky because there needs to be some left overs to give to the chickens. And if the chickens don’t get the leftovers, they don’t have enough food. If they do not have enough food, they aren’t going to be able to lay eggs! By not eating, she is providing us with more eggs and if she is still hungry she can always have a bickie later! Nice story hmm?
So of course, I tell her that I would really like her to finish her breakfast, because she needs all the energy for school, which is followed by “ YOU DON’T LISTEN TO ME!” Oh no! I think my listening skills are fading already!
A big thanks to 7 Cups for not allowing cheeky 4 year olds to be members! Despite this, I love listening to the stories of a little girl, her confidence amazes me!
This is most of the listening I do these days. Along with listening to grown-ups occasionally as well. We discuss all the beautiful things I should see while in Australia. I hope to meet a lot of people while I’m here and listen to their interesting stories. And hopefully I will have a couple of stories of my own that you might all want to listen to… you do know how much I like to talk! :)
By 7 Cups Ambassador,
May 20, 2014
I know, I know... Who wants to read a post about “Internet safety”? I’m sure a lot of you will look at this, and quickly close out of it because you think this is something that you’ve heard all of your life. You know the rules. You know that there are people on the internet that can cause harm to you personally. And a lot of you might think that you are taking all the appropriate steps needed to be safe, when in truth, you might not know everything you think you might about this topic.
Internet safety is MUCH more than meets the eye.
First, I’d like to take this chance to talk about cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is bullying which occurs through electronic communication. It is most commonly done by sending intimidating, threatening messages. Cyberbullying is a very serious topic. We might not realize when we are being bullied on the internet, so it is important to know characteristics of cyberbullying, and when would be the appropriate time to report someone for this.
A few statistics from the Pew Research Internet Project:
- 15% of teens who use social media say they have been the target of cruel behavior on these internet sites.
- 88% of teens who use social media say they have witnessed others being mean and cruel to another person on these social media sites.
CHARACTERISTICS OF CYBERBULLYING:
- Making threats toward the victim
- Spreading rumors about the victim
- Publishing humiliating information about the victim
- Being hateful toward the victim
- Harassing the victim
- Making harsh, or hateful comments to the victim
You can find more information about the characteristics of a cyberbully on bullyingstatistics.org.
If you are feeling like you are a victim of cyberbullying, you are not alone. It is important to report such behavior to a trusted adult.
Next, I would like to talk to all about internet personas. There are ALL types of people on the internet. There are people that we can relate to, and are in need of a friend like many of us. We often find comfort in meeting these people and growing closer to them each day. There are also other types of people.
It’s always important to remember that on the internet, it is easy for anyone to change themselves to be someone that they are not.
This is usually not a good thing. The situation could be that the person is uncomfortable with who they are, and want people to think they are someone who they wish they could be. And sometimes the situation is more threatening and dangerous, when people want to gain our trust to learn personal things about us, but for negative reasons only. These people are usually cyberbullies (as I discussed earlier), stalkers, or pedophiles.
This brings me to my next point. It is important not to share any personal information with someone you meet on the internet. You don’t know who, or what their true intentions are. First impressions are not everything on the web.
Even when you think you have all the proof you need to know that someone is who they say they are, you still should always be cautious of whom you trust.
ALWAYS remember that once you post something in a public chat room/forum, or on other social-media, it can never be taken back. Even if there is an option for something to be deleted, there is also the option for someone else to screenshot or copy what you post.
Here, you will find a “Cheat Sheet” that you can refer to for being safe online.
Additional resources to check out:
Being internet-safe is crucial. If you have ANY questions about internet-safety, please reach out to a trusted adult.
By 7 Cups Listener,
Photo Contribution by 7 Cups Listener, Pieta
May 9, 2014
What is listening", you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked! To listen to someone means that you're observing and taking in what another person is saying, and reacting appropriately to it. Did you know that there are many positive effects that can come out of listening, and that many successful people wouldn't be where they were today, if they had not been a good listener? As you listen, you gradually become a better listener, and as you become a better listener, you become more patient!
In this blog post, I will explain the positive effects of listening and how you can use listening to help yourself and those around you.
Like I said before, listening is to observe and take in what another person is saying, and then reacting appropriately to it. Lets say for example, you had a friend who was obviously upset, but you weren't sure why. What do you think could help solve that? LISTENING to what she has to say about why she is upset would help you solve that problem, and also help her! How many of you would stop and ask a person why they're upset? Or would you just keep on walking, being too busy with your own life to be worried about listening to another person. Well, if you are one who WOULD stop that person and ask why they're upset, would you just walk away right after you ask? No, you would hopefully stay and LISTEN to that person! To me, being able to be a good listener is an important quality and is something that is often overlooked in today's busy, busy world.
For me personally, I have found that my greatest joys in life come from being able to listen to others.
Don't get me wrong, it's understandable that everyone is different, and that everyone has their own likes and dislikes, but I think that being able to listen to even ONE person a day could help make this world a better place! Listening to other people shows people that their concerns are cared about... it shows them that they aren't alone. I know personally how it feels to feel alone while in a crowd of people, or to feel like no one cares, like the world is crumbling on top of your shoulders. I also know how extremely great it feels to have someone step in and bring some light to your darkness. I know how great it feels to have a friend who cares. I know how great it is to have someone REALLY listen to what you have to say. All of that, I believe, is what led me to enjoy being there for other people.
I mentioned before how pleasant it is to have someone listen to you, but do YOU know personally the difference it can make in your life? From my personal experience, I remember going to therapy, so I've always had that person that I KNEW would listen to me, despite how alone I felt at times. I think that having someone in your life who you know cares about you could make a world of a difference as far as your emotions and well being goes. When someone takes time out of their day to listen to me, it makes me feel important. And even for a minute, it makes me feel accepted. I am thankful that I come from a mother who also knows how important it is to be a good listener and friend. She shows me every day just how big of a difference it can make, just by the way she takes the time to talk to me and is patient with me through my down times. Do you have someone in your life who takes time to listen to you? If so, I'm sure you can relate to this.
I feel like some of you are probably reading this and may be feeling a little lost. A little "out of the loop" of things. I say that because I understand that not everyone has people in their life who will listen to them, and chances are that there will be people who read this that can relate. I'd like to take the time right now to let you know that there is hope.
That no matter how alone you feel, there are people who care.
Being there for people is something that I heavily care about. That is why I became a trained active listeners on 7 Cups of Tea! Ever heard of that? At 7 Cups of Tea, there are people online 24/7 and are just waiting to hear from and be there for you! 7 Cups of Tea is more than just a website, it's a community.
By Teen Listener, Whitney
Photo contribution by listener: Pieta
May 1, 2014
A funny thing happened to me strolling into a chat one day, a guest was questioning their sexual orientation. They had lived their entire lives heterosexual, never thinking of the same sex as an option, and suddenly met the person of their dreams… someone of the same sex. It was confusing for them and they had no idea what to do with the emotions, confusion, and stigma attached to being gay where they were from.
I get excited about chats like this. I am part of the LGBTQ+ community and most of my real world friends are as well. I know enough about that stigma and the issues that go along with all these lettered labels. By the end of the chat, the guest turned member and they had decided to throw caution to the wind and enjoy life and try not to put a label on it.
All I really did was listen. I was compassionate, understanding and validated their feelings. The conclusions they came to were completely their own, I only helped guide them. They are a happy couple now and knowing I helped them get there makes me feel like I saved the world, if only by helping one person at a time.
LGBTQ+ issues aren’t really all that different from other issues you encounter. All of the material you see on the site helping you learn about different issues, how to handle them in chats and being a better active listener can be applied to almost all LGBTQ+ chats. The difference is that their issues stem from their sexual (or non sexual as in the case of Asexual folks) orientation.
These are HUMAN issues.
You don’t have to even be an advocate to be able to effectively be an active listener in this area. You don’t even have to believe in it. You just need to afford them the same compassion you would any other member coming to you for help.
There will, however, be some issues that are unique to the LGBTQ+ community. I will outline a few of these and give you general information on each one.
1) Coming out is the process in which a person first acknowledges, accepts and appreciates his or her sexual orientation or gender identity and begins to share that with others. Coming out is a continuous process and can often be risky or difficult. (information obtained from www.hrc.org)
2) Transgender issues. This issue can be very complex and has a lot of facets, terms, identities and life altering challenges.
3) Local and World Equality issues. This includes, but is not limited to: Marriage, parenting, healthcare, careers, state/government services, laws, and even jail time or death in some countries.
4) Religion and spirituality conflicts.
5) Stereotypes that affect both self perceptions and the rest of the world.
So now you know that most issues will be the same if you really look at the situation taking the LGBTQ+ out of the equation. You also see there are some issues that are unique to the community.
The items I listed are only a small portion of issues faced everyday by millions of people worldwide.
These issues can be addressed by educating yourself, never being afraid to ask questions (even in a chat), being open-minded, being non-judgemental, and most importantly, being a good active listener.
Helpful online resources:
Please continue this discussion with us in the 7 Cups of Tea forum -in the thread entitled “LGBT Support & Resources.”
By, Chandra Worthey
7 Cups Listener: ChandraS