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March 26, 2021 at 4:41:26 PM

Avoiding eye contact in public. I have been thinking about my culture bumps with coronavirus. Could I use the 8 steps to help my own stress level? I thought I would give it a try. In these days of dealing with the coronavirus, there are thousands of things, from staying home, to wearing masks to zoom meetings that are catching my attention . I found that using the culture bump steps gave me a fresh, new, more empowering way of the experience of wearing masks. In addition, walking through the 8 steps, I discovered a deeper meaning embedded in the same bump. Step 1: Pinpoint the culture bump. Since this step is concerned with paying attention to the things that catch my attention, I focus on interacting with people while wearing a mask. Looking at other people while I am wearing a mask while shopping is a culture bump for me. Step 2: Describe what the other person(s) did. People looked at their shopping carts or groceries when I looked at them in the grocery store. Step 3: Describe what you did. I looked over my own mask at them and tried to look in their eyes. Step 4: List the emotions you felt when the bump happened. I felt surprised, alone and separated, fearful, sad, invisible Step 5: Find the universal situation in the culture bump Responding to strangers in a public place Step 6: Describe what you would do or expect others to do in that same situation. When I think about trying to respond to strangers in a public place, I try to make eye contact and smile…maybe say hello. Step 7: List the qualities you feel that action demonstrates When I make eye contact and smile, maybe say hello, I think I am being friendly. Step 8: Ask or think about how those qualities are demonstrated by other people. As I think about this, I realize that being friendly for me is one of the ways that I believe that I can be a positive influence in this world. Just as Lady Bird Johnson said, “Leave the world a little better than you found it.” I feel less positive about myself and more concerned about others when I cannot connect. This brings me to think about alternative ways that I can connect with “strangers” in public… Finding other ways to connect with one another in public besides the traditional smiling and eye contact comes from understanding the underlying reason for our culture bumps.

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