Pictureby dhodesigns http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhodesigns/
Is fear avoidable? 

No, being human for now means to experience fear. 

Not all fears are imaginary or ego based. 

Fear is not just false evidence appearing real.  Fear is information and like any information it gives me a choice.  

At this time, some humans are living under real threat to their physical existence in various parts around the globe. They are in trauma, stressed and fearful. There is violence and inhumanity.  That is not imaginary. 


While true threats to our physical well-being exist, we are wired to survive as humans.  Instincts to live kick in.  These instincts arise in the face of other fears too.  

Other fears may not threaten my physical existence in the moment and in the literal physical sense and yet they give rise to anxiety and stress.  

In Maslow's hierarchy of needs, when physiological needs are threatened naturally humans experience anxiety.  I get that, as I am living paycheck to paycheck and that causes some degree of stress.  If I allow my mind to run wild, then a state of anxiety arises. That is the reality of many in our nation.  Many are struggling financially and emotionally. 

The holiday season is here and the streets of the city reveal how civilized we truly are.


I'm not just referring to homeless but anyone whose basic needs are not met. In an affluent country we have hungry, underserved citizens who for example do not get quality health care.  There may be shelters, hospitals and 'handouts' but that has never been a permanent solution.  


Pictureby Martin Kelly http://www.flickr.com/photos/martkelly/
In this nation often many believe opportunities are ample and that each 'individual' can climb the ladder and reach the "American dream." 

What is the American dream?

1) A house you work hard for but cannot enjoy time in because you work so much?
2) An education that promises a well-paid career for better quality of life?
3) A spouse and/or kids you can rarely spend time with because you have little time even for yourself?
4) Self-employment that frees you to do what you want when you want, eventually?...

Just how hard must you and I work to climb up this ladder? 

Even if we do attain the american dream, what then?  I've observed many that are unhappy when they've made it.  

I cannot speak for all but I think as humans what we most want is safety and happiness.  Both of which depend on caring humans.  


Pictureby Ania http://www.flickr.com/photos/poetatum/
We want to experience a world that is safe and to feel happy.  

Safety comes from a civilized world that takes care of it's citizens.  Happiness comes from the quality of our relationships. 

We have a ways to go to create a safer city, nation and world.  It is a need that must be met before we can truly reach for loftier goals.  If we are too stressed and anxious it is hard to have quality time even for ourselves much less with others.  

I admit this worldview is a judgment.  I am sharing how I wish the world operated.  I believe in humanity and I experience sadness at times when I hear of behaviors that contradict the altruistic nature of humans.  

While I pray more of humanity embraces their caring nature, I also know that resisting the current reality is detrimental to me. 

Any resistance to what is, equals stress.  Fear that is not a direct threat to my physical life is just information. Like a ringing phone, it doesn't mean I have to pick it up.   I don't have to react to information, I can choose peace, patience, love and hope.  Sometimes easier said than done so I am practicing.  

My heart tells me to breathe deeper, slow down and give up control.  My heart's faith is expansive surrender.  My brave heart whispers be bold in our lifetime, we shall experience a world that is free of fear.


What do you feel is your choice when FEAR seems so real?

What does your heart say when you experience stress or anxiety?

What do you envision for our world and in your lifetime?

 
 
Pictureby Michelle Hyacinth http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelle_hyacinth/
Treat others better than yourself? 


Or is it that 'we' like to think that we treat others better than ourselves? 

The Golden Rule: 

What I do to myself, I do to others and what I do to others, I do to myself. 

Because of the golden rule, I am suspicious of those who say they treat others better than themselves. 
 
I can say many things but it is how I say things and how I behave that reveals my heart or frame of mind.  

It is natural and healthy to question the integrity of self and others when words and behavior are a mis-match. 

If I cannot be patient with myself, then how can I have patience with others?  I cannot.  

If I turn my back on others, then why shouldn't I turn my back on myself?

Everything starts with me, including the golden rule. 

Before I can be patient and truly kind to others, I must be patient and kind to myself.  

If I cannot be honest with myself, then I cannot be honest with others.  

If I judge myself, then I judge others.  

If I am forgiving of myself, then I can be forgiving of others. 

If I care for myself, then I can care for others.  

Sometimes I think we like the idea that we treat others better than ourselves.   


Pictureby James Burke http://www.flickr.com/photos/djburkey/
Growing up I heard numerous times that I could be so hard on myself.
In my mind it was 'good' that I had high expectations of myself.  I could not see how it was detrimental to expect so much of myself.  I could not understand that I was really beating myself up.  

In time, I could not see how I was expecting so much from others as well. 

Of course, I did not start out mentally beating up on myself.  I internalized being hard on myself.  

I internalized how my parents treated me.  

Pictureby susan http://www.flickr.com/photos/57336354@N00/
One can tell how someone was treated by how they treat themselves. 


It became second nature to be beat up on myself in attempt to avoid 'them' being hard on me.  Once internalized it became hard to see how I was being hard on myself.  


That is why I am suspicious when someone says they don't  (fill in behavior here)  others only themselves. 


A truer statement is that eventually, we do to others, what we do to ourselves.  Why? 


Once a behavior has been internalized it is on autopilot.  


Pictureby Hartwig HKD http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/
Some internalized behaviors are so painful, that FEELING is avoided.  

I became savvy at 'saying' and 'doing' to keep from feeling the fear. The fear of failing and not being good enough....

The only way to heal is through the wound.  What is internalized must be felt to heal.  Initially, the wound stings. Afterward, their is relief, lightness and a subtle yet grounded sense of strength. 

Healing is a collaborative process.  Others can point out when I am behaving in ways that are counterproductive.  However, others cannot heal me, because no one can feel my feelings for me.  

The sword of the inner warrior is feeling!

So, while I may be suspicious of those who say they treat others better, I also know 'the internalized,' is a shield of defense.  Remembering that how someone treats themselves is about how they were treated growing up, helps me have compassion.    It never feels good to be treated unkindly, but, it is not a reflection on me.  

The shield of the inner warrior is compassion. 

The undesirable behaviors that are internalized are like a mirror that reveal the loveless ways we were treated when we were young children.  

When I imagine others as scared children, I judge less and more compassion comes forth.  Can you imagine this? 


Do you know what your undesirable-internalized behaviors are and how they cause distress in your life? 

How do you FEEL when others behave in unkind ways towards themselves?

Can you trust when others treat themselves in non-compassionate ways?


 
 
Pictureby Jenavieve http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackstarryskyy/
Who I imagine myself to be, is put to the test, by my unappreciated environmental triggers?


The environment is always offering me an opportunity to heal and love.  

When I cannot appreciate that my environment is offering a healing opportunity, I continue to behave contrary to what I am.

 
If who I believe myself to be becomes more important than how I am being, then I cannot be accountable for how I behave.  

I can only take responsibility for what I am able to see and have humility to admit. 

What I cannot see, I cannot appreciate. 

I cannot appreciate what my environment is offering me, when I do not recognize or know my triggers.  These unappreciated triggers, are emotionally charged, so I cannot see them.  
  
Unappreciated triggers are charged because they are unconscious or out of my conscious awareness.  The more they are made conscious, the more they become lessons of love.  


Pictureby Trauma&dissociation http://www.flickr.com/photos/traumaanddissociation/
Some things we experience, are so intense they go unconscious but leave invisible wounds. These wounds leave us hyper-sensitive to our environment. These wounds are our emotional triggers.  

Emotional triggers point back to a moment we experienced fear and deep excruciating hurt.  


Emotional triggers are those things that cause us to react intensely because they transport us back to a trauma.  


Having been through years of psychotherapy, I was surprised by what gone below my conscious awareness.  

In one work-setting I didn't immediately connect my severe nausea to the nature of my cases, so I quit the job shortly after starting.  It was very hard to walk away from the mental health and social work profession I was so passionate about.  I knew however, that I could not be effective for my clients when so much was being 'triggered' in me.   

I walked away not knowing if I would return to the field, but, my sense was that deepening my own healing would benefit others whether I returned to the profession or not. 

In my experience, trauma isn't limited to events that threaten our life or physical safety.  The event itself isn't what qualifies it as traumatic.  Anything that overwhelms us and leaves us feeling helpless and alone is trauma.  

Trauma is a subjective experience.  

No one is an expert of our internal experience but ourselves.    

Pictureby Louish Pixel http://www.flickr.com/photos/louish/
I believe trauma is more prevalent or widespread than our world admits or believes it can afford.  I also believe many are not getting diagnosed and treated.  

Instead, we are re-traumatized because we treat each other as objects to be improved upon, or illnesses that need to be secluded with little hope of becoming whole.   

Nothing is whole unless we see it as whole. 

To appreciate anything it, it has to felt to be seen. 

Nothing heals until it is felt.  We have to be brave to feel.  The unconscious has to arise through bravery and interactions with others.

It is a journey that requires time.  The world we share isn't concerned with supporting healing because it's focus is elsewhere.  We are kept too busy to have the luxury of time to heal from deep wounds.  So we recycle trauma.  

Being the heart rebel that I am, it has meant giving myself "time" to do my inner work even when it seemed I did not have the luxury of it.  

The external or "real world" says many things about what is acceptable and responsible.  Time for healing is not a top priority for the real world.  

I've had to ask myself if the real world or society has shown me it cares?  If so, then I owe it respect by abiding by perceptions and judgments of what is acceptable and responsible.  However, the real world shows me it doesn't really care, in fact it shows me h ow violent and inhumane it can be. That is why I chose to carve out time to heal more deeply. 

I believe each of us owes it to ourselves to heal our trauma.  And there are layers of it so in my experience it is a journey.  Even if we reach total liberation there are challenges until the day we physically cease to exist. 

While we may re-traumatize or recycle trauma, the good news is there is growing scientific evidence that rewiring our brain heals trauma.  There are alternative modalities that rewire our frequency from fear to love so we are able to respond differently to triggers. 


I have learned through trauma that what we are cannot hurt others, but, who we are can.  Who we think we are can corrupt our behavior. 

Who I imagined myself to be - I am not.  Who I am, is not as important- as what I am.  Where I imagined myself to be is not as important- as being.  

Maybe as a human race we need to see 'trauma,' as lessons in love.  

What we've been through isn't who we are.  Who we are is an image that changes. 

What we are is so much more than who we are!


Do you know the lessons of your trauma or your once unappreciated triggers?
  
 
 
Pictureby BK Symphony of Love http://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/
Stand out not because of:

- sophistication or humility

- beauty or ugliness

- eccentricity or plainness

- bold statements or meek speech


Stand out not because you are fearless, but because you dare to love.


Stand out not because you want attention, but because you shine bright. 


Stand out not because you want to be different, but because you are unique. 


Stand out not because of what others want you to be, but what you truly are.



Pictureby BK Symphony of Love
Emerge to stand out!


Stand out in truth of what you are. 


Applaud yourself for what you are. 


Applaud yourself for not having to become someone or having to do something special.


You stand out - just by being!


You stand out because your kindness ignites it in others.


Emerge as you are and you cannot help but stand out.


Emerge not because you are perfect, but, because every scar is the beauty of you. 


Emerge not because you think you are finally complete, but, because right where you are is saying yes to life.  


Emerge from the depths of needing approval. 


Emerge from the roots of your experiences.


Emerge knowing every condition has prepared you to stand out.


Emerge grounded in the wisdom of every challenge. 


Emerge and say yes to Life. 


Go ahead emerge and stand out!

 
 
Pictureby chriscom http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrigu/
What disguises live within me? 


In the spirit of Halloween and in a creative and fun sense what frightens you?


I can laugh at some of my fears...but sometimes I cringe.


As humans we have fears as much as we have dreams.  As kids through our imagination we created monsters and fairy tales.  We all had something we were scared of....

I remember being scared of the dark, horror movies and cats.  

For a long time I had my sister accompany me to the bathroom doorway until I turned on the light.  I laugh now, but, at one point we both thought I might not grow out of that fear!

As for horror movies I still don't like that kind of entertainment.  And, I'm still phobic of cats. Ever since I can remember I would freak out around cats.  My phobia of cats is better now, but, that's not what this post is about.  

This post is true to the subject I write about: Love.  Everything else is perception and entertainment!?!   

What's the e-word on the title of this post?  Read on, it is not "e" for election. 


Pictureby Alice Popkorn http://www.flickr.com/photos/alicepopkorn/
Do we not have choices about what we imagine or what we perceive?

With the upcoming presidential election my lens of perception shrunk.  I was thinking there are just two primary candidates or choices.  I was thinking I would have to pick the lesser of 2 evils. 

That is the e-word, that will appear here only once.  This e-word is a belief and a judgment.

Judgement is thinking 'I' know better and that implicitly means I am superior to what I judge.  It is self-righteous and hateful.  

I may not agree with who gets to be commander in chief, but, I can still be a loving human being rather than a hater of haters. 

Otherwise, I disguise myself as self-righteous and propagate fear through that which I "disagree or oppose."

Whether it is the upcoming election or any other decisions, I'm choosing to be aligned with love after all it is my conscience I have to live with! 

Pictureby Diane Duane http://www.flickr.com/photos/dianeduane/
While we can all hate, I prefer to perceive it as the absence of love or a need for love. 

The absence of love in and around us makes it tempting to think that there are non-benevolent forces at work.  But, isn't that shifting responsibility for non-love in the world to something outside of ourselves?

Instead I ask myself how do I contribute to the absence of love? 

It seems much easier to project non-love than to admit our own non-loving behaviors.  

Non-loving behavior can be scary because it can be unpredictable and incomprehensible.  What is unpredictable and incomprehensible is fear-provoking.  Fear gives way to fear.     

PictureBy Tran Dihn http://www.flickr.com/photos/fishydedoof/
In the face of fear perception makes a difference.  

Sometimes my perception glasses get foggy, so I wipe them clean with gratitude and humility.  I have to be humble to get over myself. 

As humans we become upset not by what happens, but, by our opinions or perceptions of what happens.  

Perception colors reality.  Our perceptions may not be based on reality.  And reality is perhaps just our own imagination.  Imagination is of the mind.  

It is my mind that says " be afraid, protect, defend, or attack."

It is my open heart that says " ouch... how sad, there is a need for love, a need for forgiveness,..."


Love only sees love. 


Are you aware of how you "fight or oppose yourself? 

Are you aware of how you support fear based campaigns?

How do you know your perception glasses need cleaning?


Perhaps, the results of the upcoming election will reveal our true alignment with love.   What do you think?

 
 
Pictureby June Yarham http://www.flickr.com/photos/junibears/

What can gifts say about me and the one gifting or giving?  


Is it really more noble to give than to receive? 

Do gifts come with fine print and clauses? 

Must I trust to receive? 


Recently, I've received various gifts. The gesture of gifting me brought up some questions about trust, vulnerability, humility and expectations. 


In this post I am sharing what 'gifts mean' and what they reveal. 

Pictureby Alicia Bernal http://www.flickr.com/photos/thepoetisin/
Gifts are thoughtful expressions of our generous heart.  Gifts can reveal our heart's status at a given moment as well as our frame of mind.

To me the value of the gift is in the spirit in which it is given. 

The spirit of generosity is a gesture that feels authentic and warm.  


The spirit of receiving is a gesture of openness and trust.  

Very different from a spirit of pity and mistrust. 


In a world that says there is no such thing as a free lunch, trusting gifts don't have strings attached is not easy.
 

What is filled with fine print and clauses is a form of protection, of mistrust.  That is of the egoic mind, that protects it's agenda or identity.  


My heart does not need protection, so it does not need clauses and does its best not to look for fine print.   


Pictureby BK symphony of love
Is giving more noble than receiving?

While giving is generous and gives us joy, receiving reveals our humility and vulnerability.  

It has been challenging to reveal that I am currently without a car and that I am slowly saving for it.  It has meant letting myself be seen in need and admitting to myself why things are as they are. 


Gifts reveal my ability to receive love. 


If we can receive, then we can give.  But, if we cannot receive, then, we cannot give.  We cannot give what we cannot receive.  

Like the land that receives nourishment from the sun and rain, we too need to receive to then give back.  

Giving and receiving is like our breath, it is beyond belief and effort. Effortlessly, we breathe in and out.  We don't have to think about breathing nor grasp air.  Giving and receiving is beyond beliefs. 


Pictureby Vincent Brown http://www.flickr.com/photos/vintuitive/
Giving and receiving is about Love.  Love is a frequency we tune into to.  
Love as a belief never suffices no matter how beautiful our beliefs.

Love as a belief means we will 'take gifts,' while dismissing their value and source.  

We come to expect things because of beliefs.  

I've witnessed simple gifts being overlooked even though they were heartfelt and revealed I had thought of that person.  

Pictureby BK symphony of love http://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/
Gifts are meant to be embraced, shared and passed on accordingly.

Gifts are everywhere if we are in the moment.  

Life is always gifting us. 

The simplicity of my existence is a most precious gift.  

I honor Life's love by receiving more openly. 

Receiving means I feel worthy. 

And why deprive another of the joy of giving? 


Irrespective of financial wealth, I feel grateful for my heart is generous and open to receiving. 


How different it would be if we passed on gifts and shared in the abundance of the resources of our planet.  

How wonderful if we found a way to "gift" and share in the spirit of generosity, collaboration and love.



Pictureby Bk symphony of love
When was the last time you gifted someone because they came to mind ?


Do you trust enough to receive gifts and love? 


How vulnerable are you when you receive love?


How do you take love for granted?

Have you truly noticed the many ways Life gifts you?


 
 
Pictureby Leda Carter http://www.flickr.com/photos/leda_carter/
I've experienced arms that held me, but didn't feel me. 

I call it being in heart-empty arms.   

The feeling of being in heart-empty arms is like being held by the wind.

There is nothing to lean into.  There isn't much comfort in such arms.  While I rather be hugged or held by heart--open arms, I understand heart -empty arms because I'v been there. 

Emotions like sorrow, grief, anger, and fear impede the free flow of love so we cannot hold others.  

I'm grateful for experiencing empty embraces as I get the connection desired is more than skin deep, more than a warm body next to us.  I get how much tenderness can come through caring-gentle touch and holding.


I'm glad to hear when someone I've held has shared they truly felt held.  


Pictureby Elizabeth Anne http://www.flickr.com/photos/elizabethannephotography/
My sensitivity to touch heightened because growing up there were contradictions in what I witnessed as loving versus what LOVE actually is.  


When we've been held to meet others' needs, but, also seemed to receive love, naturally we become confused about what love feels like.  


My parent's held me to the extent they had experienced love.  I held my mom more than she held me which set me up to love more than to receive love. 

It is no surprise I became challenged in matters of  "love."  


As an attractive female I've questioned whether men could really hold me without strings attached.  As womyn we may struggle with being shown love for sex versus sex being a part of love.   

Real love can be overlooked easily because of our confusion.  Confusion is in the mind. The body knows the truth. 

The confusion lessens by contrasting embraces.  


Pictureby Brad Fults http://www.flickr.com/photos/h3h/
When we find love-filled arms, it is so precious.  We can safely melt.  


It is why hugs can be quite revealing.  Hugs express openness to being felt and receiving love.  It is felt as warmth and care. 

Loving arms reach the spaces in between that need holding.  They wordlessly say "you've been strong long enough...melt...let it out." 

It is a sweet surrender letting ourselves be held in love. 

It is selfless to hold another without expectation or strings attached. 


Pictureby Celestine Chua http://www.flickr.com/photos/celestinechua/
It is an act of kindness to hold another and a brave act to let ourselves be held.  No words are required just a surrender of our pain.   

How beautiful that our arms can wrap around each other to hold one another.  

Arms wrapped around us encourage us to release what we are carrying.   It is why as humans we were given tears to release hurts.  Tears melt our pain. 

Unreleased pain creates a storm.  The storm passes if we can cry and hold ourselves or allow others to hold us.  

While my heart is open, I detox it often of emotion's that cloud love's experience.  It is necessary in today's world where so many walk around with a hardened heart.  

Clouds in our heart are a part of being human.  When released they lighten and brighten us.  

The world needs each of us to release our hurts, to hold each other for a brighter and lighter tomorrow. 

Summary:

  • Human arms were given to us to 'hold' one another.
  • Human tears were given to us to "melt" the hurts in our hearts. 
  • Melt-in arms are safe loving arms.
  • Love can't be understood because sometimes what we've experienced as love often has not been.  
  • Melting the hardened parts of our heart means surrendering the pain. 
  • Hugs reveal openness to being felt and receiving love. 
  • A brighter world through more wordless holding.  

When was the last time you just communicated through tender touch and affectionate embrace?




Dedicated to all those needing more tender caring touch. 
And to those of us who have not found strong arms to hold us. 

 
 
Pictureby Daniel Rocal http://www.flickr.com/photos/alcalaenfotos/
What heals emotional scars?


Emotional-scars are unmet needs of childhood. 

  
Emotional-scars don't just fade with time or solutions!  

BeAware:
Emotional scars remain and need empathy. 

I've had to experience non-empathic responses to appreciate when I've received empathy. 

Empathic responses do not: 

1. Advise 
2. Educate, explain or evaluate
3. Fix 
4  Minimize or discount
5. Pity or sympathize 
6. Reveal their story
7. Take blame 


How do I know these are non-empathic responses? 

My negative feelings tell me.    


How do I know when I've been offered empathy?

It is simple.  I feel felt.  

For the 7 key points about this post scroll to the bottom please. 


Pictureby Botgirl Quest http://www.flickr.com/photos/botgirlq/
To feel felt is such a gift.  Empathy is a gift of love.

I have a friend who is able to really be present for me, who does not judge me nor try to fix me.  If she does advice it is after she has held space for me to express freely.  I treasure her. 

Being felt means someone has been present to us.  They gave us their attention as we bared our scars. They didn't run or judge the scar.  Instead, connection was made by them being attuned to our needs

When our needs are met we experience positive feelings.  When our needs are not met we experience negative feelings. 

When I feel sadness I know there's been an exchange, but, no connection, warmth, or care arising from it.  

When I experience warmth and care I feel grateful and know there has been connection.


Pictureby Botgirl Quest
When I share deeply and the response seems so unattuned to me, I sigh....

The response lacked what I needed: empathy.  

When I feel rejected, unheard, or misunderstood I can become quiet. Sometimes my breathing becomes shallow.  It is then, I know a deep emotional scar has been touched. 


I cannot know how another will respond especially when I don't know them well.  But, even when I know them, their response may not be the one I hope for. 

Warning:  
NO ONE CAN BE ATTUNED TO US ALL THE TIME OR CONSISTENTLY.  It is not realistic.  

I myself am not always attuned to my own needs because we live in a busy world.  Of course, the more aware of my needs I am, the more I can ask for what I need.  The more I ask for what I need, the more I increase the possibility of my needs being met.  
The more needs are met, the happier I am.  The opposite is true as well.  

Non-empathic responses make me sad.  I feel sad that my need for connection and understanding goes unmet.  

When the sadness is deeper, often it means they are unmet childhood needs.  I take time to mourn those emotional-scars, so I can meet them in the present.  

When an exchange lacks caring, my sadness runs more than surface deep as it creates dissonance in my belief in humanity.  So I let my tears flow. 

Mourning needs or emotional scars is how I take responsibility for my feelings and how I care for myself. (Self-empathy)

The mourning process has been necessary to see beyond the scars.  If I don't mourn the emotional scars, their memories remain charged.  


Pictureby serenidadnyc http://www.flickr.com/photos/serenidadnyc/
What remains charged can make me reactive.  Unless I am aware I will react without knowing the true intention of another.  

If I cannot see beyond my scars I will want to hide them and isolate. 

Either way there is little growth or healing if our emotional scars remain charged or if we cannot see beyond them.  

Often we want to hide emotional scars believing they make us less attractive.  Hiding scars doesn't give anyone a chance to see how human we are, much less a chance for someone to gift us empathy. 

We mean well as humans.  We are just not very versed in the language of empathy.  We've forgotten to connect to our heart to connect to others.  

I have to remind myself that I wouldn't know who is empathic unless I took a risk.  


Pictureby Stuart Williams http://www.flickr.com/photos/viamoi/
To risk is better than not to. 


Risk is part of being human.  The more I risk, the greater I increase my chances of being felt.   If I can drop expectations, the freer I am and the quicker I bounce back to being happy. 


Happiness comes from the quality of our relationships.  The quality depends on how much we connect from our heart.  It is why emotional scars aren't to be hidden.  They can bring us closer. 


We can share our scars like they are beauty marks because they are

They reveal needs that went unmet.  They reveal how resilient we are.   

Sometimes, we have to give others a chance to see our scars so they can understand us, because we both need it.  We need to give the gift of empathy and we need to receive it.  


Key points:

1. Empathy is not about what I do, but about connecting. 

2. If "I" feel felt, I've been given the gift of empathy.

3. Positive feelings tell me -my needs are being met.

4. NO ONE CAN BE ATTUNED TO ME ALL THE TIME but I can tune in to myself (self-empathy)

5. Mourning the unmet needs of childhood frees me to meet my needs in the present 

6. We have to risk revealing our emotional scars to know who can be empathic 

7. Emotional scars offer us an opportunity to connect from our hearts so we can nurture and support one another


Do you know what emotional scars remain charged for you?  

How do you give empathy?

What's your empathic challenge as in how is it tough to be there for someone? (see list of non-empathic responses) 
 
 
Pictureby vipez http://www.flickr.com/photos/vipez/
The power of an empath is more than feeling others?  


Feeling others is a gift. 


Understanding others is powerful. 


This post is about being an empath and how that 'gift' can go unused or turn on us and how to be a more skilled empath in a world that needs so much compassion and deep understanding. 


In this post I distinguish between compassion and empathy and the necessity of boundaries to be skilled empaths. 


I am mastering being an empath.   I'm finding the balance between feeling deeply, sometimes intensely and safeguarding my sensitive heart.  


What is an empath?  Someone whose feeling sensory is heightened to the degree of psychically tuning into the emotional experience of others be it persons, animals and/or places.   


Pictureby LadyGeekTV http://www.flickr.com/photos/89012755@N05/
My journey has shown me that being an empath doesn't automatically make me empathic.  I know because many times I've been unable to convey empathy.  


Empathy is being able to put ourselves in the shoe's of the one experiencing pain or suffering.  It involves some imagination along with strong feeling for the sufferer's perspective. 

Empathy offers a space for emotions to flow freely and safely. 

Offering a safe space free of mental chatter and solutions can be a tall order in today's world of rampant non-compassionate dialogue and quick solutions. 

The difference between empathy and compassion is the degree of understanding.  

Compassion is feeling concern for another who is suffering or in painwithout sharing the intensity of the sufferer’s experience.  

Compassion is a universal language as it does not require verbal skill just basic understanding of common human experiences. 

No words must be offered to convey basic understanding or compassion.   Sometimes, our presence conveys understanding.  Sometimes, just listening is enough.  And sometimes what we ask reveals our desire to understand more deeply or empathy.  
 


Pictureby Cri Cristina http://www.flickr.com/photos/cricristina/
How does an empath's gift turn against self? 

Without boundaries we cannot care with also hurting ourselves. 

Feeling others stuff can be very painful when our boundaries are poor and our need to control is so alive.  


I am still in the process of learning to feel 'their pain' without wanting to change it.  It's challenging to detach from wanting to make it better when I feel those I care about in so much pain.  


Feeling for others wont' heal them. 


Boundaries means I understand what is mine or what it is within my territory to change and trusting others to take care of themselves. 


I can only heal myself by feeling my heart wounds.  

I'm learning to master being an empath through self-care, self-compassion, and self-empathy.  Yes, I am turning these gifts on myself. 


Pictureby Frank Balsinger http://www.flickr.com/photos/arsskeptica/
Self-care means I take time to discern my feelings from others and to be clear on what I can control or change and what must be surrendered.  


I must be willing to feel before I arrive at true understanding.    


Feeling without having to change or do anything allows stillness to emerge.  In stillness, deeper understanding emerges about my wounds.  However, arriving at stillness has meant plunging into emotions anything but pretty!


Self-compassion allows me to sit with the unpretty or dark emotions. 


Pictureby Porsche Brosseau http://www.flickr.com/photos/porsche-linn/
Without basic understanding (compassion) we cannot move to deeper understanding.


To feel others makes us empaths, but, to feel others without understanding them is not giving the gift!  


The power of the gift of understanding is that it is healing. 


To deeply understand, we need to take time to feel our wounds without rushing.  Rushing means we postpone feeling the depth of our wound and our healing.  
    

Healing comes from feeling understood. 


As inhabitants of planet earth we need to give ourselves the gift of compassion to pass it on or offer it to others.  


If we share our wounds, we reveal our humanness.  If we can be witnesses of the scars of our wounds, then, we can see the resiliency of the human spirit which is the beauty of our journey. 


The world needs compassion to move to greater empathy.  



Summary Points from a recovering empath: 

  1. The difference between compassion and empathy is the level of understanding from basic to deep. 
  2. Just because one is an empath, doesn't mean we automatically use our gift to be empathic. 
  3. Poor boundaries make it confusing to know my feelings from others and what is mine to control and what is not. 
  4. Empathy offers a safe space to express emotions free of solutions and mental chatter.
  5. To gift deep understanding is to give deep healing or love.
  6. A skilled empath fosters boundaries through self-care and turns the gift on self before passing the gift to others.   
  7. Compassion is a universal language as it conveys basic understanding of feelings and can build to deeper understanding or empathy. 

Can you imagine others suffering and how that can help us relate to one another in more compassionate ways?  


Are you brave enough to gift yourself and others with deep understanding (empathy)?  And if so why?


Test your empathy and compassion

Can I allow others space to be when they show me -their not so pretty side?  

Do I give my 'not so wonderful aspects' understanding? 


Being an empath in a world that is inconsistently caring and hostile is challenging. 


Gifting understanding is deeply powerful as it is healing the wounds of humanity.
--Monica Espinoza



 
 
Picturebu Jacob Munk-Stander http://www.flickr.com/photos/jacobms/
Is it true, is it me or is it their projection?


Perhaps, it is both, afterall our minds are mirrors to each other. 


Recently, I was bewildered by the experiences with a couple of people in my life.  


I was confused by what was being said, what I know about myself and the history of the relationships. 


When there is incongruence, it is natural to be puzzled.   


This post is about spotting projections & what to do with hostilities that arise from them.  If you want the summary scroll down for the 7 key points. 


In one instance, a friend made a case against me for being "too honest and at the same time not honest enough."   In my friend's perspective- my honesty was essentially impolite.  It was a way to deflect attention from his feelings.  Which is why he tried to gather evidence against me.  In the moment, I remained defenseless as there was nothing to defend.   


I allowed myself time to be with my thoughts and feelings.  I made it a priority to understand what had happened for the sake of the two of us. What was key for me was being aware of my visceral response.  I was picking up his feelings more than he was feeling himself.  I had to recognize what was mine and what wasn't.  


Being honest is a choice.  


I choose to share my deep feelings with those who are able to hold space for me.  With some people like my father, who struggles with being emotionally available,  I do not share my feelings.  It is not that I am dishonest, it is my way of taking care of myself.  When I've shared my emotions, he has often labeled me as 'too sensitive,' which leaves me feeling criticized and my need for empathy goes unmet.  Neither of us wins as my dad gets frustrated with my sensitivity.  


With my friend, it didn't seem that my need for understanding would be met by being emotionally intimate.  My option was still to share my honest thoughts.  His response told me that I shouldn't be so honest.  It implied that I needed to change to accommodate him, so I let him know he wanted a 'watered down version of myself.'  

Honesty is not everyone's cup of tea.  


Pictureby Andrey http://www.flickr.com/photos/insanephotoholic/
Honesty is hard to digest.  

It can trigger hostility. 

That was the case with my sister.  I didn't remain defenseless.  A wound was touched.  I voiced frustration.  I fueled the voice of attack.  The punishment has been hostile silence and having minimal time with my nephew.


It is tremendously challenging to have buttons pushed and to simply let what is said pass through.  


The pass through is not about accepting hostile looks or words, but, recognizing that every hostility or verbal attack is a cover up for deep hurt.  That understanding makes it possible to see the other as a human being who has been deeply hurt- so much that they lash out.  That awareness and understanding puts us on equal footing.  

We've all been hurt -so we can relate.  

Pictureby Sophia Louise http://www.flickr.com/photos/sophiadphotography/
The truth can be uncomfortable, but, it is kind to be honest.  


There was some truth to what my sister said.  I realized later what nerve she struck.  

Honesty is necessary in addressing hurt and projections.  


In some cases being honest is not safe, intuitively, we must assess the situation.  When it is safe to confront, honesty is an act of kindness.  


However, our world has taught us that politeness is better than honesty. Well, choosing politeness is not always kind, as it may avoid the truth.  It says that we think the other is not capable of handling the honest truth.  It is like pretending there is no issue. 


Pretending there is no problem or issue is unkind.  In the long run denying our true feelings is unsustainable.  Tolerance will give out and our true feelings come out.  If we don't express our truth, our body will express it somehow.   We develop a red eye, a sore throat, an itch, our face breaks out, we get a headache, etc. 


While honesty may not be comfortable or easy, it takes less effort than pretending!  Energy must be expended in resisting the truth. 


We are built to tell the truth.  Our body has a visceral response that speaks the truth.  That is how lie detectors work.  Our body is a lie detector. 


Our body experiences relief by being transparent as their is no fiction to uphold.

Pictureby Sara -Rose http://www.flickr.com/photos/oh_darling/

I'm learning the importance of tact when I am honest. 


Tact is vital to honesty.  
Without tact our hand can be bitten even when we've spoken truth. 


I have to be emotionally in tune to respect what is true for me, while expressing it and acknowledging that I have no control over how another responds.  Their response is their choice and about them. 


Sometimes, we just have to remove ourselves from interacting with someone with whom a win seems so challenging.   

It is hard to win when there is little or no emotional awareness. 

Without emotional awareness we are constantly reactive.  Emotional intelligence arises from our emotional awareness. 


Emotional intelligence tells me, if it is safe to voice truth and to say it with tact.  Arguments or power struggles may still arise.  It is wise and kind to disengage power struggles with silence.  Often that stirs anger in the one wanting control as it is a sign of disrespect. 


Silence allows the wisdom of the heart to emerge.  What surfaces is compassion.  Compassion is a basic understanding of the common human experience of hurt.   Understanding self and others is kind.  

Honesty is kind.  Honesty has only one face: truth. 

I strive for honesty, but, I am not perfect.  That is okay, I am human.  I like and accept myself as I am.  

Pictureby BK Symphony of Love http://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/
To summarize, projections and hostilities can be addressed by  7 key points:


1. Awareness of visceral reactions or our body's lie detector
is key to spotting hurts and projections.

2. Assessing the moment as safe to confront or to simply allow the hostility to pass through is being unresistant to what is.  Amidst turmoil, a space of quiet is kind or we must remove ourselves from aggression. 

3.  Being honest with ourselves is being vulnerable in the moment.  With another it may require space from each other to discern our thoughts and feelings.

4.  Clarity of what is ours and what is theirs, allow us to act according to the truth of the moment.

5. Emotional intelligence allows us to take care of ourselves, assessing when it is safe to be honest and to express it with tact so that the integrity of all involved results in a win. 

6.  Remembering that hostility is a cover up for deep hurt disarms us. 

7.  Honesty is necessary for compassion with self and others.



"You can trust yourself to know what is true for you personally!  Telling the truth will always bring about a sensation of relief because your heart is set free in the moment that you tell the truth (your heart will move forward); even if the truth isn't necessarily something that you perceive as positive.  If you say something that is not the truth for you  personally, your heart is imprisoned in the moment you tell the non-truth (your heart will retreat); and it will bring about a feeling of resistance within you." - Teal Scott

 "Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable,  be honest and transparent anyway." - Mother Theresa