compassion

Ownership Has It's Privileges

Howdy, I was speaking to a relative about communication the other day.  She had never communicated what she wanted or needed but harbored much anger toward those who weren't meeting her needs.  I tried to give her insight into the idea that no one can be held responsible for anyone else's lack of action.  We are all responsible for ourselves and communicating our own needs.  Yet, through our culture of blame it is much easier to see fault in someone not just "knowing" what you need instead of owning the fact that you have to do the work to communicate (as many times as you have to in order to be heard) what it is you need… even if that means risking not getting your needs met.  See, speaking your truth doesn't mean it will be accepted by others… but you cannot get anywhere without trying, without risking, without speaking.  You most certainly have less of a chance of getting what you need if you never actually admit to having needs.

The fear, however, is so great that we hide behind the idea that people should know this or should have know that.  We actually believe that other people should be mind readers even though we don't do a good job of understanding what someone else wants.  We get angry with each other and literally resent people for not knowing what they were never told.  We argue over things being common sense or not, when the reality is, did they know?  Were they told?  Nothing is really obvious when it comes down to it.  If it isn't explicitly communicated you cannot expect it to be understood (even then you may need to do some work around it).  We spend so little time communicating our needs that we don't truly know how to.  Our fear of not being heard or our fear or judgement that we aren't deserving, mixed with our resentment for not getting our needs met create a scary combination.  It is a wonder how any relationship survives (in my opinion).  How many times have you expected someone to treat you one way or another only to have them do something else?  How did you respond?

We are a culture that blames.  We blame the government, the weather, God (if you have one or more), fast food, alcohol, other people, TV, guns, etc.  I don't believe I have ever turned on the TV or listened to the radio to hear our media discuss how each person contributes to their own personal issues, let alone the world's joys and pains.  I don't believe I have ever overheard a conversation where someone was saying, "I must take a long hard look at myself and what I am bringing to this situation that is perpetuating it."  I have heard that they did this, or they did that or they need to stop doing these things and everything would be ok.  It is no wonder why we oftentimes feel powerless over our lives.  It is no wonder why we go to war or have road rage.  It is no wonder why our world is in such turmoil.  We are all pointing the finger at someone/something else, rarely seeing where we can start to make a shift in the world.

How can you take ownership for yourself today?

xo

a

Take A Chill Pill

Hello there, We sometimes look at others and wonder why they do what they do.  We sometimes get impatient with others not figuring things out quickly enough.  We may judge other people and decide that they are doing something on purpose to piss us off.  We aren't always the most empathetic or compassionate of folks.  We are rarely forgiving or understanding immediately.  The conclusions that we come to when we aren't pleased with others borders irrational and can often times be considered unloving.  Why do you think that is the case?

When you find fault in other people, when you are impatient, judgmental and unforgiving you are in the process of a revealing or revelation.  It is only that what we have within us that we recognize outside of us.  You aren't actually able to put a name or a feeling to something that you don't encompass as well.  I know you may get this, intellectually, but how have you incorporated this into your world.

I have been there, probably today, complaining about someone not doing something as well as I would like them to.  Maybe it was while driving or at the grocery store.  Either way, I always, at some point, see myself where they are.  I can almost always go, quickly, back to a time when I was that guy.  The one stopping in the doorway of the grocery store, forgetting that other people need to come and go.  Maybe it was when I was younger and since then I have done the work to remember to move my ass out of the way and to be conscious of those around me.  However, that doesn't mean that I didn't do it in the past and that I cannot now understand why anyone would ever do that now.  We think because we have moved on from some behavior that others should be right in step with us.  Well, newsflash, everyone else feels the same to.

We are all on our own personal journeys, and within each journey we are all at different spots for different things.  Sometimes we meet others who are in line with our self growth in multiple areas.  When this happens we feel a connection, we feel that we are kindred.  When we meet others who may stumble over areas that we have figured out, or think we have figured out, we tend to be impatient, sometimes unfeeling.  Do we do this to ourselves as well?  Have you ever said anything negative to yourself when you repeat something you would prefer not to?  Do you speak to yourself like you should have known better?  When you see something in someone else that you judge as negative, you have already done the same to yourself.  Maybe it would do you and everyone else some good if you chilled out a bit.

Give yourself and others a break.  It is worth it.  Not everyone is where you are, nor do they need to be.  We are all growing at various rates, learning what we can and in need of support during it all.   That doesn't mean you don't hold yourself and others accountable.  You just don't need to break someone down to help build them up, in every case.  :)

Sending love,

xo

a

Keep Your Compassionate Projection To Yourself :)

"I would like to explain the meaning of compassion, which is often misunderstood.  Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the rights of the other:  irrespective of whether another person is a close friend."  ~Dalai Lama Most of us believe that in order to be compassionate we have to know how the other person feels and relate to it.  In order to feel for someone we need to get into their space and feel what they feel.  Many times this leads us to forgetting that we aren't them and will never be…  Listening and asking questions is the best way to show compassion, as well as respecting that person's right to do what they decide.  Too often we have no idea that we aren't feeling for someone, we are merely projecting how we might feel in the same situation.  We believe we are 'helping' when we tell someone why something is or is not good for them.  We would do well to heed our own advice since we are actually giving it to ourselves, using the other as a screen to project what is happening for us.

"Projection: The unconscious transfer of one's own desires or emotions to another person: we protect the self by a number of defense mechanisms, including repression and projection."

Just recently a family member asked for positive support around a possible move for her and her immediate family.  What she received in return was a good number of supportive replies and a couple of comments that basically told her she was too old to change.  That change would be detrimental, not only to her, but to her family as well.  It is funny to me that even after asking directly for support she received comments that told her she was making a mistake.  What I learned about the person who replied with warnings was that they, themselves, felt they were too old, too saddled, and too stuck to do anything other that what they are doing at this moment.  The idea of change is scary for them and they would prefer it if others behaved with similar fears so as to not stir their own issues up.  It is always best to never take someone's judgement around how you live your life too seriously.  Listen to them, if you choose.  Understand that they are telling you about themselves and love them for sharing.

When someone is doing something that isn't what is expected, how do you feel?  Are you supportive or are you threatened?  Do you feel like they should be following the 'rules' or do you have a twinge of excitement and inspiration with them forging their own way, doing what dare not be done?

xo

a

Drained

Do you have someone in your world that exhausts you simply by existing?  We all know one or more energy suckers.  Heck, you could be one of those people for all I know.  This isn't about judging people as bad or good, it is about being aware of how you are reacting to someone and dealing with it in the way that makes the most sense for you and helps you feel energized and not drained. One of the things that makes a vampire a vampire is that they have very poor listening skills.  When you speak to them they tend to take the conversation and make it about them.  They often have drama that never ends and seem to never make any attempt to end it.  They don't pick up on "subtle" cues to stop talking, leave, or make space for you during an interaction.  They talk about themselves most of the time.  They tend to see most things in a negative light and feel that the only way to be heard is to complain.  They tend to 'rain on parades' without much effort.

Most of the time we want to blame the person for 'making' us feel exhausted or for 'draining' us.  It is true, the energy that they send out isn't uplifting and energizing… however they haven't forced anything on us that we didn't allow in.  After all you know the people in your world that you feel drained after being around… and you still end up hanging out with them.  Now, don't begin making excuses.  There is something to this.  Why would you continually put yourself in a situation that you weren't getting anything out of, actually, you were having your soul sucked out of every pore.  So, what is in it for you?  It is important to ask yourself this question.  Does it make you feel helpful to listen to the same issues over and over.  How is that helping if the person complaining literally just wants to complain.  Do you value your own time?  Is this how you show love to yourself and others?

If you are someone who feels responsible for others (co-dependent) you may be using this person or people to make yourself feel worthy or worthwhile.  You are in a little relationship that is mutually beneficial, both parties are needed in this dance.  If you own that you are a wiling participant in the dance you can decide to change the steps or leave the dance altogether.

I have certainly had my share of these type of relationships.  I have been the 'savior' for so many folks, let me tell you.  I had to give myself away, over and over and live the same cycle of being exhausted, sometimes to the point of depression, after 'helping' someone in order to finally realize that it wasn't helping me.  Over the years I had been told that I needed to stop giving my energy away in the way that I was giving it.  Once I changed how I saw people, their concerns, and my urge to be of help in a different way I was able to shift my viewpoint.  I set up boundaries within myself and haven't felt that same drain since.

What are proper boundaries?  Well, those are up to you.  But you have the right to set boundaries with people in your world, specifically with yourself.  You are not responsible for how someone views, reacts or interacts with the world.  However, you can change how you approach the world and in that way change the world you live in.  You can limit your interactions with those who exhaust you.  You can ground yourself so that you don't take on the other person's energy (I recommend doing this anyway).  You can change the energy by lifting your own energy when you are around people who drain you.  You can begin to see how someone else is allowing you to work on yourself by bringing up the things that need work in you.

"Compassion automatically invites you to relate with people because you no longer regard people as a drain on your energy."  ~Chogyam Trungpa

xo

a

Let It Go

Howdy!!! Picture this:  You are driving, someone cuts you off.  Now, think back to a time when you cut someone off.  Have you ever done that?  Did you mean it?  Do you spend much of your time plotting ways to get under people's skin?  Do you think other folks are running around trying to plot against you or upset you at the least?

When was the last time you got pissed off by the car in front of you?  At your partner?  Your friend?  A family member?  How many slights do you perceive in a day?  What would happen if you didn't take offense?

When was the last time someone took offense to something you did or said?  What if you responded with empathy and compassion?  It only takes one person to change a dance.  Taking into consideration that generally no offense is intended is a powerful tool as you evolve in this life of yours.  Taking into consideration that we only take offense because we had expectations to begin with, or because we have our own judgements around something, or because we are feeling insecure.

Whether we are the ones annoying or being annoyed we need to remember that most people aren't here, and don't want to, torture us, and, when given a chance, would be more loving than not.

So let it go.  Let being all worked up about what someone else is doing fade into the background.  Enjoy the fact that you can relate.  Enjoy being human. :)

xo

a