Archive for the ‘Compassion’ Category

Growing Up

Friday, December 9th, 2016

We turn Toddler brain feelings into Adult brain values by activating instinctual motivations to improve, appreciate, protect, and connect. We make the final transition from feelings to values by expanding on “I’m disappointed, but I’m okay.” It looks like this: “I’m disappointed, so I will improve, appreciate, connect, protect.”

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 117

Worthiness

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

This rumble taught me why self-righteousness is dangerous. Most of us buy into the myth that it’s a long fall from “I’m better than you” to “I’m not good enough” — but the truth is that these are two sides of the same coin. Both are attacks on our worthiness. We don’t compare when we’re feeling good about ourselves; we look for what’s good in others. When we practice self-compassion, we are compassionate toward others. Self-righteousness is just the armor of self-loathing.

— Brené Brown, Rising Strong, p. 119

Compassion and Boundaries

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Very early on in my work I had discovered that the most compassionate people I interviewed also have the most well-defined and well-respected boundaries. It surprised me at the time, but now I get it. They assume that other people are doing the best they can, but they also ask for what they need and they don’t put up with a lot of crap. I lived the opposite way: I assumed that people weren’t doing their best so I judged them and constantly fought being disappointed, which was easier than setting boundaries. Boundaries are hard when you want to be liked and when you are a pleaser hell-bent on being easy, fun, and flexible.

Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.

— Brené Brown, Rising Strong, p. 114-115.

Compassion Changes You.

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

The use of compassion to cajole someone into changing is especially tragic in abusive relationships, when abused partners are desperate to bring about change. Their desperation is misconstrued by abusers as pure manipulation, to which they respond angrily and often abusively. Compassion is a healing emotion for the person who behaves compassionately because it engages Adult brain power to access our deepest humane values. But it’s helpful to recipients only when they are in the Adult brain. The Toddler brain does not receive compassion positively. If you’re in an abusive relationship, you must understand that your compassion will change you by putting you more in touch with your humanity, but it will not change your partner. Only your partner’s compassion for you will change him or her.

Steven Stosny, PhD, Soar Above, p. 52

Motivation, Not Punishment

Monday, July 11th, 2016

If you feel bad about anything at all and blame it on someone else, what can you then do to make yourself feel better?

Not a thing. The act of blame renders you powerless, which is the internal source of all the frustration, anger, and resentment that go with blame. More important, blame strips painful emotions of their primary function, which is to motivate corrective behavior. As we saw in the previous chapter, pain — physical and psychological — is part of an alarm network that evolved to keep you safe and well. The function of guilt, shame, and anxiety is not to punish you. Their primary function is to motivate behavior that heals, corrects, or improves.

For example, guilt is about violating your values; the motivation of guilt is to act according to your values. Acting according to your deeper values is the only thing that resolves guilt. Shame is about failure and inadequacy; the motivation is to reevaluate, reconceptualize, and redouble efforts to achieve success, or if the failure is in attachment, to be more loving or compassionate. Those are the only things that will resolve shame. Anxiety is a dread of something bad occurring that will exceed or deplete resources; the motivation is to learn more about what might happen and develop plans to cope with it. Blame, denial, and avoidance might give momentary relief of guilt, shame, and anxiety but will soon worsen them by blocking their natural motivations.

— Dr. Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 39

The Opposite of Scarcity

Friday, June 17th, 2016

The opposite of scarcity is not abundance; the opposite of scarcity is simply enough. Empathy is not finite, and compassion is not a pizza with eight slices. When you practice empathy and compassion with someone, there is not less of these qualities to go around. There’s more. Love is the last thing we need to ration in this world.

— Brené Brown, Rising Strong, p. 9

Our Sorting System

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

We tend to look down our noses at these ancient people with their religious codes regulating everything from the fibers in their clothing to the people they touched. But we have our own religious codes these days. We have our own scapegoats we cast from our communities and surround with Bible-wielding mobs. We have sins we delight in taking seriously, biblical instructions we interpret hyperliterally, issues we protect over-vigilantly because it helps us with out sorting system. It makes us feel righteous.

“Let’s not forget that Jesus told the woman to go and sin no more,” some like to say when they think the church is getting too soft on other people’s sin.

To this I am always tempted to respond: So how’s that working out for you? The sinning no more thing? Because it’s not going so well for me.

I think it’s safe to say we’ve missed the point when, of all the people in this account, we decide we’re the most like Jesus. I think it’s safe to say we’ve missed the point when we use his words to condemn and this story as a stone.

— Rachel Held Evans, Searching for Sunday, p. 94

Grace

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Grace means suddenly you’re in a different universe from the one where you were stuck, and there was absolutely no way for you to get there on your own. When it happens — when you stop hating — you really have to pinch yourself. Jesus said, and this is not an exact quote, “The point is to not hate and kill each other today, and if you can, to help the forgotten and powerless. Can you write that down and put it by the phone?”

— Anne Lamott, Small Victories, p. 149

Witnessing the Anguish

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

Victims need to feel they are being heard and affirmed. The best way to do this is to not argue the facts of their stories or the ways they are hurting. If your spouse says you lied last Wednesday, and you lied to them last Thursday, it will not help rebuild the trust by arguing the date of the offense. If your child says, “You did not show up to my football game, and you are never there for me,” it does not serve a healing purpose for you to counter with all the other football games you have attended as irrefutable proof you are there for your child.

When people are hurting, they cannot be cross-examined out of their pain. We all want our pain to be acknowledged and understood. We all want to feel safe to express our hurt feelings in all their various forms and textures. If you argue with the person you have harmed, that person will not feel safe, nor will that person feel understood. When someone is hurt, that person wants his or her pain to be understood and validated. Without that understanding, the forgiveness process will stall and you will both remain trapped in an endless loop of telling the story and naming the hurt. Empathy is the gateway to forgiveness for you and for the one you have harmed.

— Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu, The Book of Forgiving, p. 178-179

Healing Shame

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive. Self-compassion is also critically important, but because shame is a social concept — it happens between people — it also heals best between people. A social wound needs a social balm, and empathy is that balm. Self-compassion is key because when we’re able to be gentle with ourselves in the midst of shame, we’re more likely to reach out, connect, and experience empathy.

— Brené Brown, Daring Greatly, p. 75