Archive for the ‘Connection’ Category

The Choice of Empathy

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Empathy is a choice. And it’s a vulnerable choice, because if I were to choose to connect with you through empathy, I would have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling. In the face of a difficult conversation, when we see that someone’s hurt or in pain, it’s our instinct as human beings to try to make things better. We want to fix, we want to give advice. But empathy isn’t about fixing, it’s the brave choice to be with someone in their darkness — not to race to turn on the light so we feel better.

If I share something with you that’s difficult for me, I’d rather you say, “I don’t even know what to say right now, I’m just so glad you told me.” Because in truth, a response can rarely make something better. Connection is what heals.

If struggle is being down in a hole, empathy is not jumping into the hole with someone who is struggling and taking on their emotions, or owning their struggle as yours to fix. If their issues become yours, now you have two people stuck in a hole. Not helpful. Boundaries are important here. We have to know where we end and others begin if we really want to show up with empathy.

— Brené Brown, Dare to Lead, p. 142

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, January 15, 2019

Empathy

Monday, December 31st, 2018

Empathy is not connecting to an experience, it’s connecting to the emotions that underpin an experience.

— Brené Brown, Dare to Lead, p. 140

Photo:  Mission Bay, California, December 31, 2003

Liking Yourself More

Friday, November 23rd, 2018

As we have explained, you can feel connected whenever you want, simply by choosing to feel connected. You can even do it in your head, if your partner is unavailable. You can do it when you’re irritated with your partner just as easily as when you’re enraptured with him or her — if you truly want to. And why would you want to if he’s acting like a jerk or she’s being a nag? Well, for one thing, he’s less likely to act like a jerk if he feels connected to you, and she’s less likely to nag if she knows that you care about her feelings. But the more important reason is that you like yourself more when you feel connected to people you love than when you don’t. You like yourself more when you are nice to your partner than when you’re not. You like yourself more when you are true to the most important things about you than when you are not.

One of the most destructive phrases to emerge from modern therapy and self-help books is “getting your needs met” or its variation “What about me?” These little words, and the self-centered attitudes they represent, have done more to promote entitlement and resentment and less to nurture love, compassion, and connection than just about anything that has passed for relationship advice. They fly in the face of a known law of human interaction: You must give what you expect to get. If you want compassion, you have to be compassionate; if you want love, you have to be loving; if you want cooperation, you have to be cooperative; if you want appreciation, you have to be appreciative day by day.

— Patricia Love and Steven Stosny, How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, p. 210-211

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, December 26, 2014

Approach Mode

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

Fortunately, approach modes that include attempts to understand and appreciate are almost as contagious to our partners as avoid and attack modes. In other words, if you are interested in your partner, he or she is likely to become interested in you. But if you dismiss, avoid, or devalue, what do you think will be the likely response?

— Patricia Love and Steven Stosny, How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, p. 173

Photo: Gundersweiler, Germany, October 2000

It’s All About Connection.

Monday, September 17th, 2018

We communicate well with our intimate partners when we feel connected and poorly when we don’t. When you feel connected again, your desire to explore feelings with your partner will practically vanish. It’s a great combination: He’ll be able to do more of it, you’ll want less of it, and you’ll meet in the middle.

The bottom line is, think connection, not communication. Then you won’t shame him and he won’t make you afraid. Nor will he drive you away. Instead, he’ll fall back in love with you long before you walk out the door.

— Patricia Love and Steven Stosny, How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, p. 64

[Photo: Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania, March 17, 2012]

Choosing to Bless

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Our worry is a form of fear, and all fear comes from our attack thoughts. When we worry about someone, we have no confidence in them or the situation. Our worry says that negative things could happen, so we are using the power of our mind to create a lack of confidence in them and to allow fearful elements in the situation. Worry attacks the situation; choosing to bless it would help build the situation and those in it.

Today, every time you feel tempted to worry about someone or something, give your blessing. Your blessing is your trust and your positive choice for the best thing to happen for everyone in the situation.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love

[Photo: Falkenstein, Germany, April 27, 2000]

No Shortage

Friday, July 13th, 2018

There is no shortage of love; there is an abundance of it. The truth is that the more we reach out to strangers with love, the more love we will have in our own lives.

We each have the potential to love strangers because we are all connected.

— Lorna Byrne, Love from Heaven, p. 68

[Photo: Black Forest, Germany, September 27, 1997]

Feeling Worthy of Love by Loving

Friday, July 6th, 2018

What we lose as resentment builds in love relationships is a cornerstone of the sense of self: feeling worthy of love. In the beginning, love relationships make us feel lovable. Regardless of our faults and foibles, we feel worthy of the love we receive. What we don’t realize is this:

It isn’t being loved that makes us feel lovable; it’s loving.

It’s a hard distinction to see most of the time. Being loved makes it so much easier to be loving that we can easily miss which provides the greater boost to self-value. Unless you feel lovable, feeling loved will not feel good, beyond a shallow ego stroke. It won’t feel good because it inevitably stirs guilt for getting something you don’t really feel you deserve and, worse, the shame of inadequacy, because you don’t feel able to return the love you get. The wellspring of resentment in love relationships is blaming this guilt and shame on our partners.

— Steven Stosny, Empowered Love, p. 113

[Photo: Great Falls, Virginia, June 14, 2016]

Good at Stress

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

Embracing stress is an act of bravery, one that requires choosing meaning over avoiding discomfort.

This is what it means to be good at stress. It’s not about being untouched by adversity or unruffled by difficulties. It’s about allowing stress to awaken in you these core human strengths of courage, connection, and growth. Whether you are looking at resilience in overworked executives or war-torn communities, the same themes emerge. People who are good at stress allow themselves to be changed by the experience of stress. They maintain a basic sense of trust in themselves and a connection to something bigger than themselves. They also find ways to make meaning out of suffering. To be good at stress is not to avoid stress, but to play an active role in how stress transforms you.

— Kelly McGonigal, The Upside of Stress, p. 94

[Photo: Dunluce Castle, Ireland, July 2001]

A Lovely Light

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

We do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by teling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.

— Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water, quoted in Madeleine L’Engle, Herself, compiled by Carole F. Chase, p. 155

[Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 16, 2015]