When my kids were young I just wanted them to be happy. When they were crying, agitated or sad, I immediately attempted to fix whatever was troubling them. I scrambled to change their focus and turn their attention to something positive. I would reassure them that everything will be better soon and it will all turn out okay. In fact even now as a parent of adult children, I still struggle with wanting to fix their problem.
There is nothing wrong with the desire to bring relief to someone who is suffering. It’s a natural response. However, insisting that a person come out of their immediate experience and into the one you believe they ‘should’ be having can be more damaging than helpful. Remember, “fixing” has a lot to do with what remains uncomfortable within YOU. You can’t keep your child or anyone else from being upset. Continue reading “Expressing Empathy”
We all experience feeling stuck from time to time in our lives. It is natural to experience these impasses. Either we encounter them at the end of something; a change or a transition in our lives, or we simply become stuck in a feeling. We find ourselves retreating. I like to call it cocooning. Either way, we get caught in uneasiness, self-doubt, avoidance, and confusion about ourselves and our future.
In his book, “Getting Unstuck”, Timothy Butler describes the fact that impasse is developmentally necessary. He believes that impasse is an internalized notion of inadequacy, and a request for us to change our way of thinking about ourselves. The impasse starts with feeling stuck and ends with finally taking action.
When we find ourselves in the midst of an impasse, it means that we need to rework our approach, and adjust the things we say to ourselves. Old recurring feelings of anger, shame, self-doubt may have crept in. What identity or familiar feelings do you get caught in? It may feel like a comfort zone but it really becomes our stuck point and not very comforting.
When we find ourselves stuck in an uncomfortable emotional loop, there is something inside us that is being ignored.
To get back on the path where everything seems to flow with ease, it’s essential to face reality for all of what it is, and is not. With acceptance, understanding and clear seeing, we give the stuck feelings space to move, dissolve or step out from the loop.
Ask yourself ‘how’, ‘what’ and ‘when’ questions. Do not ask yourself ‘why’. ‘Why’ questions are guesswork and keep you in your head.
Perhaps you can ask yourself some of the following questions:
- “What are the thoughts I am thinking that keep me in a stuck mode?”
- “What benefit do I get being in my stuckness?”
- “What are my personal worries and fears?”
- “What can I begin to say to myself to over ride my personal worries and fears?”
- “By staying stuck, what am I taking away from myself?”
- “What good qualities am I ignoring in my stuckness?”
- “What am I grateful for?”
- “What are the things I enjoy?”
- “How can I encourage myself?”
- “What specific things can I say to myself to activate good-feelings?”
- “How will I take responsibility for choosing what action is next?”
- “What specific actions can I do to build my confidence?”
- “When will I decide to take these actions?”
With a strong dose of listening, a seed of inspiration can begin to grow. Gather your inner victory team together. Join forces with your strengths; the feel-good feelings. Align with your goals and core values. Build inner-reliance and inner-cooperation. With your inner support team you can balance your strengths with your fears and weaknesses.
In the movie, “A Beautiful Mind”, Nash says, “I still see things that are not here. I just choose not to acknowledge them. Like a diet of the mind, I just choose not to indulge certain appetites.”
Let’s not indulge our self-doubt. Agree to go beyond your insecurities and weaknesses, and nourish your personal strengths and uniqueness. “The only thing greater than the power of the mind, is the courage of the heart.” Begin to embark on the idea of saturating your mind with the good stuff of the heart.