“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized.”
Haim G. Ginott, Teacher and Child Psychologist
Affirming All of YOU!
Think about times you felt your life was great. Chances are someone affirmed you on all cylinders; they received your words and ideas, grasped your over-arching perspective (while suspending judgment and the need to change you) and they named and honored your emotions. How rare is this experience for many.
“If we believe in the rebirth of our civilization…then clearly this renaissance must begin in the chambers of our own hearts…We cannot wait for society to change, or for our institutions to be renewed. We, as individuals, must assume responsibility for our own personal transformation.”
— Georg Feuerstein, Mystic
We Are Missing Vital Wisdom
When we do not value emotions and are not present to them, we lose access to informed wisdom, crippling our ability to respond; to be response-able! Here’s an example. I recently met a young woman who described a situation of great personal pain. She shared she was grieving and had even attempted suicide. She described her father, who loved her deeply, but who encouraged her to put her emotions behind her and let go of them because they were robbing her of peace and joy in the present moment. This woman was deeply confused by this advice and suffered as a result of it because she felt shamed she could not suppress her feelings. She was seeking validation her feelings were not only ok but could be honored and permitted.
Breathe and Open
Years ago I was trained in leading personal growth retreats in which participants entered a deep dive into dark places from their past that kept limiting beliefs unconscious and beyond the light and transformation. As protections lowered and emotions rose, people holistically experienced positive change. One of the most valuable practices I learned was to recognize this rise of feelings and to physically embrace them while refraining from patting their backs or otherwise attempting to comfort or shift their feeling state. I learned to simply remain present and to open to my own vulnerability while being with theirs. I learned to recognize an attempt to block feelings by holding the breath and what to do to help people enter emotional presence with themselves through my open-heart, open breathing, and open embrace. In fact in order to be with them, I had to tap into places in me that could relate to the same feelings in them and by opening, guide them to breathe and open too.
Empathy vs. Sympathy
Many of us have been taught to fear and disdain the opening of our hearts, our bodies and our emotions. We have been taught to judge, spiritualize, intellectualize, and otherwise anesthetize emotions. What has been modeled and revered is being invulnerable, all knowing and intellectual despite the fact this very imbalance and expectation creates pain, separation and loneliness within individuals and in relationships. Researcher, author and speaker Brene Brown shares the power and importance of emotional presence and our hunger for empathy and authentic connection in her highly popular books and presentations. She says a radical thing about empathy vs. sympathy. She says, “Empathy supports connection. Sympathy drives disconnection. Rarely does a response or solution help.” What a bind we have been in within our families, schools and workplaces. It is the liberated feminine in us that values the unseen, irrational; the emotional. She opens and allows. It is the liberated masculine in each of us that provides the focus and courage to take the hand of the feminine within and work in partnership to achieve wholeness. He helps us choose head and heart so together we are a team supporting a needed rebirth of our civilization!
Why People Hire LifeWork Systems
Business owners, community leaders, and educators hire Judy Ryan and Lifework Systems because they want the advantages of an extraordinary workplace. For a limited time, Judy’s book, What’s the Deal with Workplace Culture Change? is available FREE at www.GetMyCultureBook.com You can also contact Judy at 314-239-4727 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article will be published nationally in The Women’s Journal, August/September 2016