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“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!

This article is published nationally in the column Emotional Intelligence in The Women’s Journal, August/September 2016 

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Business owners and executives, community leaders, parents, educators and individuals hire LifeWork Systems because they know that effective conditions and conversations make all the difference in building trusting relationships, achieving dreams, and creating solutions and innovations for our evolving world. When people are happy and responsible, emotionally and socially intelligent, confident, and appropriately seen, heard, and supported, they always exceed expectations. We help instill into every person common concepts, terms, tools, and processes that result in healthy, happy, caring and contributing individuals, teams and organizations. Our mission is to create a world in which all people love their lives!

We appreciate you being here on our website and encourage you to reach out to us directly at or  314.239.4727. May something we offered in this article and website help you love YOUR life ~ because YOU matter!

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