Sober Night at the Bar!

A suprising view on ANGER, SHAME, and EMPATHY

Self-Acceptance Project
Session 6: Understanding Empathy and Shame with Karla McLaren

In this interview Karla McLaren speaks about ANGER, SHAME, AND EMPATHY in a totally new light that I found insightful and refreshing.  I love how she points out that EMOTIONS serve as guides. They are there to tell me how I think/feel about the situation, what my standpoint is, what’s important to me, what my values are.  Emotions serve a very important purpose. However I believe many of us, myself included, haven’t been taught how to listen, understand, and properly use our emotions. Usually we run and hide from emotions, push them away, try to ignore them.  By ALLOWING an emotion to fully surface, we can learn from it, the emotion can help us discover what’s important, what the next step is,  and how to best take care of myself in a moment. Allowing our emotions is in line with other Self- Compassion research that advocates for fully accepting ourselves as we are.  The coaching model I am studying also emphasizes the importance of feeling our emotions, letting them rise to the surface and express themselves, in a safe way, so that we may understand this life more deeply.

Karla touches on how ANGER  helps me identify my ‘self’, what’s important to me, what MY VALUES are.  Historically speaking, I don’t consider myself an ‘angry’ person. When asked what I am angry about, I was unable to come with anything. I became suspicious of this and began to look deeper.  Where might anger be living in my being… and leaking out in destructive ways that I am unaware of.  Hearing Karla talk about anger this way supports the inquiry I have around my relationship to anger. And I have in fact noticed its role in exactly the way she mentions.  A friend and I were discussing how companies will conceal some of the ingredients in their products (What IS Florida Orange Juice? 0 trans fats PER SERVING doesn’t mean 0 trans fats). If a company has to LIE about their product in order to sell it, what does that tell me. I want to buy products that a company is PROUD of, feels good about selling.  My friend was taking the more shoulder-shrug stance of ‘that’s how things are in this world.’ I felt a deep energy rising. IT’S NOT HOW IT HAS TO BE!!!  I let myself get loud (without yelling AT this person, just for myself). And realized that as a consumer it’s soooo important to me to buy products from people who believe in their product! AND that I believe that CHANGE IS POSSIBLE in this world.  This surge of anger for the current system, and a typical current response to it… showed me my OWN values. And I feel good about this. And it felt good to get loud for once…

Thank you anger for serving your purpose. You are welcome to come again.

Karla also presents a positive perspective on SHAME. The core of her message is in line with what Brene Brown speaks about, but she comes from a different angle. When shame is operating functionally in a healthy-minded individual, it has a purpose.  I interpret it as our ‘conscious’.  The feelings/thoughts that come up to remind me what’s important to me. What are MY morals, rules, what are MY VALUES.  Instead we feel shame for things that aren’t actually important to us. Or shame is operating out of whack based on the messages we got as children. I can turn shame for over-eating into ‘eating only what I need’ is a value of mine.

EMPATHY for others is a beautiful thing, until we forgot who we are. Getting in touch with what I WANT, what are MY VALUES, helps me return to myself and then love myself more easily.  It’s okay to turn the focus to myself and away from others at times. I can best serve others when I have best served myself. Historically speaking, Saying ‘NO’ , or setting boundaries was hard for me. I want to please, I want to be accepted, I want the other person to feel comfortable.  However,  sometimes I need to put the other person’s feelings aside for a moment and make sure I’m in touch with what best serves ME in this moment.

 

HOW CAN I ALLOW MY EMOTIONS???

A mindfulness practice helps: a practice that helps one become more AWARE of their surroundings, actions, and most importantly, their inner being. Being in touch with the present moment is key, for that is where the emotion arises. When I feel emotion/energy rising, I stay present with it, I tune into my bodily sensations and relax the body. I focus on the breath. I stay still. I notice my thoughts. All of this instead of pushing forward quickly into a certain action or thought. Stay with the moment, pause.

A mindfulness practice can be meditation, movement, or something else.  I find getting coached provides a safe supportive space for me to do this. I think therapy may do this do. I’ve also found that calling a friend and telling them what I’m going through is helpful. Especially when I don’t want to do this.  I found that this is a vulnerable moment for me, it’s been difficult to admit I’m struggling. However, once I do open up and share, it’s usually very relieving, and supportive.  ❤

Link

The Self-Acceptance Project

The Self-Acceptance Project

23 interviews (30-45mins each)

“In this FREE online video event series, Tami Simon speaks with several contemporary luminaries in the fields of spirituality, psychology, and creativity to explore insights and practices for living with a sense of your own fundamental worthiness.” (From the website)

SO amazing that people are dedicated to sharing knowledge and helping people, for free!  I’ve listened to half a dozen of these so far and found them very insightful.  Nice to have on when I’m cleaning my room.

Light-Hearted Self-Love

Wow another path to the same point.

Yann uses love between couples as the basis of his talk and says that we are a culture obsessed with being desired, and have largely turned to buying material goods, and appearing perfect, in order to be valued. He points out that if I think I need OTHERS to value me in order to be valuable, I’m assuming that I am NOT inherently valuable. Yes this makes sense. Not exactly sure how he gets to the next point from here… but what he concludes with is the idea that what we need is TENDERNESS, and ACCEPTANCE OF OUR WEAKNESSES. And we can do this through a “poetry of deliberate awkwardness” , or “self-mockery”.

Again we see an argument for accepting our imperfections, loving our ‘weaknesses’, being tender with ourselves. I love how he comes at it from this humorous, self-mockery angle. I translate this as first being honest with where I’m at, looking at myself closely, then being able to bring this to the table for myself or in a relationship in a light-hearted way. No big deal! This is where I’m at, I can accept it and laugh about it.

Very cool. Thank you Yann. You’re adorable.

Video

Bubbly Berry Blastoff! A Maiden Mimosa

Bubbly Berry Blastoff! A Maiden Mimosa

This morning my housemates were having mimosas. It actually sounded realllly good. Hmmm. Once I remembered I had leftover Apple Cranberry Cider from Valentines day, I began rummaging through the fridge to see what I could come up with. This is what happened!

Bolthouse Farms Acai +10 Superblend
Martinelli’s Apple-Cranberry Cider
Dollop of Elderberry Syrup (Immunity Boost!)
Squeeze of Lemon
Couple friendly raspberries (That tasted delicious at the end)

Super healthy immunity boosting energizing tasty virgin mimosa, yay! I’m seriously ready to blast off into this day wooo!

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<3 Love. The End. AND…..

I am passionate about Self- Compassion!!!  In fact I almost feel dogmatic about it.  To love and accept myself completely, to be kind and forgiving to myself, to take actions that support my highest good…. relating to myself this way feels like the ‘right’ thing to do, it feels intuitively ‘correct’.  (I put these words in quotes because I’m not convinced that right/wrong exists in any concrete way- the real question being: Does it serve me?) YES it serves me to love myself. I find that well-being, transformation, joy, connection, discovery all flow from a place of self-love.  AND Kristin Neff’s and others’ research shows the incredibly positive results of self-love.  AND ancient teachings speak about the importance of self-compassion.

When I am loving myself I can more fully love my life and others.  The thing is…. self-compassion is not about waiting until I “get it together” to love myself.  (Once I have a better job, I will really love myself/my life. Once I pass this course, I will really love myself.  Once I get my eating habits under control, I will really love myself. Once I know more, I am worthy of being loved by others.) ACTUALLY- when I love myself RIGHT NOW, when I accept and honor myself RIGHT NOW…. I am more able to blossom.

Since I don’t believe that I can ever REALLY know that something is ‘THE WAY’, I’m really curious how self-compassion may NOT be one of the most important truths of all time. Yes, it serves me right now, and seems to serve a lot of people right now, and perhaps is what the human-species needs right now for evolution. Maybe that will change some day…. but then again, I don’t think so (not in this universe anyway)! Because I think LOVE is somehow parallel  to gravity and the forces that hold this universe together! There are forces that hold my body in one mass, hold me to the earth, the earth to the sun, the stars in their place, atoms together.  This force, this pull, this attraction principle… is a foundation of our entire universe. Attraction, pull, forces….. connection…. we’re all connected… when I feel ‘love’ I feel deeply connected to self and others… it all seems related. LOVE SEEMS TO BE THE FOUNDATION OF THE UNIVERSE.

Yes broad sweeping general claims about the universe with no significant evidence/explanation. This is not a carefully planned experiment. These are my rambling thoughts. That FEEL so right!! What the heck am I doing here. How did I end up on this planet, in this body, seeming to have this experience? Love. The end.

Thus, I can turn to love (whose seed is in self-love) as a guide in this human experience.

I often wonder about ‘ultimate truth’.  For a while it seemed most logical/intuitive that I will never REALLY know what’s ‘going on’ here. Now I feel like…. love is going on here. Not that that totally answers all the questions.  But I have this sense of… when I am deeply in the place of ‘love’… then I will be in a place of ‘all-knowing, all understanding.’ There will be no more question. I will just ‘be’ and that will make all the sense. And that when I die… I return to this place.  And I am here now… to play and experience. To take love to the park.

So I really question this feeling of ‘oh okay, I get it’.  Seems dangerous. I certainly don’t totally get how to be in the place of ‘love’ all the time, though I am getting better at it.  But it just seems like I am here to learn how to be in the place of ‘love’ all the time. That’s it, the end.

REALLY?

P.S.

Here’s Kristin Neff’s website, with wonderful lecture on her self-compassion research, as well as other resources.  I am turning this post into a Self-Compassion Series and will follow up later with the other topics I spoke of in the video.

Wow, having a blog feels messy right now! Am I doing it most effectively? How can I do it better? These thoughts are often swirling, and I move forward anyway! I am trusting that over time it will take a more defined shape. I am excited to be in the experiment of creation, allowing my imperfections. A part of me wants to spend weeks and weeks on each entry, getting it just right, so it makes the most sense. Instead, I am keeping the train moving!  Trusting trusting that it is serving its purpose and will evolve over time.  Its purpose? I LOVE the exploration of the human experience and well-being and want to share my journey with others.  This blog gives shape and form to research that I find personally fulfilling. Why share with others?  Because I feel so passionately about transforming myself and helping others do the same.  If this can help one other person,, in one small way, I am overjoyed.

And now…. Kristin Neff. You go girl. ❤

Kristin Neff. Self-Compassion Research and Resources. Watch: The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion. ❤

Embracing Vulnerability

Vulnerability
Come to me
Where do you live in thee?
Is it the way I shy from challenge,
Getting stuck in what (I believe) unworthy?
Is it when I stand still,
Instead of dancing like a monkey?
Is it when I see someone who inspires,
And shy like just another sheep?
Vulnerability
Let me step into you lovingly
Allow my sweet and wild self
To be explicitly seen.

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