Applying acceptance and compassion can help you begin to shift negative responses to change. Pema Chodron, the American Buddhist nun and author, writes about both in her book, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times:
“Compassionate action is a practice, one of the most advanced. There’s nothing more advanced than relating with others… To relate with others compassionately is a challenge. Really communicating to the heart and being there for someone else…means not shutting down on that person, which means, first of all, not shutting down on ourselves. This means allowing ourselves to feel what we feel and not pushing it away. It means accepting every aspect of ourselves, even the parts we don’t like. To do this requires openness, which in Buddhism is sometimes called emptiness — not fixating or holding on to anything. Only in an open, nonjudgmental space can we acknowledge what we are feeling. Only in an open space where we’re not all caught up in our own version of reality can we see and hear and feel who others really are, which allows us to be with them and communicate with them properly.”
As Chodron stated, compassion is a practice. So is acceptance. This means they are not second-nature, so be patient with yourself in this process and, in time, it will get easier. These tools, once instilled, will continue to see you through each life transition you encounter with less distress and more grace according to Meredith Watkins, Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Editor of RecoveryView.com.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach in Agoura Hills, CA. She is the author of “The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery” and Life Coach/Pychotherapist on Celebrity Rehab on VH1.
A few decades ago, scads of people searched in earnest to “find themselves”. The general public dismissed this as a lot of hippy hooey. How does it happen that “you” have wandered away such that travelling to relocate yourself is necessary? How do you recognize yourself when you get there? Will you be holding a sign with your name on it, like an airport driver?
These kinds of misinterpretations greeted the seekers and pushed them into the “we’re-not-sure-what-to-do-with-you” category, where at least they would all be together, less likely to stir up mischief among the “civilized” world.
But perhaps this movement was actually tapping into something truly integral to the human experience. The very thing Socrates described when he stated, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
It seems there are a lot of unexamined lives stumbling around these days, bumping into each other, and feeling very isolated from all the other stumbling bumpers. Many of these “lost” souls have turned to various addictions–drugs, alcohol, eating disorders–to avoid confirming their worst fear: “Deep down, I really am a terrible person, devoid of worth, not deserving of love.”
Meredith Watkins, Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Editor of RecoveryView.com states, “In my work with people suffering from addictions, what strikes me most is this lack of self-awareness and fear that their true identity is inherently flawed, beyond repair. Overcoming this belief and replacing it with a more accurate, positive and healthy one is sometimes the greatest challenge in our work–and the most important.”
Start to ask questions, such as “What things are really important to me and why?” What do I want? How would my life look if I believed differently? What you believe informs what you do. And your actions all have natural reactions or consequences that make up your experience of life. Isn’t that worth a closer look?
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach and author of “The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery” and Life Coach on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew on VH1.
2 Moms and a Mic ?2 Moms and a Mic
Get Ready as I join 2 MOMS AND A MIC August 4, 2010 tune in 1400 KKZZ.com .
You’ve heard the term before. “Shopaholic.” The reference is usually to someone always on the hunt for a new item, a bargain, or the quest to have the latest and the best. But <em>oniomania</em>–the clinical term for this behavior–is no joke. One in 12 people in the United States struggle with this disorder. Of those affected, 80-90 percent are women.
Read some of my thoughts on the subject: