A reminder to self…to keep it simple.
When you know your own mind, no one else can make it up for you or force you off course for lack of resolve or clarity.
Empathy sometimes misses the point. And that point is that we all need to evolve, to change for the better.
If you are too empathetic you don’t inspire or motivate the person desiring your empathy to change or find a way to help themselves.
If you lack empathy and rather want to be seen as practical and pragmatic, you can miss opportunities to improve your community and can even do harm.
True compassion is PRO-ACTIVE. It is forgiving, invites tolerance, but leads with a spark or an intense desire to see someone else’s outcome improve.
The best form of compassion takes that spark and feeds it with some practical measures or steps and actually lends a hand in building something better — something the recipient can work with and carry themselves.
One of the biggest lessons I had to learn was how to NOT do too much too soon for others when I was asked for help. It took a few too many times to figure out why I was doing that, so yes…painful, but the real challenge was to remain compassionate and open while modifying my reaction. It led me to a new service offering for parents involved in legal disputes, or what we describe as, “How to Be Your Own Best Advocate.”
Helping others learn how to advocate for themselves is rooted in my many failures, personal ones as well as the gestures made to others. While it does take more time, patience or flexibility, and often creativity, once you establish this pattern of empowerment and accountability, it will become easier, so think about your world:
~ children and step-children ~ married couples or single friends ~ clients ~
~ facing conflict / abuse, divorce, addiction, money / housing issues ~
We leave our world a better place by empowering others, especially our children, to create solutions and fix things themselves with tools we possibly provide or with tips we reveal. Then we watch them carry their new and improved self over the finish line. If you haven’t done this I suggest you try it – it is quite rewarding all around – and it creates confidence while decreasing co-dependency.
So, the next time you are tempted to JUST DO something for someone you feel sorry for, consider taking the extra time, using the extra creative effort and your last ounce of patience, to coach and coax them into figuring out a way to help themselves. This way compassion doesn’t have to collide or conflict with practicality and PROGRESS.
Trial and Error: we know how crucial this is to progress, for change to occur.
We’ve all tried to gain and retain power. Hopefully along the way we’ve realized that when you try too hard to control everything, to be the ONE in power and to use power for your own benefit, it’s just not enough. It backfires.
That is something that I had to learn. Being Type A and all…
Power comes from God and when we try to claim and use it ourselves, it becomes meaningless if not harmful. More backfiring than anything.
So why not share any sense of power that you have and see what happens?
Let someone else feel the sense of being in control of a situation, or the satisfaction of receiving credit or being in the spotlight. See what they do with it. You never know; you might just gain a greater sense of control and power by being the generous one and sharing what you know you possess.
It sounds like an uncertain proposition, but I can tell you that it works. Unless you are mostly concerned with appearances, that is.
If you are secure and confident, you’ll have no issue with giving someone else a chance to feel their own power, sense of security in their ability or status.
Try this at work, at home or with a challenging neighbor. Your children are different – they need to know you are in control and that they are safe and secure with you in charge and running interference, but you can still find ways to help them claim strength, confidence and realize that they, too, can own power and use it wisely. Show them how to empower and uplift others and you are giving them the priceless gift of owning power. You have to own it to be able to give it away. Giving to others puts you more in control of your universe.
Seeing change in others when you empower them or support their cause…whether you are doing this in the military for citizens of another country, as a teacher in middle school, or advocating for parents as an attorney or counselor, just know this is your gift to claim, feel good about and then pay forward.