Compassion is the antidote to all suffering
Also published on MetroLivingZine
Well this article has taken me a lifetime to write. It really amazes me as I said in an earlier article that as soon as I have an idea of what I am going to share with you it shows up in my life, and this time I don’t mean it showed up lightly, but showed up more like a bull in a china shop, so to speak.
I have used every skill in my toolbox to manage myself in hopes of influencing the situation towards a positive outcome and not create a train wreck.
In fact you might even say I really learned what it means to be “Fiercely Accountable”
It is one thing to learn cognitively what one values, believes and understands about the principles that are important to achieve success, or create happy relationships and a harmonious balanced life, but to actually apply those principles when faced with adversity or conflict is the real test, and does require some real ‘Radical Responsibility” At least it did on my part and also required some integrity to stay in the fire when I actually wanted to run away and hide.
I learned a lot in the past few weeks about myself and feel very humbled and full of gratitude. I don’t feel I would have any right to coach anyone if I had not experienced real human challenges and experienced first hand the huge benefits that can be achieved in life by integrating the 5 Communication Principles that come from connecting with ones own heart, integrity and authenticity. As humans our prime motivator is to love and be loved, and when that is threatened in any way it can seriously test our resolve to remain compassionate, curious and conscious and not dissolve into emotional chaos and fear.
We have been discussing over the past months the 5 Principles for Effective Communication that create successful relationships and we have been delving deeper into each principle and how to develop those abilities and the actions it takes to use them in ones life.
So far we have whittled away at Consciousness and are still learning about Compassion. This week I learned how to use every possible skill I have been taught and integrated into my life over the years and really understood one of the most important aspects of Compassion. Compassion really is the antidote to all suffering
How so, you might ask? Well let me share how so………………
We all want to feel loved, liked, appreciated, valued by our partners, families, colleagues, however as humans we also experience conflict and upset at times.
It is part of the human condition after all, but it is how we manage those challenges that define us to ourselves and to others. My idea of being Radically Responsible means that for me, I show up with heart, authenticity, honesty, integrity, humility, grace and dignity. I do my best, fall down a lot and pick myself up to do my best another day.
This is a story about the process of reaching a compassionate place in the face of conflict. I think it is fair to say that most of our suffering can be linked to our:
- THINKING-We shouldn’t believe everything we think because our minds create stories about the meaning of events based on our own histories, learning, judgments, social values, assessments, upbringing, attachments and pre-conceived ideas that have become ingrained neural networks that are hardwired in our brains and are what causes our automatic responses. The interesting part about that is; what you believe is true, is not necessarily true. We create stories by filtering external events through our own experiences and we come up with a conclusion we believe to be true. If we believe that conclusion, whether it is positive or negative, that becomes our truth and is where a lot of our joy comes from, but also a lot of our suffering. We only create feelings based on what we think. Hear that again if you will
“we only create feelings based on what we think”
Your feelings are never wrong but your thinking might be less than optimal. Use your feelings like clues to discover what you are thinking. Pretend you are a detective on a hunt to solve the mystery of what you really think. I have learned over many years to let my feelings guide me to clarity about what I am really thinking and then I can assess if it is really accurate or if I am misguided in some way. The other part of our thinking that can get us in deep ‘do-do’ is believing that anything means anything about us, or in other words taking it personally. Nothing anyone says or does really means anything about you and is only their interpretation, through their own filters and life experiences.
I love this quote “don’t believe everything you think” so am learning to really look at what I think so I can decide for myself if there is any truth in what is happening around me.
- FEAR. Fear shows up in conflict by upsetting our emotional balance, disturbing our peace of mind, causing us to go into fight or flight mode, our hearts to race, insecurities to show up, childhood wounds to activate, hearts to hurt, defenses and walls to go up. When this happens it is nearly impossible to respond rationally because our brains are telling us there is danger to our wellbeing and safety. Ultimately safety is one of nine of our most primal needs in life.
When we feel hurt and upset, wounded and defensive, and are suffering, we are usually afraid of one thing. We are afraid of not being loveable, liked or accepted.
Conflict usually shows up as criticism, blame, rejection, accusations, name-calling, projections and the FEAR that shows up is that we aren’t safe and that some of it might be true. This again comes down again to what we are thinking and what we believe.
“If you have a sincere and open heart, you naturally feel self- worth and confidence, and there is no need to be fearful of others-Dalai Lama”
This is where my story starts, and it is important to know that usually, I am a happy, “wear my heart on my sleeve” kind of gal, however occasionally when faced with someone else’s upset randomly projected my way I can became quite unhinged, feel hurt, compassion flies out the door and it can be a while before I get around to some rational thinking and feel more grounded again. I can be “so not” Dalai Lama-ish and am human after all.
I sometimes still filter events through my own challenging experiences from childhood, can become easily shocked, wounded and scared out of my mind.
When I feel accused, judged or criticized I can usually remain grounded and not pulled off centre but sometimes, only sometimes, I am vulnerable to emotional invaders and from my childhood self I wonder if what they say is true and I almost believe it as the universal truth, and on and on my mind goes pulling all the evidence through the lens of all my life experiences from childhood with an abusive alcoholic parent, through my challenging teen years and my experiences with critical parents and partners and I can become completely unhinged me, take it personally and feel hurt. Our brains become hardwired to respond in the way we did when trauma first happens and is why it is so hard to manage ourselves once we are re-triggered. It is essentially the same neuro-wiring as PTSD.
Luckily the unhinging only lasted for a day or so, because I did one really important thing, something I have never done before, something even after all the years of counseling training I still did not understand, after years of thinking about others first, always trying to resolve things immediately because I was afraid if I didn’t work things out my world would not be safe, I would lose love and connection with those that were important to me and that includes people personally and professionally.
I care about those in my life, I want people to like me and there in is where I sometimes get myself into trouble by being over-responsible and driven to have peace and harmony.
This time I knew I needed to do something radically different than I have done in the past, because this was some serious shit going on. This is not a story about what happened but is about how I managed in the midst of trauma and hope that you too will see the wisdom and benefit I am sharing with you when you feel triggered and upset. This is about the principles one needs to action for more peaceful loving relationships.
So instead of how I would normally manage things, for the first time I gave “myself the gift of compassion” and with giving myself compassion first I gave myself time to work it out for me and not try to fix. I think in that moment I realized that the words Radical Responsibility and Fierce Accountability (still really loving those phrases) really mean honouring ones own truth and experience, owning what is, being deeply honest with oneself and others, rather than denying what is real and compromising oneself in the misguided need to be liked and approved by anyone.
I also realized that not everyone is going to like me and when I gave myself compassion for being human I allowed myself some room to process, how I felt, what I was thinking and what was true for me. I didn’t rush from my ‘fear to fix’ which would not have helped the situation.
Compassion is something I always give away to others. I am a Coach, Counsellor and Consultant after all and compassion is the foundation for my connection with everyone, personally and professionally. Compassion is my religion but what I never understood, never integrated, was I needed to have compassion for myself as much as I do for others. I needed to liberally bathe myself in compassion so I could heal my wounds, create some rational thinking and be able to be my best most authentic heart centered self, so I am ‘able and willing’ to resolve differences in the future.
When I had time to sit with how I was feeling and discern what I was thinking I could then ask myself some good questions:
- Was it true?
I realized what others believe is what is true for them, based on their own perceptions and experiences, and their reaction or beliefs have nothing to do with me. I am only a catalyst for someone’s experience as they are for me, and so on that note I chose not to take anything personally or project my history on that moment.
Really understanding that anyone’s opinion actually says more about them than me caused me be able to move slowly back into rational thought rather than emotional reactivity.
I do sometimes wish I had the ability to process faster LOL but that is where some more compassion came in and I told myself I am only human and can only do the best I can at any given time. I can’t fight the truth and pretend I am not upset, I have to “be with” being upset. So hard but I do believe that is why counselors and coaches are so invaluable as support. Most people have a real challenge with ‘being with’ how they feel and it can be invaluable to have someone to support you in some of those challenging processes.
- Did I believe their version of me?
I know cognitively that someone only has the power to hurt me if I believe what they say, and I came to the conclusion that I didn’t believe their version of me. They might, but I didn’t. When I realized that I could really only feel hurt and upset if I believed their version of me, and that I unequivocally did not agree with those assessments, I felt completely different and I returned to balance and contentment almost immediately.
Returning to our normal state of balance allows us to then be able to move into resolution with someone more effectively. For me it meant as I moved through a new level of Consciousness, I started again to feel Compassion, Curiousity, Courage and Commitment in the hope and intention of creating a more successful relationship going forward. It does take two people with the same intention and hope but that is my intention anyway.
“True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave negatively-Dalai Lama”
I am learning to trust myself more and hope that some of what I have written over the past months will support you to trust yourself, learn more about what it takes to Create Amazing Wonderful Relationships and help you in creating more Love, Happiness & Success in your life. Please read the other articles in the series from the links below if you are interested and do let me know what you think about my ideas, if you have tried implementing any of the principles or if you ever want to connect, ask questions or ask for support.
Next time we are going to look at how to be curious. Hint: it does NOT include the word Why.
And Now for Something Completely Different
Also published on MetroLivingZine
We are taking a break this week from our Creating Successful Relationships series Instead I have written a lifestyle list for HAPPY-NESS because relationships are really inside work and you are responsible for your health and happiness, no one else.
It can be a challenging concept to understand that relationships are inside work and I don’t mean just our love relationships, but all relationships. It is our own responsibility to make ourselves happy, follow our own paths to passion, creativity and fulfillment and not blame others for our unhappiness. All our connections teach us about ourselves and need us to grow into our best selves to flourish, so for a change lets look at ourselves, and what we can do to make ourselves happier.
Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony – Thomas Merton.
Happiness and living an inspired and conscious life can only be achieved if there is balance between the physical BODY, spiritual SOUL and emotional MIND.
BE committed, DO what it takes, to HAVE what you want-Choices International
RECIPE for a HAPPY LIFE
Get plenty of exercise, movement and fresh air. Men need a minimum of 3 times a week and women need up to 5 times a week of regular exercise. New studies have said we are healthier if we get 450 minutes a week of exercise which equate to roughly and hour a day. That is where walking a dog could help J
The benefits of exercise are widely known including physical and mental health on many levels. Our bodies are meant to move and express themselves. Movement keeps our hearts healthy, our weight in balance, our bones strong and creates endorphins for happiness, so if you want to feel better all the way around then start moving, whatever way feels inspiring to you. If you can’t manage to stay committed and need help, hire a coach, a trainer, get an exercise buddy or figure out what is stopping you. Exercise decreases depression, improves sleep, reduces stress and elevates self-esteem while building strong bodies, bones and strengthens immunity. So get out and Swim, Ski, Run, Yoga, Pilates, Dance, Cycle, Run, Walk, Hike………Doesn’t matter what it is “just do it” as the saying goes. Thank you Nike.
Eat healthier. Buy quality whole foods, cook responsibly for heart health and nourishment and then balance your caloric intake with your exercise. Don’t eat junk or processed food. Eat at regular intervals to maintain a healthy glycemic index and eat 3 -4 small meals a day over eating one large one only at night and don’t eat late at night. You are what you eat, or so the saying goes.
Drink water-5-8 glasses a day depending on your weight. Being dehydrated creates stress on the body so that your body does not run efficiently, builds up toxins, compromises digestion and creates fatigue.
Get sufficient rest. We are a sleep-deprived culture. About eight hours of sleep is the minimum for the body to repair itself. You may personally need more or less, as sleep requirements vary between people but we do need adequate sleep to achieve our fullest potential. Don’t drink caffeine before bed, eat heavy foods or engage in mentally stimulating activity. Let your brain calm down and keep the lighting low for an hour before sleep and sweet dreams.
Find time to relax. Just lie down, think positive thoughts, meditate or take up a relaxing hobby, socialize with people you love.
Do something creative. Pick a hobby or recreation that you enjoy as it will balance out daily stress. This is one of the most important aspects to happiness in my mind and is also one of the most important aspects for healthy relationships. It is vitally important to continue or find your creative centre for your relationships to thrive. When each person in any couple feels fulfilled creatively it will keep your relationship sparkling with enthusiasm and inspiration too.
Plan out your day and set goals. Remain flexible and try different approaches to your goals. Remember, sometimes life goes differently than you planned and you may not have time for everything. Just be productive in the time you have and do your best to not stress if you don’t accomplish everything just the way you planned. Perspective and positivity is important to ones well-being and sense of self-esteem. Formula for goal setting
S.M.A.R.T. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely
Find and develop your gifts and talents. Go out and try activities to find what you are good at and what you love and feel passionate about. We are all good at something
Keep a diary or a journal. This would be a good place to write things out, talk about your thoughts and feelings. Process life as it happens. It will give you a memoir to share when you are older.
Read. Try classics such as Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Montaigne, Proust, or Tolstoy. If you are not fond of those, try the newspaper, a fantasy novel, history, personal growth, bibliography, or mystery. There’s something for everyone- check out your local library or a bookstore. I love bookstores. So many books, so little time.
Think responsibly-You are what you think, whether you believe you can or you can’t, it is the truth. See more about THINKING
Learn something new every day-Whenever we learn something new, including new attitudes, perspectives, or behaviors, we are changing the physical structure of the brain.
Education. Be independent and self-supporting. Educate yourself, master the skills necessary for your advancement and ability to contribute. You will not be dependent upon anyone else and safety and security is a fundamental human need.
Appreciation makes you Happy. Money is not that important. Fulfillment and Purpose are the most important qualities to create happiness Remember rich people are no happier than average people. After ones basic needs are met people that have more money are not any happier than those without a lot of money.
Play, Laugh & then Laugh and Play some more
You can learn more about a man in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. It is essential to ones soul and physical well-being to laugh, play and be a kid again. Never lose your inner child.
Communicate effectively-see all about communication and the importance of effective communication on your happiness. Communication
Listen to others. There is difference between just hearing the words and actually paying attention, listening and understanding them.
Compassion is an essential ingredient to connecting with others and living a heart centered life.
Process-Be with yourself and learn what your feelings are telling you. Let them inform you of the deeper meanings. Before you react in anger understand that anger is only a secondary emotion and that the feelings underneath that inform us of needs and values that are being compromised. If we do not look within, we will go without. The wholeness of ourselves does not depend on our personalities but depends entirely on the awareness of our inner feelings.
Consciousness-“Don’t believe everything you think” but do know that to live consciously means using the wisdom of the heart and the power of the mind. Seek out like minded individuals, go to counselling, get a coach, have a growth buddy, support group, join groups, learn. It is our human journey to grow, heal and change.
Responsibility-be “respons-able” means be responsible for how you behave, how you react, are you choosing fear or love, are you bullying anyone or not asking for what you need and want, where are you not showing up, giving up, acting angry, hiding in confusion, not looking after yourself, abusing………,
Authenticity-Means to be genuine and honest about who you are in this world. It is way less stressful to be oneself at all times. “If you aren’t going to be you, who is?” Sometimes to be ourselves requires courage as we may face judgment or criticism but to live an authentic life is surely something to strive for as it is the foundation for purpose, happiness, love, fulfillment and success.
Purpose– Your purpose is who you were born to be and how you live every day. Find your purpose and everything else will fall into place. See Purpose…..
Career-To be happy, ones job has to be one you love. “Love it or Leave it” You spend more time at your job than anywhere else, so make sure it feels purposeful and fulfilling and then you will be more successful and happy. One of the most important decisions you can make that will define your happiness is your career choice.
Contribution Do good deeds for other people, share your gifts and expertise for the betterment of others
Connection-Connect with others, people you love and enjoy being around. Humans are a social animal and connection is an important aspect of our well-being. The second most important decision you make that impacts your happiness is choosing who to love and who will be your mate and partner.
Meditate-Meditation changes how your brain is wired and helps to reduce stress, increase awareness, lowers blood pressure and reduces anxiety and depression.
Commune with nature. Get outside, get fresh air, get outside with life and be part of nature. To do so is grounding and relieves stress.
Have Faith, Believe, Trust If you are religious, study, spend time with like minded people and spend time with others who challenge your beliefs. Learn what faith means to you and trust in something.
Add the key ingredient, LOVE and you have a recipe for a happy healthy life, personally, professionally, globally. That means to love yourself and others equally without judgment or fear. Love and Fear cannot coexist. It is a choice we make everyday. Ultimately, at our essence we are LOVE. We are not fear, or anger, or greed, or competition. As we continue to awaken, may we continue to grow in LOVE and exercise all that we are, in how we relate to ourselves, others and all living and non-living things on this planet. May we always focus on the solutions, rather than the problems, and truly be the change we wish to see.
Marriage & Relationship Coach & Counsellor
Personal & Professional Development Coach
cell: +44 7986 201914
Continuing on with the series I am sharing with you over the next few days and weeks on the key elements that are the foundation for excellent communication. I am hoping that you will be able to use the tools in some way that benefits you and makes a difference in your life.
The reason I believe communication to be so important and valuable is it the most relevant way we have to truly connect with others. Communication is made up of many parts, our words, how we say them, our body language and tone. If we all truly learn the Art of Positive Communication we will experience less conflict & misunderstandings in our lives and a lot more cooperation, appreciation and loving harmony, personally, professionally and globally. Communication is an equal opportunity skill that will improve our intimate relationships, create healthier families, communities will be more collaborative, corporate values will shift and nations more united.
I believe that excellent Communication is really all about lots of “C” words, Curiousity, Consciousness, Compassion, Connection, Collaboration, Control, Consideration, Care…….AND I thought of some new ones, Courage, Commitment, Confidence, Change, Character, Competence, Consistency……..
So what is it to be CURIOUS?
CURIOUS:[kyoor-ee-uhs] ADJECTIVE: eager to learn, understand or know; to be inquisitive, arousing or exciting speculation, interest, or attention through being different or unknown; an inquiring open mind interested & seeking to know and understand; to wonder.
Be curious with the open heart & mind of a child. Have you ever listened to a child who is curious about something? They are unequalled in their persistence to get the answers so they can understand.
I believe it is invaluable to be deeply interested in what another person is trying to express with no agenda other than to understand, and in turn being deeply curious about yourself, what you are feeling and what you need to express as well.
Being curious shows that you care, that you are interested, that how the other person feels is important to you and that they are important to you. While being curious you need to be able to listen without judgment or interrupting. Listening means to be silent and that your brain is entirely engaged with your partners experience and how they are feeling as they struggle to express what is going on for them, while also being mindful of your own feelings and responses. It is helpful to stop yourself from knowing anything and to not be in rebuttal mode. It means that you remain an open blank slate without making assumptions that you already know and understand what others are trying to express.
Curiousity means that you are remembering that none of what is being said is personal and it means you are LISTENING INTENTLY to what is being said, what is happening, what has caused the upset, what the other persons values are, what is important to them and how they want or need something to be different so they will be happier and your relationship will be better personally or professionally.
A need could be as simple as desiring more tidiness or as fundamental as wanting to feel more respected, but all worthy of our time, compassion, cooperation and collaboration to resolve.
GREAT LITTLE VIDEO-HAVE YOU SEEN IT “Remember it is NOT about the NAIL“
It is so important to check out what is going on for another person, make sure what you heard is what was intended, and do your best to understand what is important, what they need and are asking for. Curiousity builds trust if you are truly seeking to understand someone else with a compassionate heart.
If you can stay curious even in times of relationship stress, you are on the road to positive healthy relationships. Curiousity helps you stay present to what is happening, what is trying to happen and collaboratively decide what needs to happen going forward. Being curious about the people we are in relationships with, how they experience life, understanding and appreciating their perspective is the key to love in personal relationships and collaborative professional relationships creating an unbreakable bond of positive connection and mutual respect.
Questions can often times sound judgemental or like a criticism so it can be helpful to not use the word “why” but instead to use open questions that start with “what” and “how”:
What is that like?
How do you feel?
What is important about that to you?
What do you need?
Can you help me understand?
How can I help?
Love Mheyah ♥
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TRUE COLOURS FOR ANY OCCASION
True Colors is a model of personality identification that is easy to understand, remember and apply. With the colors of Blue, Gold, Green and Orange – True Colors distills the elaborate concepts of personality theory into a user-friendly, practical tool used to foster healthy productive relationships personally and professionally. Mheyah is a Certified True Colours facilitator with True Colours International.
The core of the True Colors system identifies intrinsic values, motivations, self-esteem, sources of dignity and worthiness, causes of stress, communication styles, listening styles, non-verbal responses, language patterns, social skills, learning styles, environmental motivators, cultural appeal, negative mental states, relationship orientation, and ethical behaviors. A True Colors training provides:
Increased understanding of self and others
Expanded appreciation for valuing differences
Avenues for a more harmonious, productive environment
Easy integration into existing organizational framework and previous programs
A universal language that accelerates problem solving, increases trust, and reduces conflict
GREAT FUN FOR:
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STAFF TEAM BUILDING
“I was a participant in one of Mheyah’s Group Facilitations of True Colours and she was brilliant. She easily and expertly led us to individual awareness, gave us practical context for improving our communication with others, and challenged us to use our new knowledge in a fun and enlightening exercise. Mheyah is a skilled facilitator committed to high impact outcomes and I am very happy to recommend her work to groups of all types.” Michele Soregaroli-Business Differentiation Coach, Transformation Catalyst
Christine Awram of WOW-Women of Worth, Winner of the 2012 Outstanding Leadership Award and nominated for the Governor General’s Award this fall says- Mheyah is an absolute rockstar!
“I don’t have words to express how pleased I am with how the evening unfolded. You are completely in your sacred gifts, doing this work and it was so much fun. Thank you from my heart for stepping in and making such a powerful difference. You’re amazing!”
Love Mheyah ♥
If you would like to connect. Book your discovery session below
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or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Work with Mheyah
We Help You Create Successful Conversations & Connections In All Areas Of Your Life So You Will:
- Manage Conflict & Differences positively
- Have More Loving & Harmonious Relationships
- Save your Marriage
- Be More Successful Professionally
- Feel Confident and have Fun Dating
- Feel Happier & More Content
- Have More Confidence In Your Abilities
- Enjoy More Understanding, Love & Appreciation
- Have A Respectful Passionate Connection & Deep Friendship With Your Partner
Change can be so much easier with a coach and I am committed to support, inspire encourage and collaborate with you to create the life you want.
With my support you will create new empowering beliefs & behavior patterns that inspire confidence and move you toward your goals, learn how to communicate effectively everywhere in your life so you feel confident and self assured in positive outcomes. Create a vision for your life and turn it into a reality . Eliminate self-destructive habits that are keeping you stuck. I look forward to connecting with you, Mheyah ♥
“I was a participant in one of Mheyah’s Group Facilitations and she was brilliant. She easily and expertly led us to individual awareness, gave us practical context for improving our communication with others, and challenged us to use our new knowledge in a fun and enlightening exercise. Mheyah is a skilled facilitator committed to high impact outcomes and I am very happy to recommend her work to groups of all types.”
–MS-Award Winning Business Differentiation Coach
Hello everyone. This is your mid-week hello and giving you a FREE GIFT to thank you all for connecting with me over the last few weeks.
PLEASE LISTEN TO MY VIDEO FOR YOUR FREE GIFT
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