Everyone is fighting a battle“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” ~ Plato

“Really, everyone?”

15 years ago, that would have been my response to Plato.

Can you relate?

There are lots of people in the world who show their battles clearly. If you’re like me, you can find compassion for those types of people pretty easily.

But what about the people who have it all together?

Who look perfect, who have the perfect relationship, who seem to have everything they want easily?

Or, the people who boss everyone around?

Or, the people whose personality turns others off the moment they meet?

Is it possible to follow Plato’s direction with those folks, too?

The Silent, Herculean Effort

One type of person who I’ve had a hard time having compassion for is the one who is continually saying, “Everything’s great!”

My knee-jerk response in the past was, “Must be nice!”

But my view has changed after working with many people like this as clients.

They are actually working incredibly hard to maintain their ideal-looking life.

They show up at my door when that effort has become overwhelming.

When I say to them, “You accomplish everything you set your mind to, but it’s very hard work, and it’s getting harder all the time,” they usually sigh heavily and agree.

Often, I’m the first person who has ever recognized their struggle to keep what doesn’t feel good under control and work like crazy to keep everything together.

And, they usually tell me that they didn’t even see how hard they were working until it started to feel impossible.

From that, I have found compassion for those who don’t yet realize that they are fighting some kind of battle, as well as those who feel the struggle but just don’t show it to the rest of us.

When Panic Turns Ugly

Another kind of person who hasn’t seemed to need my compassion is the know-it-all, win-at-all-costs type.

A friend who fits that bill gave me great insight into his internal battle one day.

I had seen him completely take over a situation in a way that wasn’t appropriate.

When I asked why he did it, his answer really surprised me.

He said he felt unsure of himself and he panicked, and that his response to panic is to take over.

When I panic, I get quiet and try to take care of everyone around me, so the idea that someone would do exactly the opposite was a revelation.

As a result, I view people who are dictatorial or super-competitive in a much more compassionate way now.

The Compassion Lens

To understand other people’s battles, I have found it helpful to look through the lens of Learned Distress®.

It’s the fear that there’s something wrong with us being just the way we are.

We all absorbed this feeling early in life and it becomes the source of moments that don’t feel good to us.

Everyone…really, everyone…is walking around with the fear that there something wrong with them.

That has given me entirely new perspective on everyone I meet.

The Compassion Question

When I see people behaving negatively these days, I stop and wonder to myself, “What fear is driving them in this moment?”

Is it that someone might see they aren’t perfect?

That their current situation is straying beyond the boundaries of what feels safe to them (even if it seems completely innocuous to me)?

That if this particular situation doesn’t fit their ideal, that the world might fall apart?

Even if I can’t figure out the specifics, I find it incredibly helpful to say to myself, “Oh! They’re just scared!”

What sorts of people do you have a hard time understanding or having compassion for?

I hope this lens will give you a little insight into their struggles, so that even if you don’t know what it’s like to be them, you can find a bit more kindness in your heart for them.

The world can use all the kindness it can get right now.

You have my permission to use and share this lens as often as you like!

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Why Change Is So Darned Hard

by Sara Avery on August 2, 2014

Why change is so hardAre you working really hard to create good change for yourself, but not seeing much change?

Do you still wake up day after day feeling the same?

Are you stuck in the same situations?

The same kinds of relationship dynamics?

Do you do all the right things, but never see the promised results?

I hear this all the time.

Why is the change we want so hard to achieve?

To answer that, we have to look at what is being threatened by change.

Is it that you just don’t like change, as people like to say?

Is it that you are so stubborn or just plain dumb that you can’t see how much better life would be?

Nope!

The Inner Force That Resists Change

Your survival mechanism puts up an almost impenetrable wall to change.

In a very real and primal way, part of you feels that you will die if you change.

But how can this be true?

Rationally, you know that the change you’re working for is beneficial. Critical, even.

But, the rational, thinking part of your brain is not what stores this survival mechanism.

So, you can’t reason with it about change (or anything, for that matter).

Your Survival Storage Bank

Your survival mechanism resides within your sense of self.

It stores how you feel about being yourself (as opposed to what you think).

This part of your brain is 2½ years old.

That’s when it stopped developing and started to build around itself a wall of resistance to change—to make sure that your mechanism for staying alive stays intact.

Your Survival Mechanism Is Literally Unreasonable

Think of it this way. . .you’ve seen those news stories about an abused baby who is taken from her abusive parent and placed in a loving and nurturing home.

You know that she will be much better off in her new home, right?

But she clings for dear life to the person who has abused her. Why?

Because she has no rational, thinking capacity yet, there is no way to reason with her about this change.

The only survival she’s ever known is that abusive parent.

The same is true with your sensory brain.

It will hold onto the pattern of survival you absorbed early in life, even though you see rationally that this survival mechanism has meant that things only got harder for you.

Life has either gotten worse, or it has become harder and harder to make good things happen.

Right?

There’s Good News

Through 20 years of research, Quanta Change founder Mimi Herrmann figured out a way to break through the wall of resistance to change.

Quanta Change gives you a way to tell your sense of self that the change you want really is safe and good for you.

Even better, this process uncovers the natural well-being that has hid beneath your survival mechanism all this time

That’s right.

The source of the change you want is actually within you and just waiting to be uncovered.

Your Leap of Faith

I know.

You’re thinking, “Yeah, right. Just something else that will fail me.”

That’s what I thought when I talked with Mimi the first time, too.

But, I took a deep breath and gave it a shot.

And, that has made all the difference.

That’s what my clients say, too.

“I never believed I could feel good just being myself.”

“I never thought a relationship could work this well for me.”

“For the first time in my life, I feel a great sense of hope for the future.”

None of them believed these things were possible when they started Quanta Change, either.

Is it time for your leap of faith?

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Why You Just Can’t Stop Working

June 29, 2014

“Why do I feel guilty when I’m not working?” Sound familiar? Or, are you too busy to even think about it? Do you have fond memories of relaxing and having fun years ago? Or, are you lifelong workaholic? Have you struggled to create balance in your life? “Just separate work and home,” people tell you. […]

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Nothing has prepared you for this. Your parents are getting closer to the end of their lives, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Soon, you might have to reverse roles and become the authority in their lives. You may have to make tough decisions. . .ones they don’t like. You will watch […]

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Why “The Secret” Doesn’t Work (and What Does)

May 11, 2014

Has the Universe failed you? You watched “The Secret,” and their promises sounded so good. So, you’ve labored to change your thinking, to raise your vibration. You’ve done more affirmations than you can count. You’ve visualized. You’ve made vision boards. You’ve put what you really want out to the Universe. You’ve felt it. You’ve acted as […]

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How to Triumph over Defeatism

April 27, 2014

“Nothing ever works for me!” Have you ever said this to yourself? Maybe screamed it at the top of your lungs? Does it only happen in one part of your life, like career or relationships? Or is defeatism just the way life is for you? Have You Tried ________? Of course, you have. You’ve tried […]

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How to Face a New Challenge with Hope (Rather than Dread)

April 21, 2014

It’s important. You’re fully committed. And you have no idea how you’re going to accomplish it. Ever been there? What did you do? Panic? Frantically start researching? Beg a friend or mentor for help? Freak out for days, weeks, or months? Even years? Or, all of the above, like me? What Happens When You’re Faced […]

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How Dreams Can Conquer Your Biggest Challenges

April 13, 2014

What on earth was that about?! How often do you wake up from a dream and ask yourself that? Do you wonder why dreams are so bizarre, even when they make perfect sense while you’re asleep? Do you wonder how they might impact your waking life? What about nightmares? What are they about? Maybe you’ve […]

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The Truth about Unconditional Love

March 23, 2014

People say that love is a choice. That it’s something you do. Does this frustrate you as much as it does me? Are you exhausted from doing and choosing over and over and over? Are there people that you just can’t love, no matter how hard you try? Are there people who you would love […]

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Video: The Key to Moving Beyond Co-Dependence

February 23, 2014

In this short video, I explore the common characteristics of co-dependence I see in my practice, the root cause of this relationship challenge, how we can address it most effectively, and what life is like when we start to move beyond it. Enjoy!

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