Category Archives: Humans Are People Too (Relationships & Communication)

Venturing Outside the Echo Chamber

“Safety” in the Echo Chamber

The echo chamber is this awesome place where your thoughts are always validated, everyone in there with you thinks you’re a genius, and this warm, comfy blanket reassures you day in and day out that you’re safe.

But, word of caution, the price you pay for such a love-fest means you stagnate—you cease to learn and grow, and you might even become overly argumentative, or even hostile.

I guess that’s okay if you already know everything, but if you have a sneaky suspicion you don’t actually know it all, you might want to try to step out of the chamber for a minute.

Even though I knew so much (with good reason at the time), I have still been extremely lucky to have been well-rounded with friends with or without similar religious or spiritual beliefs to mine, from Mormons to Muslims to Buddhists to Atheists.

Being willing to openly discuss views and opinions with them has been wonderful to keep me growing, though up until a few years ago, I did so with my mind already made up. Even so, I wasn’t offensive and the seed for seeking truth in a bigger and better way than I had known before was planted.

Opposing Views

Surprisingly, social media influenced me during that time as well.

Getting out of your own echo chamber means having an opportunity to see another view, and maybe even changing your own.

For those who say you can’t change someone’s mind on social media, I say “BS!” My views on public breastfeeding totally flipped a 180!

To be fair, no one else could change my mind, but they did influence me to change my own mind!

With enough exposure to reasons for the opposing view, followed by a stranger’s suggestion to step back and honestly ask ourselves why we viewed it our way, I was able to discover “filter” I was seeing the situation through was completely off-base.

I’ve met others who have said their minds were changed through social media as well. Here is a fantastic example from a former member of the Westboro Baptist Church!

The key is to get out of our own echo chambers and be willing to understand another view, even if you still disagree in the end. If you can say, “I don’t agree with that but I understand why they view it that way,” then you’ve made it!

These connections with acquaintances or even strangers of different views can have lasting meaning.

Demographic Differences

Same when connecting with different demographics.

I have an amazingly open friend, with whom I relate on many spiritual and life experience levels, even though we have a big difference in age. Because of our similar mindful and universal law studies and practices, I recently assisted her in a Mindful Aging course she taught for people over two decades older than me.

Some similarities I appreciated were that I turn 40 tomorrow, a number I can’t even comprehend, and to see some of the concerns I have discussed so openly with them was extremely comforting and helped me shift my mindset around them. I can start now before I get to the age where they are just starting…

A surprise bonus connection was that one participant was caring for a spouse who had dementia, and she expressed the difficulty in not knowing who she was going to be interacting with from one moment to the next. Even though the circumstances were different, I related to her with my own experience with my ex and his multiple-personality-type behavior, which meant my asking “Who is it?” more times a day than I care to remember.

Between various views and demographics, when we leave our echo chambers with an open mind and heart, we soon learn we have a lot to gain from our differences, and we have so much more alike than we ever thought.

Share some of your own connection stories in the comments!

Don’t Get Mad, Get Empathy

When Being Yourself Hurts…

About three years ago I introduced my BFF to my favorite food, Indian buffet and since then, we have gone almost every week, with some exceptions.

Two weeks ago, we were sharing stories of struggle and triumph over vegetable korma and naan bread, then I said something that set him off.

To be clear, him “getting set of” just means he got on the defensive and said something that hurt my feelings. He doesn’t attack me verbally or otherwise, and if we get heated, he never crosses a line into name-calling, crazy accusations, or things he can’t take back. It’s pretty mild. It hurts, like any misunderstanding between friends, but we fix it and it’s over.

In the moment, though, it feels crappy, hurtful, mean, and I wonder if I can really trust him with my true self and my feelings.

We weren’t getting anywhere so we stopped talking and I wiped my tears and got up to get more food. When I returned, he told me why he thought he was upset. I understood his reasoning, but it didn’t compute with my reality and how hurtful what he had said to me really was, so I disagreed.

The Filter of “The Book of Law”

Then I remembered something I’ve been helping my clients become more aware of within themselves in order to better their own experiences in life…

Every person thinks, speaks, and acts based on their own filter created by the “Book of Law,” as Don Miguel Ruiz calls it in “The 4 Agreements,” that was programmed into them as a child and reinforced through the fact that every experience must validate that rule book, even if in your mind you know there is another perspective.

I looked at my friend’s handsome, uncharacteristically somber face and quickly gathered some facts I know about him in order to imagine what filter he may have been experiencing my original statement through.

Instantly, I was snapped out of my own hurt feelings and gained empathy for him. Whether I was right or wrong in my “guess” about why it bothered him so much didn’t matter, because I had come up with a scenario in which I could actually understand why he would react and in turn hurt my feelings.

(Variations of this skill can also be used to have empathy for an abuser, which kept me stuck in a harmful marriage—the key is to know when to use it and know when to walk away for the greater good. That is a topic for another time. To be clear, this is not an abusive situation, this is a misunderstanding among friends—no two people are coming from exactly the same perspective, so these things happen!)

I asked him, “When I said X, did it feel like Y to you? Is that why it bothered you?”

He thought for half a second, and confirmed.

I asked, “Okay, so you’re not upset I brought it up, it’s more in the way I said it, and had I said it this other way it would have felt different to you?”

He agreed again.

2-for-2—It Works Again

Earlier this week, I was talking to a family member who knows some private but pertinent information that led to my entire life turning upside-down. I am hurt and can’t understand why this person isn’t as affected by this information as I was. They are supportive of me, but clearly can’t understand where I’m coming from.

I remembered I had just had a great experience turning my hurt feelings around with my BFF, so I tried it again.

I merely took a moment to realize from that person’s perspective, they simply cannot afford to imagine a piece of information that conflicts with other information they have, which they firmly believe through undeniable means.

I was actually in that exact same boat, with the same former information, and with my own undeniable reasons to stick with it. However, when the new information was presented to me, it came directly from a person involved, a friend of mine… This personal connection FORCED me to look at the information, even though it created a conflict of two “truths” that can’t coexist, which fueled a living hell for me for a time.

My family member wasn’t told directly by my friend. They don’t even know my friend. So to my family member, it’s far enough removed they can ignore it. I can’t.

I can, however, put aside my own hurt feelings about my family member, because I understand their perspective—I would have reacted the exact same way just a few years ago.

Stepping into their “Book of Law filter” helped me to realize that it’s not about me, or them slighting me, or them not understanding me… It’s about them not being able to fathom this new information that conflicts with other information they would live and die for. And that’s it. No need for me to be hurt.

Even if I’m ever wrong in these filters I’m trying to uncover, the act of trying to come up with why their perspective would make sense, even if I still disagree, makes me feel better, and turns my sadness, pain, or anger into empathy and I’m over it!

It is that simple. At the very least it helps.

We talked more about the Book of Law in the context of being your own, authentic, real self without fear of judgment of others recently—download the Shine Without Fear audio here.

And if you’ve been wanting to change your Book of Law filter so you can make some big leaps, you might be looking for my Inner Circle: Ultimate Breakthrough program.

 

 

50 Shades of Grey and Love Balloons at Cinemark

50 Shades of Grey at Cinemark on Valentine’s Day—Make Love, not Abuse

Only one person flipped us off.

The vast majority of passersby honked, waved, or gave a thumbs up! We were not out there a minute when the first car that passed us honked in support.

Within five minutes, the coolest thing happened that solidified the tone of love for the rest of the hour and a half we stood at the corner of Cinemark’s south entrance and Tutt Blvd., displaying messages to raise awareness and show our support of love, not abuse.

Tanisha ~ Ask me about REAL LIFE with

 

Ask me about REAL LIFE with “CHRISTIAN GREY”

MANIPULATED consent is not the same as CONSENT

How do you define ABUSE?
(control, humiliation, force, unsympathetic, coercion, intimidation, manipulation, threats, jealousy, violence)

“Kinks” & “prudes” AGREE… ABUSE is not SEXY

FREE HUGS from a DVSA survivor

My original intent with my friend Phyllis was to stand closer to the movie theater so we could create dialogue with moviegoers on foot, but security asked me to leave before she even arrived. I wasn’t interested in causing a scene, and Phyllis ended up having to work anyway, so the first attempt on Friday, February 13, was a bust.

On Saturday, my friend Julie and I met and tried again, this time by the street. Security drove through the back parking lot several times, but let us be.

Julie ~ FREE HUGS from a DVSA survivor

In that hour and a half, we didn’t create direct dialogue, but our message did get noticed.

One lady rolled down her window and profusely thanked us for taking a stand. A few people wouldn’t make eye contact or let us see them check out our signs. Others craned their neck to continue reading as their driver made the turn out of the drive onto Tutt.

For all the women who couldn’t wait to see the movie, there are so many more people of all genders and ages who were either already against it or now have something to seriously think about.

Tanisha ~ How do you define ABUSE?

We are not alone.

The highlight within the first five minutes that set the tone?

On this light, breezy Valentine’s Day, the most awesome guy ever approached us in a truck filled with red heart-shaped helium balloons and gave one to each of us. His three (or five!) point turn around in the entrance to get back where he came from, told us we were appreciated—that he made a special trip just for us.

As victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse and manipulation ourselves, we tied our love balloons to each other’s wrists and prepared to take our stand.

 


Donate

Click here to learn more about why we are boycotting 50 Shades of Grey in favor of donating to a local DVSA (Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault) shelter instead.

My Story

(WARNING – graphic content and potential trigger.) Read part of my personal story as it relates to 50 Shades here.

Get Help—Resources

See local and national resources here.

Get Your Time and Energy Back by Zapping Negativity from 3 Directions

Get Your Time and Energy Back by Zapping Negativity from 3 Directions

It goes without saying, negativity from our own thoughts and negativity from the words and behaviors of others are no picnic and can have lasting effects. But these three approaches encompass all you need in order to be done with it faster, and even for good!

1—Cut it Out of Your Own Mind and Mouth

We are the only source of negativity we have 100% control over, but it’s not always easy to get ourselves to stop and be positive when we are stressed, depressed, or feeling a myriad of other emotions.

Here’s what I’ve found to be the most effective way to be positive in your own thoughts and words:

  1. Create an overall environment (surroundings, habits, people, health, etc.) of positive support. When your foundation is solid, you are best supported to be able to make unclouded efforts in removing and replacing negativity.
  2. Be self-aware enough to recognize when you start spewing negativity. This isn’t about saying everything is great when it isn’t. It’s about noticing and stopping the complaining, self-judgment and berating, and turning it around to higher truth as soon as you recognize the negativity.
  3. Love ALL of you. The positive, the negative, and everything in between. In fact stop seeing flaws, challenges, and failures as negatives all-together.

2—Stand Firm in Your Confidence

When negativity comes from other sources, it’s our self-doubt that actually makes us give in to their attacks. If you say to me, “You really should have gotten a 2nd opinion on that hair today,” I will likely feel insecure about the comment because I do not have 100% flawless confidence in my hair every day. It would fester until I call my sister and vent how rude you were, and you clearly don’t have a clue about me and why would you treat me like that?!

Conversely, if you come up to me and snidely tell me I am the ugliest leprechaun you’ve ever seen, I might wonder what is wrong with you, but I’m not going to be upset about it the rest of the day. Your statement doesn’t faze me at all because I know without a shadow of a doubt that it’s completely untrue, thus I know with complete certainly that the problem is with you. No matter what you say, I will never be convinced I am an ugly leprechaun. It’s so absurd it’s a complete non-issue.

The principle works the same for any situation where it may not be as absurd as the leprechaun example, but you know the truth just as surely.

Standing firm in your confidence means either you are absolutely certain about your position, thus don’t need to take offense, or it could also mean you are okay if you discover you are “wrong,” as described next.

3—Don’t Make Everything Mean Something

When someone draws to your attention a bright green piece of broccoli between your front teeth, you might get that twang of embarrassment in the pit of your stomach, and not want to look your friend in the eye for a while, especially if it’s not a friend, but, say, an interviewer for a job. You might feel embarrassed, but you can practice being okay with mishaps like that, and again, learn not to see them as mishaps or flaws. So what if there is a green food remnant in your teeth? All it means is there is a green food remnant in your teeth. It might mean you didn’t look in the mirror. So what?

What if you state an opinion on a heated topic and someone attempts to discredit it, especially if they are rude in doing so? First of all, I’d be very choosy which of those you respond to and which you just ignore, especially on social media. Some people are such antagonists, it’s not worth your breath. But, in any other case, you might want to lash back because you now feel attacked and unheard. Or you might feel stupid because they actually made a really good point you can’t deny.

If you practiced positivity and understanding in your approach to the conversation in the first place, in other words you were civil, it’s a lot easier to handle, because you’re not already coming from an emotionally heightened state.

Either way, though, you don’t have to make their disagreement about you being attacked, instead, you can more clearly see their need to attack is an issue with them. Or if their point is valid, you don’t have to make it about you being stupid, rather make it about the fact they made a good point and you can respect that, even if it doesn’t change your view.

When you take the extraneous meaning out of events, and stay focused on the actual conversation, you can deal with them without emotion and with a level head.

Take these to heart and enjoy a more positive and guilt-free dialogue! For more support, the tools in the Joyful JuJu Kit are developed to help you negate the negativity within yourself and enjoy a much more enjoyable experience in life!

I Cried for Stephen. I Cried for all of Humanity.

The best part of being human is the worst part of being human.

Our ability to love, and to willingly choose it, fills us with unspeakable joy, but only at a price—we can’t truly have the capacity to experience such joy, without also having to feel the depths of despair at the horrors of life.

I read this story written by a former social worker about Stephen, who was never given the gift that everyone deserves—a loving family.

I sobbed uncontrollably for an hour. I cried for Stephen, whom I had never met nor heard of in person. I cried for all of humanity. I had “choice words” with God about it. I curled up in a ball. I stormed around my home. I couldn’t take it. When my energy was spent, I went to sleep—not a restful sleep, but sleep nonetheless.

Each of us can’t save everybody, hell, we can hardly take care of ourselves it seems, but we can all do a little more to let someone else know they are loved.

I demanded of myself to find a way to do more, to do better. I didn’t know what, but I would do something.

The next day I received an email from Urban Peak, the local teen homeless shelter where I am listed as a volunteer (I used to do street outreach with them until they shifted the program and stopped taking volunteers out with them). They were asking for volunteers to spend some evenings with the kids doing workshops or something fun and productive as the temperature drops and they can not longer participate in their favorite outdoor activities.

I knew immediately I could do something. Even though I actually still struggle with feeling like I belong, and who am I to think I have something worthwhile to offer (yes, even as a kung fu master and school owner, and life coach, I still struggle with my own programs!), I emailed the coordinator right away with a list of ideas around my professional skills and personal hobbies. She was so kind in her extremely grateful response! One step in the right direction.

I may never know if I’m even making a difference, but that’s okay. It’s not about me. It’s about them. It’s about bringing them something to do to fill the evening, a “family night,” if you will, and sharing my kind personality which treats them with care and respect. So that’s what I will do.

Will it change their entire lives? Probably not. But all the little things will add up for them and be a positive experience, I hope.

It’s About Love

I am reminded of when my brother, Bo, shared with me that he was driving an alcoholic member of his church to her AA meetings. Someone in authority in his church organization told him he was wasting his time because she’s not changing and hasn’t improved in years. Bo said he wasn’t doing it in order to get her to change. He was doing it so she knew someone loved her.

I hope the kids at Urban Peak know they are loved. I hope Stephen knew his social worker loved him. If he didn’t while he was alive, at least he does now.

It’s national adoption month, and two days ago was my sweet baby boy’s birthday. While my circumstances around being pregnant, issues with a family member whom I lived with during that time, labor, and giving birth were traumatizing for me, the one thing that was peaceful was knowing the family I chose to give him to was right for him. That peace has stayed with me for 22 years and I have been blessed to never doubt it.

I am thankful to his parents for stepping up to raise my child as their own.

I hope to be a more loving person every day to others who need to know they matter. Which is everyone from the most troubled youth, to the most put-together CEO. Everyone struggles and everyone needs to know they are loved.

What Can You Do?

If you’re local to Colorado Springs, consider spending a Night Out to fund-raise for Urban Peak. Learn about it here.

Otherwise, there are tons of organizations from homeless shelters, to battered women’s programs, to all kinds of support for all kinds of issues. Please find one that speaks to you and get involved. Start with Google, or ask your friends what they know about, and see what you find!