Tag Archives: feelings

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.



Is Fear or Truth Your COO?

Let’s get real honest with ourselves here.

How in tune are we really with how our decisions are made?

It’s pretty well-known by now that despite what we might have wished, 99% of our decisions are made from our subconscious beliefs, and not our conscious mind.

How aware are we of what those core beliefs actually are?

This topic would fill a university with lectures and discussions in and of itself, so we’re going to laser-focus us in on one aspect.

Fear vs. Truth

See if you have experienced any of these examples when making decisions out of fear:

  • Anxiety motivating you to hide
  • Confusion over the unknown
  • Difficulty breathing at the thought that the decision could lead to something bad
  • Chaotic thoughts and feelings when considering options

How about these examples when making decisions out of truth:

  • Confidence that you are capable of even making the decision
  • Clarity of mind that the decision is aligned with your purpose
  • Anxious to get out into the unknown and its possibilities
  • Inner peace because you know that course correction is possible only when you are in motion, and is always an option

In all likelihood, you have experienced a little bit of both!

Now that we’ve brought into our consciousness what each approach might look like, let’s take it one step further.

Take out a sheet of paper and on the top, write Chief Operating Officer (or COO). Then under that, split your sheet in half with a vertical line. On the left, write “Fear.” On the right, write “Truth.”

(I share a similar-looking exercise called “Truth Seeker,” with the same column headers  in my Joyful JuJu Kit. Don’t jump the gun—this is not that.)

On the left under “Fear,” write all the areas of your life you generally make or recently have made decisions out of Fear. List everything big or small.

On the right under “Truth,” write all the areas where your decisions came from Truth.

Which side is better represented, fear or truth?

This is your starting baseline. You might have a lot of work to do or just a little to get your co-COO Fear fired and leave the job solely to Truth.

Either way, your awareness is the first step! Next, be proactive in your decision-making daily, with both large and small choices, so you can practice making them out of truth more and more.

When I and my clients have made the shift, we will all attest that it happens as fast as you admit and give in to truth! And it’s never as scary as we thought it would be. In fact, it turns out that stepping into truth and making decisions from that space is where all the magic is!

Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will.

~ W. Clement Stone

A word of caution—new challenges may arise to test your commitment to truth.

This is normal! This is your subconscious’ way of trying to get back to being comfortable in whatever state you were in before.

Don’t let that discourage you! Know that the more evidence your subconscious receives, the sooner it will adjust to the new way of being, and it will become the new belief and the normal way of being!

That is way exciting! That’s how you grow and create new, amazing experiences in your life! It’s all yours!

Success Focus

This week’s Success Focus is:

  1. Be self-aware in how you feel when faced with both small and large decisions.
  2. Know that Fear will probably stick around, just learn to ignore its tantrums.
  3. Identify Truth and trust it. Always.
  4. Notice the results.

To adapt to living in truth faster and achieve amazing goals in the process, consider joining my next Inner Circle! I hope to see you there!



I Woke Up: “This is How Husbands Accidentally Kill Their Wives”

*Trigger warning*

*Please see disclaimer at sidebar*

I Didn’t Defend Myself Because I Didn’t See Myself in a “Real” Domestic Violence Situation

I quit fighting back. Though I never really “fought” in the first place.

He took to choking me to get me to “shut up.” At first I would fight to get free, but never “to the death,” though, as I imagined I would fight much harder against someone I believed intended to permanently harm or even kill me. Even though I was a black belt in kung fu, it was never easy to get his hands off my neck, because there was this mental block about the love we had and not hurting him. He was my husband and even though he had choked me to the point of convulsing a couple of times or blacking out for just a split-second, I believed he didn’t intend actual harm. The dynamics feel very complex to you when you are in it. (Although I see the whole situation very differently today.)

It always ended up hurting me more and aggravating him more if I fought the choking, anyway, so I eventually quit. I would just stand there against the wall, perfectly still and calm and let him choke me. There came a point where I felt so trapped in our situation (other issues were worse to me than this) that I actually welcomed the thought of dying… until it became real.

The last time he choked me, it got to the point where I HAD TO BREATH. I had been standing there still, waiting for him to stop, and I hit that point of almost no return where I needed oxygen NOW! I came to life and began slapping him and pounding his arm and shoulders with my fists to get him to let go. After an instant longer, he did let go. …And I woke up. It hit me for the first time that “this is how husbands accidentally kill their wives.” I believed, and still do, that he had no intention of hurting me, not really, and certainly not of killing me, but for the first time I realized that death was a truly potential consequence of his actions.

I told him if he ever choked me again, I’d call the police. He did it again, and I called the police. I may have freaked out that I actually called them and hung up and threw the phone down, but I’m thankful that, as per 911’s guidelines, they called back and sent officers out. He never choked me again—it was almost a year between the time I called the police and we separated for the last time and filed for divorce.

It Feels Complicated, but it is Actually Simple…

There had been other physically violent issues, but the choking had become a habit, and it was the one situation that got me to wake up. The complicated feelings I experienced in that abusive situation, which I will go into more in other posts, could have been quieted if I had set them aside for a moment and simply looked at the reality of what was going on.

Regardless of any forgiveness, understanding, or compassion I gave him over his actions, and there were some pretty convincing factors in my eyes, he never had a right to choke me. I stayed in the hopes of improvement and helping him and a number of reasons, all with the ultimate goal of achieving happiness for each of us individually, and a healthy relationship together. I finally realized that nothing healthy—no healthy relationship—can come of unhealthy individuals who would choke their loved one, or who would allow their loved one to choke them. That is the truth. No amount of unique factors or compassion can change that truth.

Yes, the feelings, inspiration, love, and unique factors in circumstances matter, but the other truth also matters. It is imperative to take an honest look, discover the truth, and make choices accordingly. The first choice is to get help. You are not alone.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-7233
TESSA (Colorado Springs) (719) 633-3819