Knowledge is power, but only wisdom is liberty - Will Durant
I talk alot about empathy being the way that we ‘get in’ and connect with our kids but it is not the same as bending to their will at every turn.
We as adults need to show them that there are boundaries that need to be respected in life; be it the law in your jurisdiction, someone’s private space or simply learning that they are allowed to delineate their own boundaries.
We can feel bad of course when our kids push back against us when we set limits with them. We may carry our own baggage that makes it hard for us to enforce rules but this is not in their best interests or yours. You’ve heard it said that you can build a rod for your own back if you take the path of least resistance.
Perhaps you grew up in a household that was strict, rigid, inflexible or you had a laissez faire upbringing. Whatever the case, our upbringing has an impact on where we draw the line when it comes to rules and boundaries. It’s...
We all know a bit of exercise helps our mood.
I'm not typically a fan of systematic reviews or meta-analyses (to me they just rehash original papers that may or may not be that great in the first place)...in any case...this one seems fairly robust...CLICK HERE
2.5hours/week of walking can reduce depression risk a bit.
But a bit is sometimes what we need to make a start on our recovery journeys.
Several of my patients struggle to get out of bed.
Using a behavioural activation approach.
I tell them to just focus on getting one foot out of bed...then the other foot...then sit up...etc...you get the picture.
2.5 hours a week = 0.35hr a day = ~21 minutes walking a day = maybe 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the afternoon
Walking around the neighbourhood to get your 20 minutes seems like a big enough hurdle but at least we know that there's a point for doing it!
Poos and wees.
It's funny right? I think it is.
Or maybe it's not.
Whatever the case, poos and wees, are poos and wees.
A session with one of my patients today took an interesting turn.
They, like many of my patients suffer from mood and anxiety problems.
They feel as though life takes them for a ride.
The slings and arrows of life and such...they feel like they have no control over the things that happen to them in life.
Our perceptions of our reality can truly affect how we feel and think about our lives; but it doesn't change reality.
The only thing we have control over is how we think.
We must find a way to 'slow' down what happens between what we sense/perceive and the resultant feeling that happens next - which might be joy, sadness or anger.
Watch these videos here if you want to learn how to regain control over your mind and your emotions.
I’ve had a few patients who haven’t been getting better fast and it doesn’t feel good. I’ve felt like a failure and I thought it useful to share my reflections.
We/I tend to have lopsided priorities to the exclusion of other things in life, such that my dogged pursuit of reaching perfection puts me at risk of burning out or feeling Like i’ve fallen short as a human being because I know that i can lean way too hard on achieving that elusive goal of perfection.
I’m quite aware now that as i say this, many people feel the same.
We all struggle intensely with things we don’t like about ourselves and we act in ways that maintain those very concerns - for example the constant checking that other people respect us intensifies unhappiness because we hyperfocus on things that might prove people don’t respect or like us. Or we avoid situations that make us uncomfortable so we don’t have to be...
I really believe that.
We live in an age of spin as Dave Chappelle says.
And we are trained to be suspicious and wary of those of us who appear to be unlike us.
We may even be prone to look down on people who seem naive and overly-courteous or sympathetic to others for the sake of it.
But it is this very thing that makes us extraordinary. To dare to believe in the good in others is to believe in the good in us.
Imagine how good it would be if we thought of each other as good?
Dare to think different. To feel different. Wouldn't that be something.
How do I teach my kids to empathise?
Empathy is critical for authentic human connection.
It helps you became much more impactful in the world because it facilitates trust - which is crucial for winning hearts and minds.
Empathy as a construct is multidimensional. I’ve talked about various attributes that comprise empathic ability before www.huddlewisdom.com/blog/3partempathy
...but there's still a lot that we are learning about empathy and its expression.
...we're also learning more about how we can effectively systematise and foster skills to improve our empathic capacity.
A myriad childhood experiences influences the development of empathic skill. The manner in which carers relate, communicate and transmit mental models of the world across to us. Cultural factors and social medial influences also can’t be ignored. All such things shapes young minds.
Parents/teachers clearly then have a critical role in the world....
Ex-sec of state Colin Powell, had a rule of thumb, approaching situations requiring a prompt decision to be made.
He tried not to make a decision unless he had at least 40% of the information and then made a decision when he had nearly 70% of the information.
“When you have about 70% of all the information, you probably ought to decide, because you may lose an opportunity. My own experience is that you get as much information as you can and then you pay attention to your intuition, to your informed instinct. Sometimes what my analytical mind says to me is not what I’ll do.”
I would add a CAVEAT: * I think intuition is useful if you have competency in a particular area of expertise but far less reliable if you don't - even if you have 40-70% of the information at your disposal.
At a foundational level, accurate empathy in my mind involves recognising and understanding 3 major components that characterise it.
These 3 components comprise of cognition (thoughts), affect (emotion) and perception (feelings).
Perception speaks to feeling through your senses. This is intangible but it is real.
For example; we can feel the effects of the wind but we can't see it, though none of us are in any doubt that it exists.
Like the invisible pull of a magnetic force for example, when you feel connected and drawn to another person.
Perception however is only part of the equation; if too much weight is placed on perception we are likely to empathise inaccurately because we have neglected the other components.
All 3 components need to be attended to in order to reach a place of optimal balance; and that's when you will be able to find that your empathising will be most influential.
If you are able to train yourself to be sensitive to the relative 'weight' of each component, moment...
Most parents and teachers i think would like to know that their kids could persevere through hardship if they so choose to.
What sorts of hardships we want them to tackle is a little subjective. Which ones do we let slide?
Some kids are more than happy going through some hardship if it means playing Tekken for hours till they reach the boss at the end of the game right? Is that resilience? I suppose it could be described as that.
We always have to consider things in context.
We need to have some idea of the things we value in order to determine whether something is worth pursuing or not; worth persevering hardships in order to reach the ‘prize’.
Why am I saying this? Well, I think if we can determine early on the things that really matter then we don’t have to waste our energy persevering with things that don’t matter.
So resilience is not a character trait in my view. It’s...
Winters in our lives can make us feel inert. We might erroneously think that we're stagnating; except that the reality is that this is our opportunity to take stock, rest and store energy we need for new growth. Allow yourself to be still and reconsider what your intentions are for this season. Remember goals are fleeting, but growing into your intention is forever.
What are your intentions for your life? for your children? for your world?
Sometimes kids have a hard time talking to you about things when they need the most help. Learn to use emotional intelligence and empathic connection to gain co-operation without the friction.