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Category: Healthy Relationships

15 Lessons to be Learned from Life Challenges in Your Path to Self-Discovery

Every experience in life provides you with invaluable information, if you listen carefully for the lessons to be learned. Here’s how to do it.“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” ~ Bernice Johnson Reagon

Every challenging experience in life provides you with invaluable information, if you’re attuned to hearing the lessons to be learned. I realize that some of them may be very painful, so you resist them initially. But don’t make the mistake of pushing them away. Instead, if it today’s life lesson feels like too much to process, I urge you to journal about your experiences as they happen, so you can revisit them later to glean the lessons hiding within.

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Compassionate Listening Heals Those Who Speak and Who Listen

Compassionate listening helps heal the one speaking and the one listening,  bearing witness to their pain, their story, forming a bond of understanding.“Listening is about being present, not just about being quiet.” ~ Krista Tippett

After the Alameda fire devastated our beautiful Rogue Valley on September 8th, I wanted to help beyond Go-Fund-Me and food/clothing donations. My search was rewarded when I attended a training on compassionate listening organized by the Hearth Community in Ashland. It reaffirmed to me the intense and healing power in the act of compassionate listening, when we engage both our ears and our hearts.

During the training we listened to each other – we got to bring to life all of our emotions in a healing circle. As each person spoke, we all felt safer and stronger as a community. That’s the power of gathering together for compassionate listening.

As I go through each day now, I listen for the many stories about what happened on September 8. One in particular stands out to me, and I’d love to share her story with you —

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Unlearn the Lessons of a Toxic Childhood — You Deserve to be Loved!

A toxic childhood teaches you many unhealthful and unhelpful lessons; and it fails to teach you the most valuable lesson — that you’re worthy of love. “An unpredictable parent is a fearsome god in the eyes of a child.” ~ Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

Do you think that love always comes with strings attached? That if someone is a winner then you’re a loser? That you need to placate everyone? That being neglected or abused verbally or physically is normal and you make excuses for it? That emotions make you vulnerable and weak? That it’s better to feel nothing? That you’re on your own?

Then it’s highly likely you’ve learned “lessons” from a toxic childhood that are neither healthful nor accurate. You didn’t deserve it. You didn’t deserve the neglect and abuse you suffered in your toxic childhood. You didn’t deserve to be ignored for days on end. You didn’t deserve the belittling and constant criticism. You were not to blame.

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9 Ways for Staying Connected and Socially Close While Physically Distancing

Social distancing is out! “Staying connected and socially close while physical distancing” is in! This puts the emphasis on a positive and healthy message.“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.” ~ Goethe

Social distancing…I’ve come to dislike this term. I understand that physical distancing shows care for my neighbors during this pandemic. I want them to feel comfortably safe, when I encounter them at the store or elsewhere. That requires physical distancing, not social distancing. I don’t have to rush past them, never acknowledging their existence. Just making eye contact and smiling is important. After all, they may not see my smile behind my mask, but they’ll see it in my eyes.

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Racism and Social Injustice: I’m White. What Can I Do?

After seeing recent social injustices and racial inequalities, have you wondered: I’m white, what can I do? It’s good to ask; it’s better to do something. “For it isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Empathy has been defined as putting yourself in the shoes of another, knowing within yourself how they feel and what they need you to do, or say, or not say, in the moment. But how can you have empathy if you’ve never had to walk the path that someone else has had to walk? Because of the recent, terrible acts of racism and social injustice, I’ve been thinking about how yes, I’m white, but what can I do to help. It’s causing me to examine my own biases, as never before.

Ignorance is a blinder to empathy. The trouble with ignorance is that we may not even know when we are “ignoring” something vital that’s right in front of us. Even more criminal is choosing not to know. This contributes to the problem just as much as actively participating in it. This is the time when doing nothing is not acceptable, for doing nothing is actively making the problem worse. 

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