Compassion

We Are In Big Trouble If Leaders Don’t Start Doing This

Reflections

How do we shift from a world where rampant mental illness pushes people to the limits of their humanity to a world where we take good care of one another?

Could it be as simple as breathing??

Letting go?

Healing?

Processing?

Allowing?

Surrendering?

Choosing happiness?

Self-reflection may be simple, but it’s not easy.

I cherish my time for self-reflection. Without it, I tend to stay in a stressful loop. In a moment I might start to go down a rabbit hole, thinking about an interaction that I had or have to have. Without time to process these thoughts fully, they just stay in a loop.

There is something I am supposed to get from these repeating thoughts, which is why my brain keeps showing me it. I need to reveal it’s meaning, process my emotions about it, and then put it behind me as completed. If not, my energy gets sapped. I find it hard to focus and all tasks take longer. I may even procrastinate or escape into TV or social media. Still that thought loops.

It’s like when you are running late for something and you keep going back to your house for different things you forgot and it just gets later and later. Ever do that? Be in such a rush that you forget important things and it causes you to be even later?

I notice that if tasks and obligations, including my cherished kids and clients, keep me from giving these thoughts my full attention for a while, I start to resent them. I get short tempered. I set up boundaries to protect myself. I have more freedom to do so because I am self-employed. Still, when I accept work, I make a commitment and that commitment has to be fulfilled. I don’t always see a busy time coming and I get stuck

However, companies need to adopt a self-care culture to allow their people to grow and develop not just skill wise, but in their consciousness. Our planet actually depends on it!

Otherwise, we get unconscious producers in power, focused only on producing hard results without consideration of consequences. This explains situational greed, a neuroscience concept I introduced in a previous blog in which the brain starts to rewire itself to pursue more power and/and possessions, sometimes even becoming addicted to the dopamine release of acquiring more power and/or possessions. Without being able to regularly take time, which becomes even harder as you take on more responsibility and authority, this can go unchecked and lead to a host of toxic conditions and detrimental consequences.

Without that time, I could not have written this!

A balance, however elusive, appears to be the more accurate place from which to make critical decisions that impact many.

Not work-life balance, but production and reflection balance. An employer can’t assume its employees are doing this at home.

This is a generalization, but often those at the top of the income chain employ the assistance of others to take care of admin/housekeeping, even child rearing. But do they use the time that is freed from those tasks for reflection? Or, do they use that time to produce or feed ego?

Most other people, including top producers, are going home and attacking a busy kid activity and homework schedule plus a home care task list. Then they zone out consuming media because they are mentally and emotionally exhausted – another generalization, I realize.

Still, I think it’s fair to say the general workforce is not in the habit of making time for self-reflection, and if they are, they doing it incompletely and getting stuck in the loop I described above.

The loops below are a much better model for conscious growth, whether you are a leader or a producer:

Achieving Conscious Leadership

 

  1. Consumption – Make plans based on new insights, illuminations, teachings
  2. Reflection – Consider how people and planet will be impacted directly and indirectly
  3. Production – Set goals and intentions and execute
  4. Reflection – Examine direct and indirect impacts, as well as own performance relative to higher self

The key is self-intimacy (into-me-I-see). Not just asking how was it, evaluating in terms of results, profits, etc., but asking how was I. Sometimes the answers aren’t good, and the ego doesn’t like them.

But the higher self, the one who wants to continually evolve into a better and better person, a better leader and a more positive influence on the people around them, needs them.

Coincidentally, I came across this warning signs list this morning. I thought someone might need this more than music, so I’m sharing it.

https://www.higherperspectives.com/warning-signs-nervous-breakdown-2610845741.html

“Can You Teach an Adult Compassion?”

 

This was a question posed by a friend on mine on Facebook. Some were under the impression that you can’t.

My answer:

“You can develop emotional intelligence through mindfulness techniques, but that would have to be voluntary.

‘I tried to find a video I saw (I thought it was Samantha Bee) where they brought global warming deniers through a kind of fun house type of experience where they experience the devastating effects of climate change for themselves. The fear inspired by the special effects changed ~60% of their minds. [I still can’t find this, but I will continue to try. Maybe it was Tosh.O or Sarah Silverman.]

‘There are experiments going on right now with virtual reality. I believe this was either Jane McGonigal or her sister who did a VR experiment on compassion and conservation. [It was Jane who mentioned it, but it was not her experiment– here is the video.] Apparently, participants who cut down a sequoia tree in virtual reality were [more likely to recycle.] Fascinating! There is so much tremendous research going on right now and breakthroughs on the way.”

I also added a fun fact to the thread:

“Did you know under normal circumstances the part of our brain responsible for emotional intelligence doesn’t start to develop until our third decade of life?” [Correction: it doesn’t become fully functional until our 3rd decade of life.]

The insula and anterior cingulate are the parts associated with self-awareness and social awareness. You can absolutely accelerate development of these parts of your brain and the neural circuits through mindfulness techniques. [Cited from Neurowisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness, and Success by Mark Waldman and Chris Manning, PhD]

I should also point out that development of this part of the brain can also be inhibited. Those who grow up bullied, overly criticized, abused, neglected, etc. are likely to become the ones whose self-talk is overly critical.

Being overly self-critical increases your tendency to find error in everything and everyone. Adjusting your self-talk to be more compassionate stimulates neural circuits associated with empathy. [Also cited from Neurowisdom.] Just like building muscle through repetitive motion and skill through practice, the more you use these neural circuits, the more you will develop compassion for yourself, and others as a byproduct.

So, to follow that further, the people who are most critical of others are the ones who are hardest on themselves.

It seems quite hypocritical to vilify people who are not demonstrating compassion. Science tells us what they need is to love and accept themselves more. This is what I imagine Ghandi meant when he said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It’s also why believers in the Law of Attraction advise you to “give what you are seeking” to shift your abundance.

If you want people to be more compassionate, show them more compassion. Show yourself more compassion!

That’s a big one! It’s why the fabulous Brené Brown’s research and teachings have been so embraced. We all crave and need more self-compassion.

There are also experiences, apps, virtual reality games, and exercises that have proven to help accelerate self-compassion as well as outward compassion. New studies are being done all the time. It’s important to note that not only can increases in neural activity associated with compassion be measured, but the neural activity DOES impact behavior.

Here are just a few options:

The Compassion Experience transports people into someone less fortunate’s life. It also is backed by research. It is created by a Christian organization and the events are held at churches over a several-day period. I found four in my local area over the summer, including one at my cousin’s church. It is intended to enhance gratitude and compassion in children and to inspire parents to donate to less fortunate children in different parts of the world. The events are free (at least the ones that I saw, but this could be church-specific.)

Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian prayer said to heal and release. There are four simple lines: I love you; I’m sorry; I forgive you; Thank you. That’s it. It’s the simplest prayer ever. It can be said over and over like a chant, or you can say it every time you look in a mirror. You can say it in the morning as you wake, or at night before you sleep, or both. You can say it out loud or in your head. You can say it with your eyes closed or open. You can say it as though you are talking to yourself, or someone else. It’s not really something you can do wrong.

Mindfulness has many different connotations, and not all of them are clinical or accurate. In fact, the word has been misapplied to mean being positive or meditating. There is no particular breathing technique that you have to learn – just NOTICE your breath. Then notice your thoughts. Notice your emotions. Notice your body. Notice the tiny details of things around you. Notice the vibrancy of colors. Notice the beauty of nature or people. That’s it! That’s all there is to mindfulness. It’s an important step toward accepting and allowing what is, including you, without judgment.

Maybe you think this is for someone else less compassionate than yourself. Well, statistically, people believe they are more compassionate than they are, so it stands to reason that anyone might as well become more compassionate.

Let me know if you have tried any of these methods. Let me know if you would like extra assistance with compassion for yourself or others.

Give a Little Bit Singer/Songwriter Roger Hodgson of Supertramp, with Orchestra

“Give a Little Bit has a wonderful message that makes people light up and I get them to sing with me. It really has a message that is very eternal and is needed even more today than it was when I wrote it when I was 19.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a career management firm specializing in the income-optimizing power of social media and personal branding, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify new trends in hiring and personal marketing. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.