Tag Archives: empathy

How I became more Androcles & less of a Lion

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Full disclosure—I’m a crab ass. I can be as bitchy as they come.

I wake up early but I’m hardly ever thrilled about it. The heat turns me into a veritable monster, true story. And my patience is occasionally in the shortest supply you can imagine.

I am working on being more Androcles and less Lion.

If you are not familiar with the ancient fable, I am assuming you are also unfamiliar with toilet paper. Seriously though, in case you need a refresher—the story goes that a runaway Roman slave named Androcles tried to hide in a cave which turned out to be the den of a lion. This lion happened to have a thorn in his paw, which of course made him crabby.

Androcles removed the thorn and nursed the lion’s paw until he healed, and they became friends. (Well, as friendly as two hungry omnivores can allow themselves to be.) Later, Androcles returned to society, and he was captured and thrown into a lion’s den as dinner.

Of course, the lion he was thrown to was his old pal Crabby-Paw, who recognized him and pretty much became domesticated kitty. Androcles was then heralded as the “Lion Tamer,” and he was not put to death, because of his way with big scary animals.

Seeing myself as an overt Lion-ness, I find myself so grateful to those amazing Androcles’ in my life who are most often my splinter removers.

Figuratively, my spouse is a fantastic Androcles. He’s removed splinters from my paws, my side and even my eye. Most of them are imagined, but some of them are real, and he treats each one as if it were the most important splinter he has ever removed.

I was recently irritated by a work-related splinter. See, a rumor was going around that I was going to be fired. My managers were magnificent about calling me immediately to quash my fears. They’d heard the rumor already and wanted to tell me, before I heard it on the street and totally freaked out. They know me well!

My husband happened to be with me when I heard about it, and he assured me it was a mistake—some misunderstanding. I pouted for a while over that rumor—that “splinter” in my paw—wondering who would say such hurtful things?

Weeks later, after being a part-time sleuth, it was revealed that it was a misunderstanding, and the source of the rumor had mistook something to mean I was going to be shit-canned. In this instance, it took a village of folks acting as my Androcles—my husband, my bosses and some friends—to pull that butt-hurt splinter out of my paw.

Speaking of butt-hurt…

On a more literal Androcles note—a few months ago I was seated in the gym steam room, on a wooden bench. It was somewhat crowded, and—being the codependent people pleaser I am—when a woman came in looking for a place to sit, I quickly scooted over to make space for her. Even though I was wearing practically bulletproof yoga pants, I managed to pick up the lone splinter that was sticking up on the bench. I pulled it out, but I wasn’t sure I had gotten the whole thing.

As luck would have it, I had a doctor appointment that afternoon—a follow up appointment with my gastroenterologist. (Hand to God, I’m not making this up.) After we discussed my recent procedure, I told him that this was very embarrassing, but I had managed to get a splinter in my hind-quarters, and I wondered if he could look at it to make sure I got all of it out. He checked and saw a red dot where the splinter had been, but he assured me that I had removed my own splinter.

I hadn’t originally intended to use this as a metaphor, but it does serve really well as one—sometimes, we can remove our own splinters. We can also let someone else remove them for us, and sometimes we might ask someone to check our work if we are in doubt.

Some interpretations of the ancient fable say it is one of the earliest stories about gratitude.

We are all grateful when someone helps us ease our pain—physical, emotional or spiritual. We have all had someone remove a splinter from our paw, at one time or another. Maybe they’ve shown us something about ourselves, that we could not see clearly, until it was brought to our attention.

Think of how grateful you felt when someone you loved, or maybe even a stranger, showed you something that meant a great deal to you. Or maybe when they helped shine a light on a shadowy part of your world. That gratitude can be paid forward to some of the “crabby lions” in our own lives.

The next time someone in your life starts bitching—instead of nodding, looking at your cellular device or changing the topic—see if you can identify their splinter. If it’s in your capabilities, consider removing it or helping them to remove it themselves.

We all know that doing something nice for someone else is also, often, a gift for ourselves. Making someone else feel better, makes us feel grrrrrrreat! (No offense to Tony the Tiger.)

Just like Androcles, taking the splinter out of a crabby lion’s paw could really be a saving grace for us.

So, get out your tweezers and roar!

Author: Melissa Morgan

The 4 Qualities Of A Conscious Relationship

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So what exactly is a conscious relationship?

It’s a romantic relationship in which both partners feel committed to a sense of purpose, and that purpose is growth. Individual growth. Collective growth as a couple. Growth that makes the world a better place.

As of now, most people get into relationships to satisfy their own personal needs. This might work for a few years, but eventually the relationship fails us, and we end up unsatisfied as a result.

But when two people come together with the intention of growth, the relationship strives towards something much greater than gratification. The partnership becomes a journey of evolution, and the two individuals have an opportunity to expand more than they could alone. Deep satisfaction and long-term fulfillment arise as a result.

So if you’re someone who feels called to take your experience of romantic love to the next level, below are four qualities that characterize what being a conscious couple is all about. Welcome to the path of the conscious relationship. This is next-level love …

1. The conscious couple is not attached to the outcome of the relationship – growth comes first.

Not being attached to the outcome of the relationship does not mean you don’t care what happens! It also doesn’t mean that you don’t have fantasies about how the relationship will turn out.

What it means is: you’re more committed to the experience of growth than you are to making the relationship “work.”

The reality is, we’re here to grow. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When growth stops, we automatically feel like something’s gone wrong. Because it has. Without growth, we aren’t fulfilling our soul’s purpose.

Unfortunately, relationships today tend to stifle growth more than enhance it. This is one of the main reasons we’re failing at romantic love.

We want our partners to act in a certain way, we repress ourselves to please to others, and soon enough, we feel small, oppressed and puzzled about who we’ve become. This, inevitably, makes the relationship feel like a cage that we want to break out of. But the unfortunate truth is: we’ve caged ourselves.

The conscious couple values growth more than anything else because they know this is the secret to keeping the relationship alive. Even though growth is scary (because it takes us into the unknown), the couple is willing to strive towards expansion, even at the risk of out-growing the relationship. Because of this, the relationship maintains a natural feeling of aliveness, and love between the couple does, too.

2. Each person in the relationship is committed to owning their s#*t.

Conscious couples know that we all have wounds from the past, and they understand that these wounds will inevitably be triggered, especially in a relationship. In other words, they expect to feel abandoned, trapped, rejected, overlooked and any other shitty feeling that arises when we bond closely with another person.

Most of us still believe that relationships should only feel good, and when bad feelings surface, something has gone terribly wrong. What we fail to see in this situation is that these shitty feelings stem from our own faulty patterning! These issues are not caused by our partners; they’re caused byour beliefs.

The conscious couple is willing to look at their past and current issues in relationships because they know that by facing these beliefs systems, they can evolve into a new relationship-reality. Dysfunctional patterns will dissolve, but only when we take responsibility for them, first.

3. All feelings are welcome and no internal process is condemned.

In a conscious relationship, there’s room to feel anything. Not only that, there’s room to express those feelings and fantasies to your partner. This is edgy territory… it’s not easy to do. But it’s also one of the most healing things we can experience in a partnership

It’s rare to be completely honest about who you are, and to stretch yourself to let your partner do the same. You may not like what you hear; in fact, it may trigger the hell out of you. But you’re willing to be triggered if it means your partner can be authentic.

Like I already said, we’re used to molding and changing ourselves to please people we love because we don’t want them to stop loving us! This stifles the love out of our connections.

The only option is radical honesty: revealing parts of ourselves that are hard to share, and letting our partners do the same. This leads to feeling known, seen and truly understood — a combination that will automatically enhance your love.

4. The relationship is a place to practice love.

Love, ultimately, is a practice. A practice of acceptance, being present, forgiveness, and stretching your heart into vulnerable territories.

Sometimes we treat love like it’s a destination. We want that peak feeling all the time, and when it’s not there, we’re not satisfied with what the relationship has become. In my mind, this is missing the whole point of love.

Love is a journey and an exploration. It’s showing up for all varied nuances of your relationship and asking yourself, What would love do here?” The answer will be different every time, and because of this, you’ll get to grow in ways you never have before!

The conscious couple is fiercely committed to being the embodiment of love.And through their devotion and practice, love shows up in their lives and relationship in ways they would’ve never imagined before.

10 Essential Qualities of a Real Man Worth Dating

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I was recently wondering what I wanted in a relationship? This article really shed light on my own personal needs as a woman. This article relates to men and women in my perspective. Each human being wants to be treated with integrity and respect, no matter what gender they are.

In my recent relationship, it was very difficult to be praised or acknowledged for my work, my passions and my success. Nothing was ever said when I achieved something. In my heart, whether it’s a friend, a parent or a romantic relationship. It’s always such a gift and an honour to share accomplishments, life is not always easy and accomplishments do not fall from the sky.

When someone I love and care about shares some of their life’s victories and down falls on their own personal journey. A great deal of feeling and heartfelt emotions come up; from feeling humbled that the other has shared with me some of their most intimate moments on their journey. Knowing they have crossed onto the other side as a stronger and wiser person and have achieved the confidence and the courage to walk on their path, no matter how many personal fears they needed to confront. Being the hero in their own life!!

Being proud of the other is an emotion that comes from the heart and it is a good feeling. We are the other and the other is us. Let’s celebrate together! Isn’t this love?

No matter where I am in any relationship, I take great care and pride in celebrating accomplishments and dreams. It’s empathy towards the other to share your love and your support towards the relationship because it’s saying ” Hey, I know it took work, I know it took time, I know it to strength and you persevered. I am so proud of you! “.

Celebrating and praising the journey and the outcome are important and meaningful when you are in a healthy relationship. 

Thank-you

Love love love

Melika Emira Baccouche

10 Essential Qualities of a Real Man Worth Dating

1. A real man is responsive to your needs.
Real men don’t merely care about how you fit into their world; instead, they care about your individual needs. If your partner gets upset just because your needs interrupt his day or cause a minor inconvenience, then you should find someone less selfish to share your life with.

2. A real man would never project his faults onto you.
Real men don’t automatically assume a relationship’s problems are caused by you; instead, they take an honest look in the mirror before speaking up, because it can be easy to project your own problems onto another person. If your partner always points the finger at you instead of working together with you as a team, then he isn’t worthy of your companionship.

3. A real man is willing to take action without hesitation.
Real men don’t seek approval for every thing they do; instead, they are confident enough to take action without hesitation. While your partner should consult you about major life decisions that you deserve to have a say in, he shouldn’t be so hesitant that he seeks your permission for every single thing he does. If your partner is unable to exercise anything resembling independent thought, then he will become so clingy that you’ll want to scream.

4. A real man is passionate about something besides his relationship.
Real men don’t consider their relationship to be their one and only interest; instead, they have passions that don’t involve you. If your partner pitches a fit any time you make plans that don’t involve him, then you could be dating a person who is severely lacking in ambition.

5. A real man isn’t suspicious or paranoid without cause.
Real men don’t accuse you of cheating without cause; instead, they only speak up if they have a concrete reason for having a suspicion, and even then they do so in a way that doesn’t involve wild accusations. If your partner gets paranoid just because you happen to have male co-workers or friends (crazy idea since that is approximately half of the population), or if he is so suspicious that he snoops your texts and Internet use behind your back, then you might be dating Mr. Wrong.

6. A real man can stay calm and cool during a confrontation.
Real men don’t resort to insults, judgement or violence during a confrontation; instead, they are willing to talk through the issue without devolving to personal attacks. If your partner explodes in anger at the slightest provocation, then please tread cautiously for your own safety.

7. A real man cares about his appearance.
Real men don’t “let themselves go” just because they are married or in a sustainable relationship; instead, they continue to take care of their body. Physical appearance isn’t the most important thing in the world, but there is no denying that sexual attraction is a necessary ingredient of any healthy relationship. If your partner can’t be bothered to exercise or practice basic grooming habits, then expect your intimacy to die a slow and painful death.

8. A real man doesn’t add insult to injury.
Real men don’t proclaim “I told you so!” after winning an argument; instead, they let the issue go as if it didn’t even happen. If your partner makes you feel like a bad person just because you were wrong, then you might be dating a man who isn’t emotionally intelligent.

9. A real man is happy to bask in the present moment with the love of his life.
Real men aren’t so consumed by their work that they can’t be bothered to spend uninterrupted time with you; instead, they are happy to turn off their phone so they can focus on enjoying the present moment with a partner they know they are lucky to have. If your partner can’t turn away from his work, even for a moment, to express how much he loves and appreciates you… then he isn’t going to be capable of providing you with the romance and attention you deserve.

10. A real man isn’t concerned with fitting into societal stereotypes.
Real men aren’t spineless conformists; instead, they exercise independent thought to make their own decisions, with no concern for what “society” or “the guys” have to say about it. If your partner is always consumed by what is the “manly” thing to do, then you might be dating a man who isn’t capable of thinking for himself.

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/10-essential-qualities-real-man-worth-dating.html

The 5 Characteristics Of Couples That Last!

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As a coach and soon-to-be therapist, I spend a great deal of time and energy studying relationships: what helps them to succeed, what leads to their expiration, and what impedes their growth.

The more I learn about these issues, the more challenging it gets. To be honest, the project of studying relationships while being in one is kind of like Googling a symptom and diagnosing yourself with every known disease. It ain’t easy.

In fact, learning about what it takes to be in a successful relationship while being in a committed partnership is, at best, laced with frustration and growth; and at its worst, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Most of us know that the beginnings of most relationships tend to be filled with romance, passion, and cheese plates, and that this “honeymoon phase” inevitably ends. Yet “successful” couples last for a reason. Over time, they work together as a team to create a loving and comfortable companionship. While everyone is different, I think the recipe for lasting love is fostered by certain qualities ….

Based on my studies, here are the five characteristics of couples that last:

1. Dedication

A skilled clinician can tell within 10 minutes of meeting a couple whether their relationship stands a chance. How? By asking a simple question, “How committed are you to making this work?” Each partner’s commitment to the relationship not only informs whether they will last, but the overall level of satisfaction for both partners.

Let’s face it: relationships take work! Both partners need to be ready to work together, not against each other. That said, it’s important to note that high conflict doesn’t make for a bad relationship necessarily. It’s about whether the conflict gets resolved or shoved to the side (and results in a Pompeii-esque eruption). As long as both parties are willing to work for it, there’s a good chance they can make it work.

2. Appreciation

Couples who stay together happily don’t just love each other, but they actively appreciate each other. I don’t care what Disney says: love is not enough. Successful couples admire and genuinely respect each other’s point of view, values, and goals. It’s a practice, and it requires a sustained effort.

3. Empathy

Empathy, as opposed to sympathy, is understanding how others feel from their perspective, rather than projecting our own emotions onto another’s situation. Happy couples actively work to understand and validate one another’s emotional states. This, in turn, increases prosocial behaviors (such as helping, volunteering, and expressing concern). Stepping outside of yourself, on occasion, is essential for making your significant other feel, well, significant!

4. Sexual Attraction

We’ve been conditioned to believe that attraction inevitably fades in time. As men approach middle age, testosterone declines and it may take more time and work to create excitement. Women, on the other hand have proportionately more estrogen and enter what I like to call their dirty thirties (or filthy forties).

This increase in desire coupled with the male’s decline can impact one’s self-esteem and the relationship itself. At that point, attraction becomes even more important. The good news is that chemistry increases when both people share why they are attracted to the other person, whether that be physically or emotionally.

5. Companionship

Happy couples enjoy spending time together. No, I’m not just talking about sitting next to each other while watching reruns of Family Guy and eating takeout. I mean actually spending quality time together and making it a priority.

Of course, sometimes we get tired and want to laze around with our partner. And that’s OK. But the same way communication in relationships takes work, so does making time for intentional quality time.

This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many couples only hang out while running errands, discussing daycare, or fighting about who left the cap off the toothpaste.