Saturday, April 17, 2021

Learning to hold the uncomfortable feelings of others lightly and with kindness to prevent compassion fatigue

It’s not uncommon to see folks struggle when they fuse with the uncomfortable feelings of others. So fused that they may take on the uncomfortable feeling as their own, or react to them with anxiety, helplessness, or even hopelessness. Of course, this is great for empathy, but it’s a sure recipe for “compassion fatigue” in the long run.

In Acceptance Commitment Therapy ACT, we can learn to hold these uncomfortable feelings more lightly, and with kindness, care and compassion like holding a crying child, and use that to guide action.

We allow others to feel how they feel, and with support, care, and kindness, they too may learn to hold their uncomfortable feelings more lightly, and with care and kindness. Then in time, we may be able to shift uncomfortable feelings like shifting gears rather than being emotionally reactive, for more effective actions.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Consider approaching life like playing Angry Birds

In counseling work, we often see folks with the triad features of unrelenting standards, together with self criticism and the fear of failure. This “triad” is a guarantee for excessive stress and suboptimal performance. 

So how can we improve it?

We can consider the “Angry Birds” metaphor. 

Life is sometimes like playing Angry Birds. We have a specific target or goal. We do the best we can. We fail. We self reflect rather than self criticize. We approach it at a different angle. We repeat the process until final success. We stay present and enjoy the process.

Getting it right every time is not the aim either, because that would simply be too boring isn’t it?

So aim high. Have a go and prepare to fail often, but review, reflect, learn, get a new plan, and reimplement often. The more we fail, the better we get. Most importantly, be present and enjoy the process ...

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Learning to hold uncomfortable feelings with love, hope, care, kindness and compassion

If one holds a crying child with feelings of worry, fear, helplessness, anger, and frustration, it’s an awful experience. 

If one can hold a crying child with feelings of love, care, and compassion, it may lead us to a very different place.

So what’s my point?

The “feelings” with which we use to solve our problems matter. It matters deeply. It can make all the difference between a terrible or a wonderful outcome.

So next time we have an uncomfortable thought or feeling, consider holding it like a crying child, but with hope, care, love, kindness and compassion, and let that guide us, rather than the anger or helplessness.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Learning to live a more authentic life in a healthy way

Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a wonderful framework to assist folks with living a life congruent with their values and being true to who they are. One can use the term “being authentic” perhaps. This will ensure greater “inner harmony”. 

Having said that, there is one thing we may need to highlight. There is “healthy authenticity”, and there is “unhealthy authenticity”.

Healthy authenticity is living a life true to who we are and at the same time, really encourage others to live a life true to who they are too. We are accepting of self AND of others.

Unhealthy authenticity is living a life true to who we are, but then expect others to conform to our values. We are accepting of self but not of others.

Knowing where we are is important. Reflective but not critical will assist us with this balance.