Monday, July 30, 2012

Free Yourself with Values-Focused Reframing

Transparent by Patty Maher, cc license 
Themes of honesty and dishonesty have been on my mind a lot over the past few years. I have spent a lot of time feeling angry about people who were not honest with me and people who asked/required me to be dishonest. I have spent way too much mental energy ruminating on things I should have done or said - way too much energy composing self-righteous speeches and retorts, well after the fact. I avoided, I withdrew, and I felt miserable. I tried to ignore the feelings and when that didn’t work I tried to interrupt my ruminating and practice gratitude instead. While that was a wonderful reminder of all the good things in my life, I still felt angry and the ruminating occurred just as often. I was sick of feeling this way and, one evening in the past year while preparing for an active listening training, I had a bit of a revelation: It was time to reframe.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Avoid Throwing Poop: Talk About Feelings

Photo by Amy McTigue, as per cc license
The ability to identify and reflect others’ feelings is the foundation of empathy and active listening. It helps you take interactions beyond the level of bare facts, allowing for deeper understanding and more profound growth. It is the most effective way to develop rapport and demonstrate understanding. So, it is only fitting to begin this blogging adventure with a discussion around feelings. Whose feelings? Our own feelings. In order to walk in someone else’s shoes, I need to be able to put aside the pair I’m currently wearing. In order to recognize others’ feelings, I need to be able to identify my own.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Formal Introduction

Me and My Munchkin, photo by Jason Pratt
Hi, there. My name is Mary. When people ask me what I “do” these days, I’m not sure what to say. Most of my time is spent chasing and nurturing a toddler, and trying to stay in the present while my mind wanders to planning our family’s next meal, designing workshops, or wondering if I remembered to switch the laundry to the dryer. For our purposes, it may be best to say that what I “do” is spend a lot of time thinking about, reading about and studying empathy, honest and compassionate communication, and listening.