The incredibly astute comedian, George Carlin said:
Posts Tagged ‘awareness’
Empathy is the glue that bonds people in an intimate relationship. When there is an empathic connection, people feel understood, they feel seen. Empathy is not the only way for people to bond, but it is necessary for an intimate connection. Bonding over a common activity or common experience may foster a connection just as doing something for someone else might engender gratitude or appreciation. But in order for there to be intimacy, empathy is required.
Human beings are an odd lot. We are easily embarrassed, we are seldom content, we always want more of something, we often feel that someone else is better than ourselves, and we often wish we were someone else. I doubt that a cow ever wished it were a giraffe. I cannot imagine an elephant wishing it were a tiger. Animals seems to be content with who they are. They simply strive to be the best that they can be. Human beings, however, often wish they were someone else. They wish they were prettier, taller, shorter, younger, older, richer, smarter, faster; they seem constantly comparing themselves with someone else and come up short.
When I was a graduate student in clinical psychology in the 1960s, psychologists were practicing along the lines of the medical model where the focus was on the treatment of diseases. During that period, the renown psychiatrist Dr. Karl Menninger, founder of the world famous Menninger’s Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, published a groundbreaking book entitled The Vital Balance, in which he proposed that mental health practitioners should put more emphasis of strengthening the healthy parts of an individual’s personality rather than exclusive focus on the psychopathology. This was a marked departure from the then current emphasis. Around the same time, Dr. Abraham Maslow, a psychology professor at Brandeis University and founder of the human potentials movement, in is book, Toward a Psychology of Being, decried the emphasis on psychopathology and stressed the importance of emphasizing the potential for self-actualization inherent in all people.
Have you ever noticed how small things your partner does can aggravate the hell out of you? These quirks, habits, or idiosyncrasies become like tiny cinders in your eye that drive you crazy. Then one day, out of the blue, your partner comes home from a routine doctor’s visit and announces, “I have cancer”.
When considering taking action it is important to consider the potential consequences of the action. Too often, however, we manufacture worst case scenarios and allow our fear of those imagined consequences to deter us from taking the necessary action. Instead, we should be asking ourselves, if that worst case scenario occurs, can I handle it?
Crises befall most of us. Whether an accident, illness, economic, or relationship crisis, sometime in our life we will be confronted with a situation that feels overwhelming. We feel at a loss and become discombobulated not knowing what to do next or how we will be able to get beyond the crisis. Learning to live with these crises is one of the challenges of life.
I know a man who took the California bar six times before he passed it. He has been practicing law for 20 years…and has hated every day of it. When asked why he doesn’t either change careers or try a different type of law, he replies by saying “because I never quit. If nothing else, I am persistent; that’s who I am.” (more…)