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Category Archives: Understanding

i was quiet but i was not blind

This is one of many quotes that resonates with me.  I have been an observer all of my life and much of it has been of people.  As I have gotten older and lived through more experiences, I have been able to filter even more of those things that I have seen.  As an empathetic person, there have been people who have hurt, used (or misused), and abused my nature.  Wanting to believe the best of people can blind us to some and their true natures.  Since I could never imagine behaving that way, or treating another person in such a manner, it was shocking to me in the realization.

It has also become aware that people are not aware of the many aspects of their behavior that show over and over their nature and character beyond their words.  For example, someone who complains about the attention that they get and then does everything short of wearing spinning lights to get attention.  The words and actions do not correlate.

Another thing that has become clearer to me, over the years, is observing facial and body cues, and being able to understand without hearing the words how someone feels and how the communication is going.

That silence is a comfort for some who need some understanding and compassion without having to find the words, or speak about it before they are ready, to describe the hurt or loss that they have experienced.  At times, helping someone along by sharing that pain silently gives them strength and comfort.  If so, I am grateful to be able to provide such.

Being observant and empathic is a lot of stimulus.  Indeed, perhaps, life would be easier if I could turn away or not pay so much attention.  The aspects of my brain and personality just won’t do it.  I come from a long line of observers of human nature and whether through nature, or nurturing it over many years, this is who I am.  For those who seek it out, it is a compassion that they are grateful for.  To those who are interviewing, they have come to trust my opinion and confirmed what I have seen.

But, like many observers, seeing so much needs to be kept quiet, for the truth can be overwhelming for others who are not ready to see or have chosen to look away.


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KIND-WORDS_mother theresa.jpg

This time of year can be so difficult for those who are still grieving.  Whether it is a loss of a person that breaks your heart, or you are grieving a divorce, job loss, estrangement with a loved one, there is a hole in your spirit.

Being forced to attend parties during the time of mourning, I remember trying to slap a smile on my face; I kept telling myself to keep it on even if it hurt to pretend. But, after awhile, it was exhausting.  There was too much false praise and gaiety; the noise and celebration became too much for me, and I had to excuse myself to leave the room.

One of the hardest things while mourning is the guilt about laughter.  I remember how badly I felt if something might make me smile and that it was inappropriate to enjoy when my heart was broken.  Quiet, and time to restore your personal strength, is so important as you mourn.  I look back and realize just how long I was mourning; I also realized that while I tried to behave like a “normal” person, my brain was actually in a fog of grief.  During that time, my trust was abused. Vulnerable, and not strong enough to fight back, I was treated badly.  That, in hindsight, was a cruel lesson that I could not fully acknowledge or reconcile for a long time.

So, when given the chance to defend someone else, or create understanding, I felt that I had to.


Grief takes time and mourning comes and goes.  No one can truly understand the memories that you share or the triggers that set off your emotional alarms.  Running to hide in the bathroom, or outside, to cry is understandable.  Yet, we are protecting others’ feelings while not honoring our own.

Miss the one that you love.  Accept, acknowledge, and process all the feelings that go with it. It is a private journey.

Empathize with another because you can recall pain.  If you are able to gently recognize this in another, don’t try to make someone else “snap out of it” or push them to a party. Busyness is not a healing tool.  Build in some quiet moments for another; sensory overload is too strong or overpowering at this time.

sorrows and compassion_jack kornfield.jpg

Remember, that no one is immune from an overactive mind of memories, lost moments, and painful goodbyes.  Don’t feel that you are “supposed” to feel cheery, hearty, or joyous just because it is the Holidays. Surround yourself with kind people and avoid toxic or negative situations that will only aggravate and stress the depressed spirit you already are experiencing.  Use music if that is calming, or escape into a book, if you are a reader.  If the outdoors soothes you, take a walk or even just look at photos of beautiful places in nature. Distraction can help to calm the thoughts for a couple of minutes.

You deserve joy, compassion, kindness, understanding, and peace.  If you cannot find support, give it to yourself.  If you are grieving, it means that you have loved.

May you find personal peace and comfort at your own pace with the time to experience and seek it out.

if I can stop one heart from breaking_emily dickinson.jpg


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i believe in good_edward teller

I believe that we want to be inspired and desire a restoration of our faith in humanity.  We have plenty of back stabbing and manipulative behavior around us.  But, when we think of the important things to know for our day, we don’t want it to be fear and violence.  We wish to be reminded that there are good and kind people who make an effort to be compassionate and kind.

It is those actions that define us.  Believing and talking is not enough; action must take place to support and reinforce the truest sense of kindness and empathy.

Yesterday, as I was on my daily commute, I saw a man walking up and down the median with a cardboard sign asking for help.  These individuals are on almost every corner.  A woman stopped her car, and got out, opening her trunk.  Inside were bags of groceries she had obviously just bought.  She removed two oranges and an apple and gave them to the man on the street in the hot sun.  While he needed money, he was obviously touched by the rare human contact and the gift of compassionate behavior.  For me, it was a reminder of the many ways to be kind and the powerful impact in the seemingly simple.

Genuine empathy is elusive because kindness is not just one thing or a purely defined word.  It takes place in many ways, yet not everyone sees it, and sadly, so many disregard it.  It is not merely an act of sensitive awareness.  Compassion can turn the tide in conflicted situations and is a lifeline for those suffering with invisible illness.

There are those who will try to tear us down and belittle our efforts.  Yet, I would like to believe that if I keep acting for the common good and the personal connections, I bring kindness to a world that sorely needs it.  I behave this way because it is the right thing to do.  It is a credit to the principles that my parents raised me with and my behavior is a reflection of such.  If we believe, then we must act.  If we have faith that our actions make a difference, even if no one sees, then we need to seek out opportunities for empathy and continue to offer it.

The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.”      Brene Brown



empathy_barbara kingsolver



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