*From a recent, impulsive post on my personal Facebook page*
If you were in a burning building, would you stay inside and burn, or jump out the window? Ten years ago, my brother took his own life. He did not see any other way.
Many people love to judge and criticize what they don’t understand. It’s this very lack of compassion and lack of empathy that serves as hard evidence that there IS no way out, that there IS something wrong with you. That there IS something inherently flawed about you.
The irony of all of this is that while we tend to focus on what people are physically capable of doing or not doing, or of living up to their potential, we ignore the emotional limitations. And emotional limitations are the things that have held back every single one of us from living our lives to the fullest.
I know this is true for me. Fear is a bitch.
Regret. Approval-seeking. Fear of failure. Fear of uncertainty. Self-doubt. Judgment. These are the bars that keep us caged, that keep us keeping up with the Jones’. “I’ll be happy when…” is bullshit. And you know it.
When we judge, it’s an indicator that we have work to do — on ourselves.
So back to the original question. The burning building analogy shows empathy for the emotional pain of someone with suicidal thoughts. Most of us have no judgment of someone who jumps out of a window of a burning building and you probably think you’d do the same.
So why is it different with suicide? Why is emotional pain so depreciated and physical pain create such a response of empathy? Is there really a difference?
I respect my brother’s choice. I don’t like it, and I don’t agree with it, and I wish he were still here. But judge him for it? How would that help?
“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” –Albert Einstein
It comes from ourselves.
When the outcome is negative, we beat ourselves up. “I should have known better.” “I’m stupid.” We wait for ourselves around every corner with a big stick to beat ourselves up for making a mistake because that is what’s comfortable. We’re used to it.
So do we fear the outcome, or do we fear what we do to ourselves when things go awry?
When we believe that the world is hostile, we are always vigilant. We are waiting for the other shoe to drop. We are tensely anticipating the next attack or bad situation. We tell ourselves stories about other people: “He probably thinks I’m a loser.” “She’s disappointed with my work performance.” “They think I’m a terrible person.”
In our defense (to our own negative thoughts), we react, we attack or we run away from people and situations and cause conflict.
We create a hostile universe for ourselves.
If we dropped our stories about other people, the world would be friendlier. If we put down the stick, we would learn to have compassion for ourselves.
Don’t believe everything you hear – this includes your own thoughts. Question them and get rid of what is stressful. The universe will suddenly become more and more friendly.
When someone ends his/her own life because they are facing a great amount of physical suffering, we totally get it. We are compassionate. Many of us say to ourselves, “if I knew I were going to die a slow and painful death, I’d just end it now.” Hollywood shows us images of brave heroes who take their own life rather than be captured by torturers.
Yet somehow, when the pain is emotional, we call them cowards. We judge a person who sees no end in sight to the pain they are feeling.
If you were in a burning building, and your two choices were stay in a room and burn or jump out the window, would you sit quietly and burn to death, or would take the dive?
This is what suicide is. From this person’s perspective, they see no way out. They do not believe their pain will end.
You do not have to agree with or like the fact that someone close to you took his/her own life, but unless you learn to accept and respect the decision, you will only perpetuate the pain they tried to stop. It is not your burden to carry.
In 2005, I spoke to my brother on the phone several hours before he took his life. He did not tell me what he had planned to do, and I was shocked by how happy he sounded. I hadn’t heard him that easy-going and upbeat for years. I thought he was getting back on track.
Looking back, I realized that the reason he was so happy was because his decision was made. He was being liberated from his prison of pain.
After the anger and sadness, I learned to accept his decision. Who am I to call him a coward? To call him selfish?
Find the gift in everything that comes. Life happens through you, not to you.
**If you are in Houston and you or a person you know has thought about suicide, I highly recommend the tremendous work of Jennifer Chapple.
photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/n1ct4yl0r/9898490826/
The Richard Sherman interview this past weekend has sparked a lot of controversy. Okay, maybe not controversy, but a whole lot of judgment. “He has no class.” “He’s a thug.”
That might be true. But the coach in me (trained to “suspend judgment”) had me doing a little research, and I was reminded of the first season of Lost. I admit I’m not much of a TV watcher, but every now and again, a series hooks me and even though Lost had me hooked through half of season 2 and I stopped watching it, the first several episodes really stuck with me.
The thing that stood out the most for me about the first season of Lost was how it manipulated the viewer into judging the characters. New characters were presented in a way that had us labeling them as good or bad…until we got to know the back story of where they came from.
Jin, for example, looked like an abusive jerk in the first episodes, and perhaps some also judged him as coming from a different culture and not speaking the language. You later find out how much shame he carried from how poor he grew up. How he fell in love with a woman who’s corrupt father manipulated him into doing terrible things that went against his values. The viewer learns to have empathy for him wanting a better life, and sees him as being trapped in an impossible situation. He becomes a good guy.
The reason I loved this type of thing so much as a coach is that it pointed out how quickly we judge others when we only see a small piece of the big picture. I know I’ve done it. And I know you’re nodding your head (and if you’re not, you really should think a little harder).
With this perspective of judgment, I’d like you to watch this video of Richard Sherman, and let me know if it changes your perspective of who you think he is:
I don’t see the same Richard Sherman from yesterday’s interview. Do you?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Confide Coaching Receives 2013 Houston Award
Houston Award Program Honors the Achievement
HOUSTON December 11, 2013 — Confide Coaching has been selected for the 2013 Houston Award in the Life Coaches category by the Houston Award Program.
Each year, the Houston Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Houston area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2013 Houston Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Houston Award Program and data provided by third parties.
About Houston Award Program
The Houston Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Houston area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Houston Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.
SOURCE: Houston Award Program
Houston Award Program Email: PublicRelations@bestofbusinessawards.org
Make your life better by learning to forgive. Make your life extraordinary by realizing there was nothing to forgive in the first place.
Try this on: “Everyone is doing the best they can all the time, no exceptions…” Where’s the resistance?
“I never think of the future-it comes soon enough.” — Albert Einstein
When we react strongly to an argument or what someone said or did (or didn’t do), we are usually bringing baggage from our past into the present moment. The words that were used were perhaps the same critical words we heard from a parent or other kids on the playground growing up. Or perhaps we perceived that Read more…
When I first read “Refuse to Choose” by Barbara Sher (not an affiliate link) I was incredibly relieved. I had always thought something was wrong with me because I had so many interests, and I would be completely enthralled with one thing for awhile and then give it up in a moment and jump into something else. Society (not to mention family) seemed to disapprove of this behavior, and it always had me wishing I only loved one thing so I could define my future.
As it turns out, I’m not “ADD” as many people liked to call it. I’m totally normal. In other moments in history, these personality types were not considered “lost souls” who couldn’t make up their minds. They were called Read more…
I had the pleasure of recently being interviewed by the Co-Founder of Noomii.com. I talk a bit about my coaching philosophy and tell my personal story of what took place in my life to make the big change and dedicate my life to helping others acheive their human potential. Enjoy!
I get a lot of clients who are successful in most areas of their lives, but seem to be stuck in the social part, or the relationship part. I’m often asked what to do to find that significant other or to have more friends.
There are a lot of reasons why you have attracted the people who are in your life into your life. There are meanings you have put on what a relationship is about and what friendship is. There are things you may be re-creating from your past that you are “benefitting” from in your current relationships. Keep in mind that a benefit Read more…
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