Can Love Motivate Violence?

By | 2019-05-14T10:41:14-07:00 May 14th, 2019|Categories: Anger, Compassion, Effective Communications, Empahty, Love, Psychological Wholeness, Rage, Vengeance|Tags: , , , , |

Is it possible to feel such deep love for a human being or an animal, to the point that if they were harmed, we would wish to seek vengeance on the perpetrator?  The easy answer is yes.  The more complex answer is no.  Let me explain…on the surface it seems as though our love is propelling us to avenge our beloved who has been harmed but is it really love?  Chris Hedges writes, “The initial selflessness of war mirrors that of love, the chief emotion war destroys.  And this is what war often looks and feels like, at its inception: love” (War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning 159).  It feels like we are acting out of love because we are motivated by our need to protect those whom we love but the underlying emotion propelling us is fear—fear of losing our beloved, fear that our beloved with never be the same after this pain and trauma (it may resonate more clearly to use the word anger in place of fear).  If [...]

When do we know when we are acting with compassion or caught by giving too much?

By | 2019-02-08T21:46:47-07:00 April 23rd, 2019|Categories: Compassion, Empahty, Psychological Wholeness, Self-compassion|

The key to knowing we are acting with authentic compassion is that after we finish with our compassionate act, no matter how small, we feel energized, inspired, or fed from the inside.  Often authentic compassion feels like a spiritual experience.  For me, I feel energized and excited to the point where I immediately beginning looking for another meaningful encounter to experience.  Authentic compassion brings a reflective perspective to our own lives and often puts our problems and self-pity in check—it gets us out of our own way.  It doesn’t diminish our problems as if they do not exist, but it does give us some depth to see the grave challenges and difficulties that others face. When we give our time or energy out of obligation, guilt, or the need to please others we are often left feeling taxed, tired, or overwhelmed.  We must take care of ourselves by resting when we need rest, meditating when we need to meditate, exercise when we need exercise, or getting a massage when we need a massage.  [...]

Is anger wrong? If I am angry does that mean I lack empathy?

By | 2019-02-08T19:55:24-07:00 April 9th, 2019|Categories: Anger, Empahty|

Anger is not wrong, it’s a valid and healthy emotion.  Feeling anger is a normal part of being human.  The positive power of anger is often seen when we are propelled into action because we or someone we love is gravely wronged—righting wrongs by changing world views. What we do with our anger is what can cause harm or be toxic to both ourselves and those around us.  Our actions, resulting from our anger, or any emotional state, mirror our inner capacity.  Our actions reflect the state of our inner well-being; if we treat others cruelly because we are angry we are lacking empathy in this moment. Empathy does not mean we always say what we think the other person wants to hear—this is inauthentic.  Empathy does not mean we are soft or a push over.  Assertive speech or clear and direct communication is healthy and compassionate.  Empathy has to do with how we deliver the information that needs to be said.  Empathy is about ensuring that we have self-checks in place to [...]

What is the difference between pity, empathy, and compassion?

By | 2019-02-08T19:50:11-07:00 February 26th, 2019|Categories: Compassion, Empahty, Psychological Wholeness|

Empathy is feeling with someone.  It is seeing another person’s pain and feeling from inside what that pain might be like.  Compassion is empathy in action; she feels empathy for another soul and then take-action to alleviate a part of their suffering.  Compassion is not giving away life and limb to “save” another person.  Compassion is healthy; it is not enmeshed in rescuing, enabling, or fixing others.  Compassion empowers the giver as well as the recipient.  Compassion does not stay in toxic or abusive relationships.  Compassion does not please another to avoid conflict or please another by neglecting her needs; that would be inauthentic and codependent. Compassion is circular, both self-compassion and compassion for others are essential pieces of the flow.  We must first have compassion for ourselves and set proper boundaries for appropriate self-care so that we may meet the world with an empathetic heart and act with compassion.  Empathy is not feeling sorry for another human being, that is pity.  Pity is judging another to be less fortunate than we are.  [...]