Category Archives: Relationships

How to Stop Feeling Lonely: Learning to Date Yourself

In addition to feeling awful and being bad for your health, loneliness can trigger some pretty unusual behavior, but there are ways to take control and stop feeling lonely.

Before I share some tips for easing loneliness, I would like to share a few loneliness facts from Psychology Today. (Read on, or you can click the link if you want to check out the full article on the PT website.)

Facts About Loneliness

Leaving Loneliness: How to Stop Feeling Lonely Have you ever noticed how sometimes the most alone you feel is when you’re surrounded by others?

The reason behind that sense of aloneness – when around others – is that loneliness is subjective and based on the quality of the relationships you have with the people around you.

Interestingly, but not really surprisingly, according to Psychology today, most of the people who are lonely (the majority by over 60%) are married.

Loneliness reduces the effectiveness of the immune system and causes people to get sick, and more severely sick than they would otherwise- it also reduces longevity on a scale similar to that of a smoker.

How to Stop Feeling Lonely

Only the lonely can truly understand the pain another lonely person experiences, but being caught in a cycle of loneliness makes it hard to reach out to others in ways that can reduce loneliness.

The answer does not always come from reaching outward, though, because at the heart of loneliness, to move ahead and feel better about your life, you need to learn how to feel satisfied with yourself so you can overcome that lonely, unsettled feeling.

Learning to Date Yourself

“Don’t wait for the date, treat yourself as The One you’ve been waiting for!”

  – Quote from the Dating Yourself Website 

The concept of dating yourself basically means you treat yourself the way you would treat someone you are attracted to on a first date, but it goes deeper than a one-time date, too.

While it’s great and positive to “do” something for yourself, if you want to stop feeling lonely, you need to note the things that are positive about yourself and learn to look at yourself in a positive light.

Keep a journal or make notes about things that are positive about yourself and add at least one thing everyday – it can be as simple as making a note of a good hair day or a small gesture of kindness you do for someone at first – because if you’ve been struggling with loneliness and self-esteem issues for a while, it can be hard to find anything positive to note.

Re-read the notes about your good qualities every day and whenever you need a boost.

Set some goals that are so easy to meet you can’t help but crush them, then add each one to your notes – don’t worry, you will begin to set and reach harder goals as you gain momentum and your sense of positivity increases.

Look at yourself in the mirror at least once a day, give yourself a genuine smile, make eye contact, and say, “I love you.”  (This is easiest if you’re alone in the room, so no one hassles you.) Don’t worry if you feel silly at first, it gets better, and easier to do this after a few tries – and learning to love yourself is really the biggest part of learning to date yourself and learning how to stop feeling lonely.

Empower Yourself: How to Stop Thinking Like a Victim

Have you ever doubted yourself, or felt like happiness and being treated well are things for other people to enjoy?

Victimization: Victory Over the Victim Mentality (Hope for the Heart) Have you ever thought things would finally be okay in your life if some external thing were different, or if someone else would only… ?

Many people don’t process this type of thinking as feeling or thinking like a victim, but that is exactly what it is, and it’s a cycle you can break by recognizing it and tackling it head on.

Victimization or Self-Victimization?

Victimization often begins in childhood, through abuse or bullying, where the child’s self-esteem becomes compromised.

This leads to an adulthood where the childhood victim begins to victimize himself or herself with constant affirmations of not being good enough or of deserving bad treatment.

The cycle of self-victimization then repeats over and over until it is recognized and new, positive affirmations of self-worth are instilled in the mind of the (past) victim.

How to Stop Thinking Like a Victim

“A strong, successful man * is not the victim of his environment. He creates favorable conditions. His own inherent force and energy compel things to turn out as he desires.”  – Orison Swett Marden

No one could, or should, ever deny the validity of a pattern of self-victimization that began when someone treated you horribly, but it’s up to you, as an adult, to break the pattern and stop the cycle of victimization by choosing to stop the negative self-talk that is holding you down.

Empower Yourself

  • Become aware of negative self-talk: This type of self-talk includes anything that is a put-down to yourself, including seemingly innocent self-deprecating humor.
    • You can’t stop doing it if you aren’t even aware you are putting yourself in a negative pattern.
  • Examine the truth behind negative self-talk: Things like, “I can’t do anything right” or “I always screw everything up” are rarely factual, because no one does everything wrong.
    • Though those statements develop as affirmations over time and they do eventually emerge as personal truths – but they can be changed.
  • Don’t let anyone else plant negative statements in your mind: It’s really common for people lacking in confidence to surround themselves with narcissistic people who maintain the imbalance in a relationship with a victim.
    • If you can’t physically leave the person, then, at least refute the negative things they say inside your mind, and replace their words with your own, positive truths.
  • Write down some simple positive affirmations about things you do:  Whether it’s making a great dish of pasta or being kind to animals, write down some good things about yourself and look at it several times a day, and read your positive self-talk affirmations aloud at least once a day.
    • If you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk, then stop right there and review your positive affirmations.

If you are really struggling with self-esteem issues or are in a dire situation, and you need more than a bit of motivation from an article, it’s okay – and wise – to seek professional help to begin a new, healthy lifestyle. The information presented here is to help you find the motivation to start feeling empowered, but it is not intended to be a substitute for professional help if it’s needed.

Note: I would like to add ‘or woman’ to the above quote – where I added the * – for the purpose of this article – since Orison Swett Marden was a turn-of-the-century writer – when most everything was presented in masculine terms.

3 Easy Self-Empowerment Exercises to Help You Take Control of Your Life

If you are feeling down about your life, it can feel as if empowerment is an impossible thing for you, but it’s not.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Become Self-Empowered)
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Becoming self-empowered is a process, and it’s the same for almost everyone, it’s just that some people never really try to take on the process and some manage to slip through it with more ease than others.

Wherever you are at in that, there are some simple things you can do to help yourself move through the process to self-empowerment more quickly and with greater ease.

3 Easy Self-Empowerment Exercises

Go ahead and grab a notebook and pen, or open up a blank document that you can use to record your work on these exercises.

  1. Dream Big: Start by writing down that big goal – or even all of your long-term goals.
    1. It’s perfectly okay and normal if they are “crazy big” or so big you can’t ever imagine them coming true.
      1. If you worry that someone will find your notes and make fun of you, first, you are probably surrounding yourself with the wrong people, and second, encode them so only you can read them.
        1. You can even destroy them when you finish the exercise, though if possible it’s best to keep them and refer back to them every couple weeks or months.
  2. Start Small: Rather than start work on achieving one big, or long-term goal, think about, and record, the steps to make that big goal a reality.
    1. You don’t have to do it all in one day – and if you can do it in one day – it isn’t really a long-term goal anyway.
      1. For example: if your long term goal is a better job so you can live as you wish, financially, but you need to get an education to get the job you want, signing up for college and registering for your first semester of classes would be a good first short term goal.
        1. The advantage of setting these small short-term goals is that each one in itself is easy to achieve – you are setting yourself up for success by setting a series of achievable goals, and each success you experience adds to your sense of accomplishment and self-empowerment.
  3. Record Successes: Make a checklist of the small steps you are taking and plan to take, and check off each one as you complete it.
    1. This gives you a visual confirmation you can look at any time you need a bit of inspiration and a reminder that you have indeed completed steps toward your long-term goal or goals.
      1. Being able to look at a checklist of your accomplishments can speak to your psyche in a unique and effective way.

Personal Growth is a Journey

“We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals.”  – Dr. Steven Covey PhD

Don’t expect to change every single thing that’s wrong in your life at once, at best that would be overwhelming – at worst it is setting yourself up for failure.

Always remember that a small success is better than no success and that each small success is but one step on the path to creating and living the life you want.

Are You Ready to Be Happy?

Life can be tough – it can kick the breath out of you and leave you feeling sick and tired of your present situation and ready for a change – and making a change begins with a state of readiness.

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”                     – Dalai Lama

If you want to make positive changes in your life, you have to be ready, and only you can decide when the time is right.

Are You Ready to Be Happy?

Unleash the Power Within
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If you were to walk up to almost any unhappy person (if they were willing to talk, that is) and ask if they are ready to be happy, they would, of course, say yes, though they might follow the reply with a negative comment, such as – as if that could ever happen.

Very few people truly desire unhappiness, but people can get caught in cycles that recreate the same set of unhappy circumstances over and over, and it takes a lot to break out of one of those unhappy cycles.

What’s Holding You Back?

Feeling trapped, as if external forces are determining one’s happiness levels, is one thing that holds many people back, and blaming external forces gives an easy answer to a hard question, but not necessarily an accurate answer.

Self-improvement begins with being truly ready to take responsibility, to take control of your own life, and make things like low self-esteem, money problems, feeling lost and alone, exhaustion, weight problems, unhappy relationships, or lack of education a part of your past so you can live the life you want.

How to Be Happy With Your Life

When you are ready to move ahead with personal growth and make a change in how happy you are, there are several techniques you can try to see what works for you.

  • Get rid of the things that complicate and clutter your life.
  • Make time for peace and relaxation.
  • Take command of your situation and release negativity that comes from feeling powerless.
  • Don’ focus on blame, focus instead on what to do next to fix the situation.
  • Own your feelings. Somethings in life are just sad or infuriating, or hurtful – pretending everything is okay is fake and falseness holds you back in life.
  • Stop focusing on whether you are happy or not – focus instead on your goals, the steps you need to take to achieve them, and making sure you take those needed steps.

Taking care of your own needs and releasing past unhappiness is a form of self-compassion and positivity that can help you move ahead with personal growth.

3 Easy Tips for Effective Communication

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Effective Communication
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Communication is more than just speaking some words, it is the way we use bundles of  interpersonal skills as forms of communication, and these skills can be learned at any age.

Some people are very natural and skilled at using these interpersonal skills, others who did not naturally have this talent have nonetheless learned to use them effectively, and still others keep struggling to navigate the challenges of human communication.

3 Easy Tips for Effective Communication

Everyone knows someone who is just – well – awkward or imbalanced when it comes to talking and communicating with others.

Three Main Communication Styles

That awkward, imbalanced person might be too heavily influenced by one of the three main communication styles: aggressive, passive, or assertive.

To adjust for this type of communication imbalance, it can help to role play and practice different scenarios, focusing on the three main types of verbal and nonverbal communication: speaking, eye contact, and body language.

Practice Verbal Communication

The best way to improve your verbal communication skills is to practice speaking. If you feel silly practicing with

If you feel silly practicing with someone or asking someone to help you learn to speak more effectively:

  • Use your imagination and go somewhere where no one can hear you, then practice talking.
  • Use many different scenarios, because conversations rarely take the expected path and you will want to be comfortable discussing more than one topic.

Make Eye Contact but Avoid “Stalker Stare”

Eye contact can be tricky, too little shows disinterest and too much can be unsettling to others; so it’s a good idea to practice this in front of a mirror, and then, if possible, on a friend or family member.

  • There is a fine line between making enough eye contact to show interest and unleashing a full-blown “stalker stare.”
  • Oh, and remember to blink, because not blinking makes even a simple gaze resemble a stalker stare.

Practice Body Language

Body language can also be tough to master, so practice the body language you want to use in as  many hypothetical situations as possible.

  • Think of it as acting if that makes you feel more comfortable practicing, and have gestures ready for different things someone might say.
  • Avoid closed off body language, such as arms crossed in front of the body, or slouching forward because these can be indicative of deception, disinterest, or disliking the other person – all things that can kill a conversation.

Verbal and nonverbal communication skills make up the bundle of communication skills you need to communicate effectively in life, and they are all skills you can practice and perfect.

The Power You Gain From Showing Compassion to Others

It’s easy to think of kindness and compassion as something you give away – that takes from you – but the opposite is true because showing compassion can help you increase your personal power and confidence levels.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

The Link Between Kindness and Empowerment

50 Mindful Steps to Self-Esteem
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When you show compassion to someone else, it begins to bolster your self-esteem and helps you grow your personal power.

Helping someone else broadens your perspective and lets you see that, no matter what your circumstances are, you still have the power to make someone else’s day, or even their life, brighter.

In addition to extending compassion outwards, though, you can also practice self-compassion — by giving yourself a break and by seeing your good qualities instead of focusing on things you perceive as bad.

But… How Can I Help Anyone?

If you are wondering how you could possibly help anyone, for example if you are in a bad situation yourself, the help and compassion you offer don’t have to be big and drastically life-changing for the other person in order to make a positive impact on your (and their) life.

In most situations, we all have to work out our own big and life-changing struggles on our own anyway – if we want to make lasting changes in our lives – that is.

The kindness and compassion you offer can be as simple as a smile that lets another human being know they have been seen and valued, holding a door for someone carrying a heavy load, or buying someone who looks cold a small cup of coffee.

What Does Compassion Mean?

Compassion is described as a sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings and misfortunes of others.

I would add to that definition of compassion that compassion is the inner force that awakens a feeling of empathy in us and that it is the catalyst that can spur us to engage in acts of kindness.

When you are feeling down, when you have a low self-esteem, when you feel like failure is washing over you — you are focusing on yourself and the things you feel are wrong or sad or pitiful about your life – and that kind of thinking is a trap that benefits no one.

Let the compassion you feel as you look at the people around increase your self-esteem and you lead you to a better place by acting on impulses to help others.

The Difference Between Empowerment and Self-Empowerment

In the past, I spent a lot of my life feeling disempowered and trapped,  and because of that, I have spent a lot of time thinking about, studying, and reflecting on exactly what empowerment is, and about how being empowered impacts personal growth.

What Is Empowerment?

Self Empowerment: The Only Way to Heal
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Empowerment is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights, and typically, empowerment is considered to be authority or power given to someone.

Think of the way a boss is given authority over employees – he or she is empowered by upper management to tell workers what to do.

This kind of power can make a difference in your life, for sure, but it is very different in the way it impacts your life when compared to self-empowerment.

What Is Self-Empowerment?

Self-empowerment is when you make the choices, set the goals, create a plan to reach those goals, and you do the hard work of making life-altering changes.

This type of empowerment results in long-term changes that can, in fact, change your life for the better.

I won’t say no one else can change your life, or offer you empowerment because that’s not true – if it were, no one would ever get paid to be the boss – anywhere.

Often, however,  you might need a little help to get jump-started in the right direction.

However, change that comes to your life from external influences is not the only type of change you need if you are seeking a life-altering and positive change.

How Can You Benefit From the Difference Between Empowerment and Self-Empowerment

You have to do it yourself!

It isn’t always easy to hear that you have to put in some hard work to get where you want to be in life, but to benefit from the biggest difference between empowerment and self-empowerment, you have to do the work.

The things that are handed to you might help improve your life or even enable you to become self-empowered, but to make a lasting change, you have to take the responsibility  and own it, and you have to do the work to make the change.

It’s not always easy, but if you’re sure of what you want, it is always worth it to take the lead and empower yourself to make the change (or changes.)

5 Beautiful Compassion Quotes

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life: Compassion i
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Empathy and compassion help to make the world a better place when put into practice, so I wanted to share these five beautiful quotes about compassion – for inspiration and share a bit of peace and comfort with you.

Thanks for visiting Intrinsic Vicissitude… read on for the quotes!

Compassion Quotes

Compassion Quote # 1

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”  -Dalai Lama

Compassion Quote # 2

“Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.” – Confucious

Compassion Quote # 3

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” – Lao Tzu

Compassion Quote # 4

“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.” – Dalai Lama

Compassion Quote # 5

“It’s hard to practice compassion when we’re struggling with our authenticity or when our own worthiness is off-balance.” – Brene Brown

Do you have a favorite quote about compassion that isn’t listed here? If you do, it would be so great if you would take a moment and share it with everyone.

Thank you for visiting Intrinsic Vicissitude. I hope you enjoyed these short compassion quotes, and I hope you’ll bookmark the site and stop back soon to see the new posts here.

How Can Empathy Make the World a Better Place

Have you ever talked to someone who lacks empathy and who just cannot seem to understand what you’re saying because they are so set on telling you something?

If you answered yes – How did it make you feel? Frustrated? Angry? Like you really didn’t want to talk to that person ever again?

Empathy plays an important role in effective communication – and practicing this type of responsive compassion can help make the world  a better place – one person at a time.

Empathy Definition

What is empathy? Empathy is, basically, the ability to understand and to share the feelings of another person, or another living creature.

Responsive Communication

Verbal and Nonverbal cues
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There are many different communication styles, some effective and some not so effective, but for increasing empathy, it’s good to put responsive communication into practice.

Responsive communication starts with hearing and processing verbal cues, includes taking the time to process and respond to those verbal cues as well as watching for and processing nonverbal cues.

Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

Some people will say exactly what they think – and if you’re dealing with one of those delightfully above-board people, communicating with empathy should be relatively easy – you just have to hear them and think how you would feel in their situation.

  • Many people, however, most people actually, have emotional filters in place that make effective communication and true empathy a bit more tricky.
  • When dealing with people who are guarded, you have to hear the words they are speaking  and their tone of voice while also watching hand gestures, posture, eye contact, and head movements such as nodding or shaking the head no.
  • The nonverbal forms of communication are often more important in understanding and being empathetic to the other person’s feelings than the words they are saying.
    • For example, if someone is saying “Yes” but their head is shaking in a silent “No” then their subconscious is speaking to you, and it’s wise to pay attention if you want to understand and communicate with them effectively.

Compassion and Kindness

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and beauty.”  -Albert Einstein

Empathy can make the world a better place by allowing us to understand and even experience the feelings of others on a personal level so we can interact with other people and other living creatures with compassion and the sense of sharing this journey through existence.

 

 

 

The True Value of Empathy

“When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems.”  – Stephen Covey

What Is Empathy?

Born for Love: The Value of Empathy
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The dictionary definition of empathy is: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

A more personal definition is that empathy lets us connect with each other and feel connected, accepted, and understood while on the other hand, interacting with people who show a lack of empathy leaves us feeling disconnected and alone.

What Is the True Value of Empathy?

The true value of empathy is that it provides us with a sense of emotional validation.

While it does not help in every situation, showing empathy can relieve tension and anger in a person who is venting or complaining.

And if you are the one venting or complaining, having someone acknowledge your anger – having someone ‘hear’ you and understand you, can help reduce the anger and frustration you are experiencing.

Do I Lack Empathy?

Most people know deep down if they are empathetic or not, but there are tests you can take to assess your level of empathy toward others.

How Can I Be More Empathetic?

To be more empathetic, listen more than you speak. It’s not always easy, because everyone needs to be heard – everyone needs to ‘soft’ end of empathy sometimes.

  • When someone is telling you how they feel or what they think, or what they believe – you don’t have to solve their problems, educate them, or do anything except let them express themselves.
  • Recognize that it’s okay to say, “I understand.” even if you don’t totally understand – or to simply nod as a way to show you hear the person and are not judging them.
  • Think of the most frustrating conversation you ever had with your mother or father or any authority figure who was telling you how to live your life – the reason it was frustrating is most likely due to the fact that – that person was showing a lack of empathy in their dealings wth you.
  • Take an extra second to wish someone you would usually not chat with a good day, or to ask how their day is going.
  • Give a smile to someone who looks crestfallen, if they don’t smile back, don’t sweat it, maybe the memory of your smile will come to them later when they need it most.

I would love to hear what you think…

Do you have any favorite tips for increasing empathy?

Or, do you have any stories about how experiencing a lack of empathy made you feel? 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201106/the-antidote-anger-and-frustration