Living authentically is not stagnant: it is constantly shifting and taking on new forms. If we truly believe in living an authentic life, we must continue to learn about ourselves and be willing to challenge what we know. It is about learning to face fears and doubts, to be able to reach deep within ourselves to find out what makes our heart sing, our spirit soar. It is finding where our authentic self feels the most alive, free and unburdened — and then having the courage to live from that place.
When I think about connection I am reminded that significant, deep, meaningful connection with others is what I want most out of life. I think it is what most people desire. And yet there are times when we find the pursuit of connection daunting.
Brene’ Brown, who researches, writes, teaches and speaks on a range of topics, including connection, vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame says,
“Connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives,”
She goes on to define connection as:
“the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
In her books, Brown develops the idea that creating the kind of life giving connection that we are wired for requires empathy and then she drops this on us:
“we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities.”
Boom! There’s the problem, isn’t it!?
In order to experience the kind of connection that we long for we are going to have to put ourselves out there. We are going to have to be vulnerable and take some risks. We are going to have to share our own fears and failings and fragilities.
And we can’t substitute sympathy for empathy. Sympathy isn’t a bad thing – it just doesn’t lead to the deep, meaningful connections we long for – for that we are going to need to “feel with people”.
Here’s the difference in sympathy and empathy:
Empathy is the ability to mutually experience the thoughts, emotions, and direct experience of others. It goes beyond sympathy, which is a feeling of care and understanding for the suffering of others.
The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), an enlightenment organisation committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges, created a great animated short that uses Brene’ Brown’s commentary about empathy and how it leads to connection:
If we can learn to be vulnerable enough to risk practicing empathy we open up the potential to experience the kind of life giving, whole hearted, healing connection we long for.
Empathy is connection!
Be sure and check out these other posts for this month’s synchroblog:
Jerry Wirtley – Connection
Sara Quezada – Can You Really Know Someone In A Different Language?
Ford – Interindependence
Michael Donahoe – Connection
Minnow – Our Dis-Connect
Justin Steckbauer – Connection in Love, it’s what Life is all about!
Carol Kuniholm – Disengagement and Connection
Wesley Rostoll – Finding Jesus In Different Places
Doreen A Mannion – A bunny, a fawn and some geese walk into a bar …
Leah Sophia – Touch of Life
Karen “Charity” Aldrich – Wuv True Wuv
Abbie Watters – Connection – Addicted to the Buzz
Liz Dyer – Human Connection and the Power of Empathy
Loveday Anyim – Why Get Connected to God when He can’t be there for Me?
This post if part of the March synchroblog. This month’s synchroblog theme is New Life. I’m late to the party – the March synchroblog actually happened last Wednesday but my youngest son was home from college during his spring break and I was busy enjoying my time with him.
Dropping Keys by Hafiz
The small man
Builds cages for everyone
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
My one word theme for 2014 is “empowerment” and the idea isn’t primarily about my own empowerment but the idea of helping to empower others. It’s so easy to spend our energy keeping others small and caged so we can feel more comfortable; but I believe cages stifle creativity and ingenuity and end up robbing our world of ideas and innovations that need to be born in order for us to continue to progress and move forward. So, I’m trying to focus on being the sage who is dropping keys for the beautiful, rowdy prisoners locked up in cages rather than the small woman who is building those cages.
I see dropping keys as helping others consider possibilities that may have previously seemed out of reach, by connecting people to others and to resources that might be helpful, by taking the time to build up others who are life-givers, by spreading stories that seem to be changing the world into a better place, by encouraging those who still have work to do but might be tired or afraid or discouraged, by being willing to share my own “know how” about anything I do well with anyone who wants or needs it.
My hope is that by dropping keys someone will experience new life and in turn become a life-giver.
The inspiration came from the beautiful poem “Dropping Keys” written by Hafiz, a poet from the 14th century along with this thought from Chris Guillebeau:
“Think about the times when someone has really helped you think or live differently. It was like they placed a key on the ground in front of you; you picked it up and unlocked a cage. You had to open the cage yourself, of course, but it was a lot easier with a key.”
What keys do you hold that could set someone free and give them new life?
I hope you will check out the other posts about New Life:
Michael Donahoe – New Life
K.W. Leslie – Sin Kills; God Brings New Life
Carol Kuniholm – New Life. Mystery Fruit.
Jeremy Myers – I Get Depressed On Facebook
Glenn Hager – A Personal Resurrection Story
Loveday Anyim – Spring Forth – Ideas That Speak New Life
Loveday Anyim – Inspired By Spring To Create A New Life
Sarah Quezada – Post Winter Delight
Edwin Aldrich – Finding New Life In Our New Home
Doreen A. Mannion – Each Day A New Decision: Choose Life
kathy escobar – new life through nonviolent communication
Anita Coleman New Life, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and Eternal Living
Sonja Andrews Persephone
Mallory Pickering New Life Masterpiece Theater Style
Liz Dyer New Life, Empowerment and Dropping Keys