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HOW TO ELIMINATE A OO7 DOUBLE LIFE

When James* called upon me, he asked that we meet in an open restaurant downtown Vancouver. Asking him why there instead of my office, he laughed and said, ‘Because I need it this way.’ 
 
On the agreed upon date and time of rendez-vous, James sat down in front of me and immediately placed his hands under the table where I could Not see them. This gesture alone told me a lot about James, how easily he pretended to be emotionally open yet felt the want to hide once in front of me.
 
Through my talking with him, I found out James was one of nine children from a very large Catholic South American family. He grew up being an altar boy, going to Sunday school, and saying prayers. But something was Not working for him… In his teenage years, he realized he was gay and being gay is apparently something deemed unacceptable in his family and culture.
 
 

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt rejected for what you are?

 
 
James moved to Vancouver, found a job, and said he met the ‘love of his life’, whom he married a couple of years later. Though saying he is happily married, James had two Facebook accounts, one ‘straight’ and one gay, to ‘spare’ the family as he said. Looking down, he confessed few people (if any) where he came from knew he was even married.
 
 

Can you imagine what it feels like to hide things from the people you love? 

 
 
In tears, James said he needed to come out of the closet as a gay and this is why he was coming to see me. He felt he could Not do it alone, he said this was too much for him to face alone.
 

 
I asked…
 
 

In a perfect world, what would your life be like right now?

 
 
Jame’s face brightened. He shared how he would only have one Facebook account and one Instagram account. He laughed saying he would show pictures from the ‘crazy’ adventures he and his husband have been on, their food expeditions, their vacations together, even their honeymoon trip…
 
I asked James if he truly loved his husband. Without hesitation he answered choking up, “Are you kidding me? He is the best thing that has ever happened to me!”
 
I replied,
 
 

When we truly love someone, including ourselves, do we hide who we are?

 
 
James burst into tears. He did Not seem to care anymore whether the waiter or other patrons saw him crying; his shoulders were heaving up and down with heavy sobs. Then he took a deep breath, clenched his teeth, and said, “I deserve better! My husband deserves better! I am coming out!” I was impressed by this fiery determination.
 
That day, he went home with homework to do. Over the next seven days, he had to call every member of his family, his eight siblings and two parents, and tell each one of them he was gay. His framework looked something like ‘I am calling to share something important to me. I am gay. Being gay is a part of me, it is Not all of me. I love you.”
 
 

Have you ever had to stand up for what you believe in? How easy was it?

 
 
At our next coaching session, James sat down with his journal open. Where he had drawn ten little people with their name on top of each, three of them were still left unmarked by an ‘X’ signifying ‘the job is done’ and they knew he was gay.
 
I open directly,
 
 

What happened to you missing your goal?

 
James grabbed his journal with both hands. He mumbled how he was Not truly close to the only sibling left on the list as this person had once sexually assaulted him when he was a kid… He also said how many of his siblings were now sending him harassment messages telling him he was ‘wrong’, going to ‘hell, and ‘Don’t tell mom and dad! They’re too old and mom’s depression is too bad!’
 
Like so many, James was caught once more living a double life, living in the background of his own life while trying to get ‘approval’ from others, especially from members of his family.
 
 

Whose approval is most important to you to be happy?

 
I pointed to the top of the page where all his little people drawings were and I asked him to write down a story title expressing what his goal is. His pen almost pierced the paper as he wrote in capital letters at the top,
 

“I AM COMING OUT!”

 
 
Let me ask you…
 

Why do we become untruthful?

Why do we pursue lies?

 
 
I believe the answer is, because we think it will be better.
 
Is it though? How was James’ constant lying about being gay going to advance his goal of coming out of the closet?
 
Clearly, denying our truth does Not work.
 
With this in mind…
 

How do things become better?

 

I believe, things become better when we focus on 

  • becoming truthful. ‘What is my truth?’

  • becoming intentional. ‘What can I do right now to uphold my truth?’

  • becoming accountable. ‘What can I do to hold myself accountable so I live my truth?

 
I could certainly relate to James. When I got married, I did not tell my then husband about the way I grew up, the level of violence. I thought he would ‘love’ me more if I buried what had happened to me as a child. Can you relate? My life changed for the better when I became truthful, intentional, and accountable.
 
 

Here are some rock solid tips to assist you who may suffer from ‘007 Double Life  Syndrome’:

Once you have identified what your truth is, whether it is to come of the closet as gay or lesbian, leave an unhappy marriage, change jobs, or …
 

  • Make a list of who needs to know. When we make the decision to come out with our truth, often, we tend to believe everyone ‘must’ know all at once. Spare yourself feeling overwhelmed, work in stages.

  • Come up with an on point message telling your truth. Keep it short. Keep it sweet. Keep it to the point. Understand there is plenty of time later to go into the ‘Why did this happen?’ if you ever chose to.

  • Have an accountability system/person in place. Though many of us say we ‘know’ what we need to do in order to be happy, many of us end up losing our nerve when the stakes are deemed high.Therefore, having someone on your team who is Not emotionally attached to your situation allows for actions with a greater sense of clarity.

 
 
Now imagine somebody has just read these tips…
 

What do you believe will be their greatest challenge?

 
Before James came to see me, he had all the best intentions in the world, BUT he lacked a solid accountability system. This is why as soon as he went into ‘What will they think of me?’ he lost his nerve of telling his truth to his family.
 
My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach who holds her clients highly accountable so they get to live their truth openly, and like James, get to come out at the top of their story page.
 
For coaching inquiries, reach out to me at anne@walkinginside.com
 
Your Emotional Intelligence Coach,
Anne
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com
 

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ROUND AND ROUND

ROUND AND ROUND
 
Round and round
We go again
On the merry-go-round of life.
Ups and downs,
We think that’s life
Until we get off our mount.
 
Round and round
We go again
On the merry-go-round of life.
Laughter and tears
We think we’re here
Until we go deep within.
 
In and in
We go again
On the merry-go-round of life,
Darkness and light
Fuse into one
Until we go round and round.
 
With love & compassion,
Anne
 
What makes any of us go round and round in circles?
 
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com
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HOW FAR AM I WILLING TO GO?

HOW FAR AM I WILLING TO GO?
 
Am I willing to go beyond the stars
Where you and I were born
Where the sun befriends the moon
Where rainbows bridge us all?
 
Am I willing to go further than the eye can see
Where trees plant their roots
Where flowers drop their seeds
Where leaves take in the colours of seasons?
 
Am I willing to go deeper than the ocean floor
Where all the river beds make one
Where the illusion of division is triumphed over
Where we all feel as one?
 
How far am I willing to go?
 
I am willing to go
At the centre of myself
Where I hear it all begins
The point of origin
That unites us all.
 
I am willing to go
Where ‘broken’ lines disappear
Where there is no you or me
Where there is only a we.
 
I am willing to go
Where love is no more a concept
Where love becomes fully being
Where love is visible in all.
 
If ever I think I have reached this place
Where I hear it all begins
Ask me again
‘How far am I willing to go?’
And I will come back to
Being in the here and now
Until we all feel that we belong.
 
With Compassion,
Anne
 
www.walkinginside.com
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acceptance Accountability Assertiveness Authenticity Awareness Blind Spots Commitment Compassion Confidence Conscience Courage Curiosity Emotional Intelligence Empathy Enabling Equality Faith Forgiveness freedom Friendship Gratefulness Happiness Hope Ignorance Imagination Inner Child Inner Peace Insanity Intellect Intent Intentions Intuition Joy Leadership Life Purpose Love Magic Mindfullness Parenting Self Patience Peace Racism Reality Relationship Sadness Sanity Satisfaction Self-Confidence Self-empowerment Self-Worth Sensitivity Settling Shame Social Awareness Space Success Tolerance Trust WalkingInside

I — USED TO THINK

I — USED TO THINK
 
I used to think
A tree was just a tree
I saw it with my own mind
Roots, trunk, branches, leaves.
 
I used to think
You were different than me
I saw it with my own mind
Bodies, fences, judgement, fear.
 
Thanks to my mentor, I met me
For a moment, I stopped thinking,
In stillness, my mind cracked open
Discovering sunshine cooling breeze within.
 
How refreshing
To hear inside the giggles of a small child
Who never thought we were separate
Who’s always known we all belong.
 
Because of my love for this child and me
The lines in my mind are becoming blurry
If there is nothing separating you from me
Then, who am I? What are we?
 
Willing to know, I ask her to show me the way
How I may serve her from a place of integrity
Laughing, she is showing a world full of wonders
Where roots and bodies, you and me,
Are merging into, this or something greater,
Then… I used to think.
 
With love & compassion,
Anne
 
www.walkinginside.com
 
To know more about Soul Leadership: www.fullmontyleadership.com
 
P.S. With this post, I am including more forms and patterns I have seen when opening up pictures. This time, I am not showing the pictures they may have originated from because I want you to imagine what can possibly give rise to …
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WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT SADNESS?

If I were to ask you right now,
 

“Where does sadness come from?”

 
What is your answer?
 
 
I have come to realize that ‘sadness’ is one of these big words that so many people use without truly stopping to ask themselves,
 

“What does sadness mean to me?” 

 
 
At least, this used to be my case in the past…
 
 
But now, I am fascinated with what I call blanket words, words we seem to throw casually over whatever event, person, or situation we might be unable to cope with at the present moment…
 
Sounds familiar? 
 
As usual for me lately, when I want to know to the bottom of something, I start where it all begins… with the words we were taught as children…
 
 

In English, the word sadness (sad) first came from Germanic origin, saed,

meaning ‘sated, wary’.

 
 
As you may probably know, the word ‘sated’ is linked to ‘saturated’, meaning ‘having enough’ or ‘feeling full’.
 
Sooo,
 

Is sadness ‘having enough wariness that we feel full?’

 
If this is the case, then this statement implies there is no other room within ourselves to experience any other feeling in that moment.
 
Is it true?
 
Is it always true?
 
Most likely Not!
 
Therefore,
 

Is sadness a feeling that can be felt in conjunction with other feelings?

 
 
Wooooo….
 
Then it begs the question,
 

“Why so sad if joy is just beside?”

 
 
 
I kept on digging….
 
Turns out the word sadness took its saed away and turned to the Dutch zat, the German satt and the Latin satis, also meaning ‘enough’. But then, something fascinating happened!
 

The original meaning of sadness was replaced in Middle English 

by the senses ‘steadfast, firm, serious, sober’.

 
 
OK, now I am going to poke fun here…
 

Is sadness a steadfast feeling? 

 
According to Google, steadfast means “resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.’
 
HOLY SPITBALLS!
 

Is sadness something we must resolutely and dutifully 

firm and unwavering feel?

 
To say resolutely, one has to determinedly agree to to be sad first.
 
To say dutifully, one has to agree to continue feeling sad out of ‘duty’.
 
To say firm and unwavering, one has to believe they have zero choice in the matter.
 
Is it true?
 
Is it always true?
 
 
 
Apparently, it is only much much later that the English decided to give sadness the meaning of ‘sorrowful’, ‘a feeling involving grief or loss’.
 
Wow, it seems to have taken the English quite a long time to figure out what sadness means to them?
 
Now, maybe the French know ‘better’?
 

The word ‘tristesse’ comes from the Latin tristicia, tristitia, meaning

… an affliction

… a melancholic temperament

… an ambiance marked by affliction or melancholy

… an aspect of something that triggers a state of affliction

 
 
Fascinating, is you ask me!
 
Why?
 

If sadness is ONE aspect of our self that is feeling afflicted,

then it implies we have within our self OTHER aspects that are non-sad.

 
 
HOLY REVELATION!
 
This is amazing news for anyone who has ever believed they might never come out of depression.
 
This means, sadness is just but one feeling within our self that, we can choose to feel and move to joy and happiness.
 
When I hit what I call the shitter, I had no idea I had been depressed my whole life.
 
I mean,
 

How would anyone know they are depressed 

if they grew up with depressed people (their normal)? 

 
 
For me, feeling depressed was my normal, what I grew up with. Therefore, unknowingly (this is what normal does, engrain stuff in us), I carried this feeling of depression with me throughout most of my life.
 
I never quite understood why other people could be so happy looking at a flower or hugging a tree… until I met my mentor Dov Baron. He showed me sadness was just one feeling within me, that there were many others, and I could choose to feel more positive feelings into my life.
 
WELCOME SELF-EMPOWERMENT!
 
Yes, it has taken me a lot of self-compassion to change my negatively wired upbringing to feel more positive feelings of well-being.
 
Here is the thing though, if I can do it with a deeply raging father who sexually abused me as a child and a psychotic mother who believed she was pregnant with Jesus Christ, I firmly believe you also have the power within yourself to change your life. We all do!
 
The question is,
 

“What meaning are you now willing to assign to sadness?”

 
I trust you have found value in this article. My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach, Authentic Speaker, and Compassion Blogger. I can be reached at anne@walkinginside.com
 
With Compassion,
Anne
 
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com

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AWAKENING

AWAKENING
 
I awoke in the middle of the night,
Frightened and scared,
Thinking I was alone.
I looked around the bedroom,
Stillness and shadows greeting me.
What an unfamiliar sight, I thought to myself,
To be alone with one’s thoughts,
To be shyly greeting one’s feelings.
 
Out of habit,
I called out a name,
Thinking you would come,
But the echo came back empty.
I did not yet understand,
Love is neither a name or a game,
It is a flowing feeling,
Like waves, rising and falling,
Amidst our own waters.
 
Thinking I knew better,
I turned my bed into a raft,
I paddled day and night,
Still hoping to find you,
Afloat on another raft nearby.
 
Feeling more lost than ever,
I finally stopped doing this crazy thing,
And started instead to
Listen to the wind
Who has always known my name.
 
It said,
“Dive,
Dive deep within,
For the one you are looking for,
The Beloved,
Is awaiting.”
 
I told the Wind,
“I am no Mermaid,
To flag my tale under water.”
And the Wind softly replied,
“Trust and Have Faith,
Within you is always the Way.”
 
So I took a majestic dive
Perhaps the way Dolphins do?
Feeling my own breathing
Echoing back to me
The beauty of universes within.
 
I now use my raft as a diving board,
In whatever room I find myself in,
I remember Ocean Waves belong
To the One
Awakened in the middle of the night.
 
With Deep Gratitude,
Anne
 
Dov Baron, thank you for being the Wind speaking softly to me, I am grateful
 
 
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com
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HOW TO GET THROUGH “HE’S NOT THAT INTO YOU”

I look at him, a playful grin on my face. I am laying on the bed, watching him as he enters the bedroom. “Did you miss me?” he asks casually. As I pull him towards me, I whisper, “Let me show you…”
 
We have all been in this kind of situation…. where we have believed we were in ‘love’ and ‘all’ that mattered was ‘being’ together, right?
 
… Until the dreadful moment where we realize…
 

“What the hell did I get myself into?”

 
 
In the past, I have had my share of this kind of realizations. Feeling squeezed, I wondered,
 

 “What is wrong? Why isn’t he that into me?”

 
 
I thought… it all started ‘great’… We locked eyes across the room and felt a strong physical attraction towards one another.
 
Can you relate?
 
… And before we took the time to really know each other, there we were, showing how much we had missed each other by having sex.
 
 

Is sex automatically synonymous of intimacy?

 
 
I was so eager to have a relationship that I did not know how to be in a relationship.
 
Sounds familiar?
 
Before long, I started noticing his,“Hey, my battery’s about to die, gotta go, ok? Love ya though!”
 
This type of behaviour from him surfaced especially when I wanted to talk about our lack of spending time together…
 
 

Is spending time together automatically synonymous of intimacy?

 
To my increasingly ignored hurt feelings, he answered things like, “You’re harshing my mellow right now!” before storming out of the door, leaving me feeling even more unwanted, unloved, and undesired.
 
It is in moments like these that I have said,
 

“What the hell did I get myself into?”

 
 
 
It has taken me many years of mentoring (I was stubborn) to deeply realize that,
 
 

Like attracts like. 

 
Go back. Read it again.
 
 

A toxic relationship is based on two individuals having the 

SAME primary wound, but

DIFFERENT coping mechanisms.

 
Look at it as a magnet… The magnet is the toxic relationship wound and each end is one person’s coping mechanisms (+ or -). A + could be confrontational, a – could be withdrawal…
 
 

Now, what is your primary wound? 

 
My primary wound is the shame of existence. I grew up in a household where my father treated me like chattel, ‘do as I say or else!’ I had to blindly obey, no matter what I felt. I mainly felt unseen, unheard, unloved. This is why in the past I became attracted to men who treated me like chattel, who did not see me for who I truly am, who did not believe my needs, feelings, and emotions mattered.
 
Is it any surprise to you now that I attracted men who were not that into me?
 
What about you?
 
Let’s take it deeper…
 

What is the greatest form of intimacy?

 
 
I have come to deeply believe,
 

The greatest form of intimacy is, vulnerability by authenticity.

 
 
Go back. Read it again.
 
 
What does this mean, you may ask?
 

Intimacy is, 

 

Being vulnerable with our own self 

by discovering who we are at the core of our being.

 

It is the greatest form of self-love.

 
 
Think about it… If we start discovering who we truly are… where our past hurt comes from… and do somethings to heal our self… What do you believe happens to toxic relationships?
 
I strongly believe,
 

Toxic relationships then become a thing of the past.

 
 
For example, I often get propositioned by men who approach me with seemingly hungry eyes as they say, “I love how deeply connected you are to yourself, it’s sexy as fuck…” 
 
Their dry hunger I perceive, this kind of self-starving self-love, puts me off so much that I energetically close the door on them.
 
Why?
 

With self-discovery comes discernment! 

 
 
When we have discernment, we feel what works for us, we feel gradually into situations or possible relationships. There is no more denying, no more giving in to just blind physical attraction alone, we become clear!
 
 

How do we become intimate with our self?

 

  • Spend time alone. Ask yourself, ‘What do I need right now?’ and ‘What do I really want in my life?’ Act rightfully upon these answers. Build compassion for your self.

 

  • Build strong emotional boundaries. I know, it is easy to say and hard to do, especially for many of us who spend more time stating what they do not want rather than deeply feeling knowing what they do want.

 

But for people like you and me who are deeply committed to their healing,

 

  • Hire an emotional intelligence coach or mentor. We all have blind spots and unless conditioning is transcended, guess what? It will keep running the show under, “What the hell did I get myself into?”

 
Now, I am so deeply into-me-see (intimacy) that I am becoming a different kind of magnet, a magnet who attracts people like me, getting intimately connected with their own self.
 

Like attracts like, remember?

 
My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach, Authentic Speaker, and Bestselling Author. I can be reached at anne@walkinginside.com
 
With love & compassion,
Anne
 
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com

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GOING TO THE ROOTS OF HAPPINESS

Happiness is such a big word, don’t you think? I mean, what does happiness truly mean anyway? 
 
Searching for the roots of happiness, I asked myself,
 

“Where does happiness come from?”

 
 
According to the French Dictionary of Etymology (history of words),
 

Bonheur comes from the latin word augurium 

which means

divination, enchantment, foreboding, forecast, interpretation, omen.

 
 
WOW!
 

Who knew happiness might be perceived as intuitive projections 

cast onto people, situations, or things?

 
 
HOLY BURNING SHIT!
 
Maybe this is why some relationships call themselves happy’ while being massively co-dependent? As one person enchants the other to make them happy, to fill a cup they might refuse to fill by their own?
 
MMMMM….
 
I know, I know… it may sound harsh what I am saying right now, but…
 

Isn’t it what projections do? 

Cast a judgment spell onto another 

about what is lacking within one’s own self? 

 
DAMN!
 
Let me share something with you.
 
In the past, when I said, “You are my everything, you make me so happy!”  I did not know I had an emotional hole within that no person, money or thing could ever fill. As a result, I have kept others deeply prisoners in my life, casting them to play small, all in the name of ‘happiness’.
 
Maybe this is why, for the old me, happiness never seemed to last long, for I was constantly looking for the next happiness ‘fix’. Maybe you can relate?
 
Think about it….
 
If someone is to say, “I predict/want you to be happy.”, how reliable would you believe their omen to be, coming from someone with an emotional hole within to start with?
 
HOLY CRAP!
 
Maybe the French got it wrong?
 
So I turned to the English…
 
I guess there is nothing like an old Oxford English to determine the roots of happiness…
 
Can you imagine my surprise and laughter when I found out that,
 

The English stole the happiness word from the Vikings! 

 
BLOODY HELL!
 

Hap is a Norwegian word meaning luck, 

which means

happiness is luck or being lucky.

 
Now, what kind of luck were the Norwegian referring to? Lucky in bed? Lucky in finances? Lucky in war? Lucky in love?…
 
I don’t know about you, but for me,
 

To leave happiness to chance, 

specifically to the randomness of others, 

is not called happiness; it is hell!!!

 
Because, like you, I care deeply about my own happiness, I went digging with the Chinese.
 
Maybe Confucius can shed some light as to what happiness might actually truly be about?
 
In Chinese Mandarin, the word happiness translates into 开心 (kaixin)
 
开(kai) means to open widely. 开 indicates the beginning AND continuation of something. 开 also indicates the capacity of something.
心 (xin) means heart, feeling, intention, centre, core.
 
Based on an ancient Chinese secret maybe,
 

Happiness is 开心, the act of opening our heart widely, 

so we can feel and continue feeling our heart 

deeper and deeper 

at the core of our being. 

 
HOLY MAGIC BEANS!
 
I love this explanation, because this means
 

I AM 100% responsible for my OWN happiness.

 
This means,
 

  • Happiness is never about other people, situations, or things.

  • Happiness is never about luck or feeling lucky.

Happiness is solely about feeling our own open heart 

at the core of our being.

 
Therefore,
 

I AM happy because I AM

 
My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach who loves languages for the insights and wisdom they provide beyond the words. I am also an expert on happiness who can be reached at anne@walkinginside.com
 
With love & compassion,
Anne
 
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com

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THE LESSON BY THE OLD MAN WITH THE RABBIT

His eyes fascinate me, two white eggs with two brown pancakes in their middle. Every time he looks at me, I feel transported inside the world of an innocent child, perhaps confused by how many years seem to have flown by him. His face, a maze of zigzagging lines, looks like a race against time. The more I look at him, the more I want to know the heart behind the beggar I see on the street.
 
Unlike many other pedlars perhaps, he does not verbally ask directly for money to me. He usually leaves a hat or an empty cup in front of him and silently waits. For a while, I even thought he was mute…
 
On some days, I notice him holding a big fluffy brown rabbit in his lap. He seems to love his rabbit very much and the rabbit seem to reciprocate greatly by snuggling its nose deeply inside the old man’s open jacket, maybe to hear their uniting heart beat?
 
As the old man pets his rabbit in long rhythmic strokes, I notice there is no cage for the rabbit and no leash. Amazing, considering we all live downtown where sirens are blared, buses breaks loudly, and passerby talk on their cell phone.
 
Today, though, something happened to break ‘our’ routine. A great gift was given to me. As I was about to enter my favourite coffee shop, the old man suddenly appeared behind me and asked softly, “Can you buy me a cup of coffee?”
 
Startled, I jump. How did he get here? Holy Molly, he can talk! As I look inside his two white eggs with two brown pancakes in their middle, I feel my heart fill with the desire to know him.
 
I reach inside my coat pocket and retrieve a bunch of spare change. I am unsure if I have enough to buy an extra cup of coffee for him, so I impulsively say no, then wishing inside I had brought more money. Peaceful, he says okay and starts standing in line by my side, as if money was a non-issue.
 
I do not know what to think. I put my hand inside my coat pocket again and I find not only an extra $2, but also a free donut prize I had won the day before. I smile at the old man triumphant. “I have extra money! I can buy you that coffee after all!”
 
The old man smiles at me as if he had been expecting this result.
 
Waiting in line, I ask him how he is and he smiles at me asking. I ask him how his rabbit is and he answers his rabbit is fine and at home. I ask him if he lives in a centre and he answers yes. At one point, I mention his new haircut that I believe suits him tremendously and my, o my, he blushes like a young child, passing his bony hand through his balding greying hair.
 
The whole time we are talking, he first looks into my eyes before answering any question. He reminds me of The Fiddler on the Roof. Any moment, I imagine him erupting in a traditional dance with his arms wide outstretched open.
 
We get to the counter and I take a step aside. I ask him to order his coffee as he likes it. Then I give him the coupon for the free donut. His face lights up like a Christmas tree. After I pay for both of us, I realize I am left with spare change close to $2????
 
I do not get what is happening, but I take all the left-over change and give it to him saying, “For whatever you need…” The two white eggs with two brown pancakes in their middle smiles at me in acknowledgement.
 
I watch him choose to sit alone at a table. Wrapping his two hands around the warm coffee cup, he closes his eyes, a peaceful smile spreading on his face. I feel the same smile spreading on mine…
 
In our everyday interactions, we never fully know who we are impacting. My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach whom you can reach at anne@walkinginside.com 
 
With love & Compassion,
Anne
 
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com

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EMPATHY OR ENABLING?

“Put yourself in my shoes!” yelled my 14 year old daughter to me before storming out of the kitchen crying. As I heard her bedroom door slam, I whispered softly, “I am trying, sweetie, more than you might possibly know.”
 
The sale offer for the house had been finalized and I had just announced to my daughter that we were moving downtown, be about one hour away from her school and friends.
 
She was adamant she was not moving. She was determined to finish high school where her two elder siblings had graduated from before her.
 
In the past, when I talked about the house being for sale, she usually became quiet, silent, withdrawn, as if the landscape outside the kitchen window was far more interesting than what I had to say.
 
If I asked her if she was listening to any I was sharing about the house, she often turned her head sharply to me, two “daggers” suddenly “piercing”, and with her lips pinched tightly together, continued being ‘silent’….
….
 
I gather many of us, parents, have had to make life decisions that may have been disliked by our children.
 
So, when a child or an adult says, “Put yourself in my shoes!”, what exactly are they asking us to do?
 
I believe
 

EMPATHY is primarily seeing another person’s 

feelings and perspectives

THROUGH THEIR LIFE FILTERS.

 
 
Therefore, when we are asked to show empathy, we might want to remember to:
 

  • Hold our self in check. If we cannot hold our self in check, if we let our emotions run high, how can we ever be able to tune in without distortion to someone else’s feelings and emotions?

  • Become attentive to what is verbally spoken. Take an active interest in the other person’s concerns. Ask, “What exactly is troubling you right now?” If we are unable to zero in on exact concerns, how is it possible to ever put our self in someone else’s shoes?

  • Listen actively for unspoken emotions. We all know underneath the blanket of anger is a hurt/wounded person. Focus on understanding where the other person’s potential hurt comes from.

  • Visualize and show sensitivity to another’s perspective. Empathy is felt by using someone else’s life filters to relate to their feelings and emotions. In this light, empathy is also known as the gateway to compassion.

 
 
In a situation requiring empathy:
 
⇒What happens if we cannot hold our self in check? We might most likely take on the other person’s feelings and emotions as our own, meaning: their drama becomes our drama.
 
⇒What happens if we are inattentive to what is verbally spoken? We might most likely make up shit about them, meaning: telling the other person what they are supposed to or should be feeling right now.  
 
⇒What happens if we address the anger instead of the underneath hurt? It is my belief we then waste precious time arguing for the shit one party or both people want(s) to be right about.
 
⇒What happens if we use our own filters to show empathy? Then it is not called empathy, my friend.
 
 

At what point does empathy become enabling?

 
It is my belief
 

Empathy becomes enabling when we consistently lack discernment.

 
Since judgment is always about others and discernment is always about the self (what works for us or not),
 
♠When we lack discernment, we are unable to hold our self in check. 
Think about it for a moment….
How can anyone possibly sort out what is ‘mine’ and ‘theirs’ when they are unclear about their own self, what they want, what they need, and/or how to uphold their own emotional boundaries? 
 
♠When we lack discernment, we are unable to pay close attention to what is being spoken.
The proof? How much healthy attention can we give another human being if our head is stuck into our own problems? In my case, very little if any at all.
 
 
♠When we lack discernment, we talk to the blanket of anger and ignore the real person underneath it….
Let me ask you, 
Where is the empathy in doing that?
 
 
♠When we lack discernment, we believe everyone sees our world through our own filters. 
I don’t know about you, but I can call this a whole bunch of names, except ‘empathy’.
 
 
Knowing that 

Enabling is allowing a self-destructive behaviour 

to passively continue taking place,

 
Do you now see now how
 
 

Empathy necessitates a high level of discernment, 

State clearly what works for the self,

 or watch empathy gradually disintegrate into enabling over time.

 
 
I trust you are finding value in this article. My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach who assists her clients in living their life from a place of true empathy. You can reach me at anne@walkinginside.com
 
With Love & Compassion,
Anne
 
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com