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Perspective and growth… I’ve experienced some challenging times recently. Among the challenges, today (21st April) is the 2nd anniversary of my partner Liane’s suicide. The story and music are at www.rudeangel.co.uk. If you have time please download (it’s all free)  – listen and share, and read Liane’s words. They are inspiring. My own dance in the darkness, from which I seem now to be slowly emerging, generates in me an ever keener interest in and passion for exploring, promoting and publicizing many aspects of mental health and the mind, together with authenticity, happiness, love, life, death, etc., and what these things actually are. Within all this, one great lesson for me is that we each see the world – and others, and ourselves – in our own unique way. Nobody can fully understand how another person is feeling. Happily there are many people who imagine the best of others, and forgive and love, when others behave in ways that can seem, or truly be, upsetting or difficult. Coincidentally a few days ago I was sent this lovely original quote by Charlotte Sebego, who already features on my inspirational quotes page, and has a gift for saying a great deal of enormous value in very few words..

“Perhaps I am not to you, but, I am to me.” (Charlotte Sebego, 16 April 2017) 

I take the liberty of suggesting that this beautifully apt quote is for anyone who feels misunderstood at the deepest level of what and who we are – which is perhaps everyone. Thank you Charlotte. And thank you Liane, and all who’ve loved and hugged me, physically and virtually. I love you.

We never truly know what another person is feeling… We might imagine that we do, or we might project our own ‘shared’ feelings onto somebody else, knowingly, or unconsciously and unintentionally.. whatever, we can never know exactly how another person is feeling. We can try to be empathic, and to listen very deeply, and to resist our natural urges to explain our own feelings, but a person’s feelings are unique and can only felt by the person himself or herself.

So when we talk with others, especially at times of difficulty or stress or misunderstanding or conflict, remember that we do not know exactly how the other person is feeling, and for this reason it is rarely a good thing to give firm personal advice or direction, even if we are asked to do so. Instead we should try to understand as much as we can about the other person’s needs and feelings, and then to act as a ‘sounding board’ (reflector) and an enabler of his or her own thinking and decision-making.

If we have particular expertise that is useful for another person, then we can very helpfully explain options and implications of different courses of action and decisions. We can even suggest what we ourselves would do – but importantly we must emphasise the need for the other person to form his or her own views, and make his or her own decision.

So when we deal with sensitive relationships and communications, we will be more helpful if we try to offer clarity and to improve appreciation of issues and consequences, rather than give direction or personal opinion.

We help others by enabling them to find their own way; not by pointing our way for them.

Texting and messaging are risky ways to communicate… it follows from the above (i.e., we cannot know fully how another person is feeling) that when we communicate with another person – or people – especially about things that are sensitive or difficult, or misunderstood, or disputed – that our communication methods must enable as much understanding as possible. Texting and messaging are very very poor at conveying meanings and feelings. Emailing is a little better because we can write more, and we can take more time to think about and edit what we write. Voice messaging is better still because we can hear the voice of the other person, and he/she can hear our voice, which conveys lots more words and some feeling. Phoning in real time is better still because we can hear each other’s voices; the tone and expression and some feeling, and we can respond to each other  – in real time. This is crucial because it enables reflection back and clarification. Video-phoning is better still because we can see facial expressions. But the best way to communicate, when we need to understand each other’s feelings as much as possible, is face-to-face, so that we can use all our senses and instincts to see, hear, ‘feel’, and discuss exactly what each other is meaning, and importantly how each other is feeling: what the issue means to each other, which is highly complex. Albert Mehrabian established some brilliantly helpful theories about this many years ago. His work is a good starting point for realising how humans communicate, and how to improve our own communications with others. Body language is also a vital part of understanding people, and understanding the effects we can have on others.

Magical… The relaunch of the magnificent Haymarket Theatre in Leicester is a story of wonderful vision, belief, determination, and collaboration. This amazing theatre – boasting the biggest stage in England – has been closed for several years, and it will re-open later in 2017. Connect with what’s happening there. It is very special.
Magical… The relaunch of the magnificent Haymarket Theatre in Leicester is a story of wonderful vision, belief, determination, and collaboration. This amazing theatre – boasting the biggest stage in England – has been closed for several years, and it will re-open later in 2017. Connect with what’s happening there. It is very special.
Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi, born 1953) and hugging… Amma is a Hindu spiritual leader and guru. She hugs people. Hugging and being held produces incredibly good effects in people. Amma has hugged and helped over 33 million people. Try it. We all feel amazingly good after a good long hug – giving or receiving. The Love page on this website explores more about the power of love and hugging.
Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi, born 1953) and hugging… Amma is a Hindu spiritual leader and guru. She hugs people. Hugging and being held produces incredibly good effects in people. Amma has hugged and helped over 33 million people. Try it. We all feel amazingly good after a good long hug – giving or receiving. The Love page on this website explores more about the power of love and hugging.

Every mistake, nuisance and difficult situation helps us grow and learn… While we might not accept this benefit at the time, we gain our knowledge, wisdom and strength by experiencing and overcoming challenges. We do not grow by progressing unhindered through life. Negative experiences help us and teach us in many ways. Some we can choose to accept or refuse; others come along without a choice. It’s ok to get help at times – we don’t need to do it all alone. Whatever, be assured that what does not kill us makes us stronger, as Nietzsche wrote it. It follows that people who avoid problems, or are always protected from challenges, do not grow and develop so much. So when the next problem comes along for you – large or small – embrace it, welcome it, and be thankful for it, because it is helping you to grow.

Increasing our openness improves everything… Paradoxically this is true. Most people imagine and practise the opposite. Here’s an small easy experiment to try, to prove this for yourself – that being open, vulnerable, transparent, and giving and taking a risk, etc., produces good results: The next time you walk down a street, smile at people  – complete strangers – and say hello or good morning/afternoon. If you are walking in the same direction as someone else (and so have time to say more), actually say a bit more. Engage the other person in conversation. You will be amazed at the effect. Of course some people are too preoccupied or unhappy to respond, but very many other people will respond positively – they will be open and friendly because you have been open and friendly. Very often you will find that a conversation of considerable depth arises very quickly, with a complete stranger, because you have been open and vulnerable and positive and happy towards them. This gives the other person the freedom and creates a space for them, and removes the risks, for them to be open and friendly and engaging with you. Try it.

The more you can expose about yourself – the more you take risks with your own transparency and vulnerability, then the more you will receive from others in return.

Magical… The relaunch of the magnificent Haymarket Theatre in Leicester is a story of wonderful vision, belief, determination, and collaboration. This amazing theatre – boasting the biggest stage in England – has been closed for several years, and it will re-open later in 2017. Connect with what’s happening there. It is very special.

So when we deal with sensitive relationships and communications, we will be more helpful if we try to offer clarity and to improve appreciation of issues and consequences, rather than give direction or personal opinion.

We help others by enabling them to find their own way; not by pointing our way for them.

Texting and messaging are risky ways to communicate… it follows from the above (i.e., we cannot know fully how another person is feeling) that when we communicate with another person – or people – especially about things that are sensitive or difficult, or misunderstood, or disputed – that our communication methods must enable as much understanding as possible. Texting and messaging are very very poor at conveying meanings and feelings. Emailing is a little better because we can write more, and we can take more time to think about and edit what we write. Voice messaging is better still because we can hear the voice of the other person, and he/she can hear our voice, which conveys lots more words and some feeling. Phoning in real time is better still because we can hear each other’s voices; the tone and expression and some feeling, and we can respond to each other  – in real time. This is crucial because it enables reflection back and clarification. Video-phoning is better still because we can see facial expressions. But the best way to communicate, when we need to understand each other’s feelings as much as possible, is face-to-face, so that we can use all our senses and instincts to see, hear, ‘feel’, and discuss exactly what each other is meaning, and importantly how each other is feeling: what the issue means to each other, which is highly complex. Albert Mehrabian established some brilliantly helpful theories about this many years ago. His work is a good starting point for realising how humans communicate, and how to improve our own communications with others. Body language is also a vital part of understanding people, and understanding the effects we can have on others.

Every mistake, nuisance and difficult situation helps us grow and learn… While we might not accept this benefit at the time, we gain our knowledge, wisdom and strength by experiencing and overcoming challenges. We do not grow by progressing unhindered through life. Negative experiences help us and teach us in many ways. Some we can choose to accept or refuse; others come along without a choice. It’s ok to get help at times – we don’t need to do it all alone. Whatever, be assured that what does not kill us makes us stronger, as Nietzsche wrote it. It follows that people who avoid problems, or are always protected from challenges, do not grow and develop so much. So when the next problem comes along for you – large or small – embrace it, welcome it, and be thankful for it, because it is helping you to grow.

Increasing our openness improves everything… Paradoxically this is true. Most people imagine and practise the opposite. Here’s an small easy experiment to try, to prove this for yourself – that being open, vulnerable, transparent, and giving and taking a risk, etc., produces good results: The next time you walk down a street, smile at people  – complete strangers – and say hello or good morning/afternoon. If you are walking in the same direction as someone else (and so have time to say more), actually say a bit more. Engage the other person in conversation. You will be amazed at the effect. Of course some people are too preoccupied or unhappy to respond, but very many other people will respond positively – they will be open and friendly because you have been open and friendly. Very often you will find that a conversation of considerable depth arises very quickly, with a complete stranger, because you have been open and vulnerable and positive and happy towards them. This gives the other person the freedom and creates a space for them, and removes the risks, for them to be open and friendly and engaging with you. Try it.

The more you can expose about yourself – the more you take risks with your own transparency and vulnerability, then the more you will receive from others in return.

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