A Village it does take
Joy to the weary
Music to the heart
Health to the sick
Wealth to the poor
Food to the hungry
Home to the wanderer
Jubilation to the jaded
Who Cares - What Matters
IT IS AMAZING
how we think that this applies to everyone ELSE
but not to ourselves
but one of the biggest lessons that
THE PANDEMIC has taught us
is if infected, we are dangerously viral
. . .CAN THE SAME BE SAID OF LOVE. . .
IF WE ARE INFESTED WITH LOVE
IS IT IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO SPREAD. . .
P L E A S E
N O T E
S P R E A D
L O V E
You have to first have LOVE
L O V I N G
O U R S E L V E S
I have often joked,
IF YOU LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF
I MAY WELL CHOOSE YOU NOT TO BE
(for the way, or the lack of the way you love yourself)
Seems like I may not be the only one who thinks that:
Could Help You
Be More Tolerant
Of Others. . .
ELIZABETH SVOBODA is a writer in San Jose, CA, and a regular contributor to Greater Good. She is the author of What Makes a Hero?: The Surprising Science of Selflessness. Her newest book, for kids, is The Life Heroic. She is helping us to take a look at the benefits of being a little bit more of self-compassionate.
Launched into public awareness by the psychologist Kristin Neff, the practice of self-compassion has emerged as a proven way to boost well-being and resilience amid life’s challenges. “With self-compassion,” Neff writes, “we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.”
A new Rutgers University study suggests that self-compassion has another, counterintuitive benefit: It helps you to become more accepting of other people who are not like you. Being kind to yourself, the study reports, can broaden your tolerance of others—so long as your self-compassion is rooted in “common humanity,” a belief that life’s joys and struggles are part of the shared human condition.
“People who are viewing themselves and their failures and their suffering as normal parts of human experience are more likely to have compassion for others,” says H. Annie Vu, a psychology graduate student at Rutgers and lead author of the study. “That is linked with less prejudice.” She aims to develop training programs that foster people’s sense of common humanity, which she hopes will deepen their compassion for themselves and others—and, as a result, promote social acceptance.
Self-compassion, the quality Vu explored in her study, is distinct from self-esteem. Self-esteem involves how you answer the question “How much do I like myself?,” and it often crumbles when others criticize you. But self-compassion is a form of self-regard that persists no matter what others are saying. It means accepting yourself even when you fumble or fail.
As Neff defines it, self-compassion has three major components: mindfulness, awareness of your own feelings and thoughts; self-kindness, a commitment to caring for yourself in tough times; and common humanity, a sense that everyone experiences highs and lows in life just like you.
Vu’s study looked at how different components of self-compassion related to people’s attitudes toward others. The study’s 163 student participants took Neff’s 26-item survey to assess their self-compassion, including statements like, “When I’m down, I remind myself that there are lots of other people in the world feeling like I am.” The students also took a self-esteem survey and a test that evaluated their feelings about “outgroups” often marginalized by society, such as unhoused people or members of minority groups.
The analysis by Vu’s team found that people’s self-esteem did not meaningfully predict how they felt about outgroup members. Self-compassion, on the other hand, did—but it was people with greater feelings of common humanity, not self-kindness or mindfulness, who were more accepting of others not like them.
While self-kindness and mindfulness involve more of a focus on yourself and your emotions, common humanity “involves perception of others, and that connectedness between self and others,” Vu says. “That explains why it’s the only self-compassion component that is associated with low prejudice.”
Common humanity, in other words, helps you assess your own experiences against the failures and triumphs shared by everyone else on the planet. When you do that kind of comparison, it may be harder to look down on those different from you, because you’re focused on what unites you rather than what sets you apart. A sense of common humanity may also make your self-compassion more durable, because when you understand how your struggles reflect the shared human experience, it’s less tempting to blame yourself for them.
A healthier way to deal with stressful situations.
A 2018 study by Italian researchers had also found that self-compassionate people were more accepting of others, but Vu’s study goes further, showing that this connection holds up independent of people’s self-esteem. (Previous research has shown that people with high “me first” self-esteem are sometimes less accepting of people different from them.)
Vu’s finding also builds on reports from political scientist Kristen Renwick Monroe, who found that what set Holocaust rescuers apart from peers was their strong sense of common humanity. Even if (as was often the case) rescuers came from a different background or culture than the people they were helping, they recognized just how similar they were to those being persecuted, which motivated them to act.
Vu’s study is among the first to combine what have long been two distinct branches of research: studies on how people feel about themselves, and studies on how they perceive members of other groups. Through further study of how inner states affect outer attitudes, Vu and her Rutgers colleagues hope to create training programs that build up people’s sense of common humanity—and thereby broaden their acceptance of others.
Such programs could reinforce existing efforts to protect marginalized people’s rights and dignity, notes Rutgers psychologist Luis Rivera, Vu’s graduate advisor and a coauthor of the study.
“We’ve already seen historically how changing structures, laws, policies, et cetera, can lead to changes in prejudices. But what Annie’s work also suggests is that you can turn back to the individual,” Rivera says. “That could be another opportunity, complementing structural-level interventions with individual-level interventions.”
Developing and testing these educational programs could take years, Vu says. Yet people can start now to shift their focus toward what links them to all humanity—and observe the real-world benefits for themselves.
“The more you realize you are connected to other humans—and that other humans are humans—the more you’re able to regard them with dignity and respect,” says social worker and empathy educator Kristen Donnelly, founder of the Abbey Research firm. “The work of understanding your humanity is deeply connected to the work of understanding our connectedness. Difference is not a threat, but an opportunity.”
HAVE YOU WORRIED YET TODAY?
An Easier Question:
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WORRIED?
HAVE YOU EVER BENEFITED FROM WORRYING?
But It Has an Upside. . .
Here’s How to Make It Work
in Your Favor
Anyone who’s experienced anxiety knows the distress it can bring. Often, this spiky emotion causes a racing heart, headache and knotted stomach. Frequently, we interpret these sensations as a danger sign. For instance, we might mistake social anxiety as evidence that everyone dislikes us or believe performance anxiety means we’re actually impostors.
While anxiety certainly feels terrible, it does have an upside. In her new book, Good Anxiety, neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki repositions anxiety as a potentially positive force in our lives that can open the door to self-care and resilience—two things that inoculate us from stress. From this vantage point, social jitters might be a sign to reach out for support, while performance woes might be a signal to practice our craft a little more or spend two minutes in a power pose. When we realize anxiety can be a helpful messenger, we can make it work in ways that benefit our psychological well-being.
From this perspective, anxiety isn’t a symptom we solely manage with medication or behavioral therapies (even though research shows these treatments work); it’s also a cue to search for its underlying cause. Like a detective, we can start by asking ourselves some exploratory questions. For instance, “How does anxiety show up in the body?” “What is it telling us?” and “What core emotions brew beneath our anxiety?” Illuminating anxiety’s relationship to underlying core emotions can lead to lasting change, emotion-focused researchers point out.
Core emotions like sadness, anger, fear, disgust, joy, excitement and sexual excitement affect the whole body to make it move in ways that help us survive and thrive. This is why fear mobilizes the body for running and anger gets us ready to fight. However, we also have another category of emotions called inhibitory emotions, more commonly known as anxiety, guilt and shame. The key to moving through anxiety lies in understanding the difference between core and inhibitory emotions.
As emotion-focused therapists and educators, Hilary and Juli teach patients about this relationship. Like a high-speed motor, anxiety revs us up, making it hard to think clearly because our thoughts and feelings become a threat. When we’re in this amped-up state, anxiety blocks core emotions, making it impossible to sense our emotional needs, let alone use them in ways that help us.
The good news, however, is that we don’t need to remain stuck. Anxiety can be a clue that we need to identify and experience our core emotions, which leads to calm and clarity.
The good news, however, is that we don’t need to remain stuck. Anxiety can be a clue that we need to identify and experience our core emotions, which leads to calm and clarity.
Here are some tools that can help untangle anxiety and make it work in our favor, not just in the moment but for years to come.
Acknowledge anxiety. . .
When children are flooded with big feelings, adults often tell them to “use their words,” because putting language on anxiety helps dial it down. Researchers call this “affect labeling.” One study found that naming negative emotions calmed down the amygdala, the part of the brain where feelings light up. When this happens, emotional reactivity loses its charge because the right and left parts of the brain become more connected, says psychiatrist and author Dr. Dan Siegel in his book Mindsight.
For instance, many of Hilary and Juli’s patients tell them they obsess over their mistakes or ruminate about work, which are common symptoms of anxiety. In situations like these, merely saying to yourself, “I feel anxious” can lead to what psychologist Diana Fosha, developer of Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy. calls a “click of recognition.” Naming our emotional experience is validating, which permits us to be authentic. In addition, accepting our emotions disarms the need for defense mechanisms—behaviors like overworking, denial and addiction that numb pain but suck up vital energy. Without the need for these Band-Aids, we’re better equipped to use our energy to engage in work and relationships.
Slow anxiety down. . .
When you’re anxious, a decisive step is to slow the body down with body-based tools like grounding and deep belly breathing.
When we’re in the throes of anxiety, being told to “take a deep breath” can come across as overly simple or downright aggravating. However, science tells us breathing can slow down anxiety’s engine. Neuroscientist Steven Porges, who developed “polyvagal theory,” says diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which triggers the body’s relaxation response. When this happens, stress hormones like cortisol decrease, and we feel immediate relief, say researchers.
When a patient tells us they’re worry-filled, we invite them to slow down their nervous system by saying, “Right now, can you give yourself permission to move away from your thoughts and into your body? Bring your attention to the soles of your feet as they meet the floor. Sense the firm ground underneath you.”
Next comes the invitation to shift into deep belly breathing. Hilary andJuli teach, “Take the deepest breath you can and send the air down to the base of your abdomen. Let your belly pop out like a Buddha and try to keep your chest down.” They suggest placing one hand on the chest and the other on the belly to help with this process. Then, we teach them to hold their breath for one beat, then slowly release the breath through pursed lips like they’re blowing on hot soup. They coach folks to tune into their body during the whole breathing cycle so they can learn how to breathe in a maximally relaxing way.
Get curious about core emotions. . .
According to Dr. Judson Brewer, a physician and scientist, curiosity can be anxiety’s companion. Defined as the “desire to take in new information,” curiosity can open the mind to possibilities, which helps us search for novel solutions. Researcher Jordan Litman calls this “interest curiosity,” and studies show it can increase motivation and enhance learning. Thus, through curiosity’s lens, we can see anxiety as an invitation to identify our underlying core emotions.
To do this, Juli and Hilary encourage their patients to adopt a compassionate and non-judgmental stance toward themselves. Then, they invite them to scan their body from head to toe and notice where they feel anxiety. Next, they ask them to imagine moving the anxiety aside so they can notice what core emotions they are feeling. For example: “Is sadness there?” “Is anger there?” “Is excitement there?”
More than one core emotion may be present, and they can be opposite. For instance, we can feel sadness and anger at the same time. Noticing each core emotion can help us listen to the message they’re sending. Anxiety always has a more profound meaning. It’s never the end of the story; it’s the beginning.
Identify the conflict. . .
Anxiety can be a symptom of a deep inner conflict that’s throwing us into torturous thinking. For instance, some one may want to go home for the holidays but dread being with their parents, which causes them to ruminate and feel tense.
To get out of this bind, it helps to validate each side of the conflict, or as Hilary and Juli say in their practice, change the “but.” Doing so negates each opposing side to an “and,” which creates room for both feelings to coexist. For example, we can validate our desire to see our family, and honor the anger that their hurtful behaviors evoke. Then we can come up with solutions to deal with their behaviors—such as setting boundaries, which can include saying things like, “Dad, if you continue calling me names, I’ll leave.”
Sadly, our dysfunctional society, with its many antiquated myths about emotions, sends the message that anxiety is pathological or a genetic defect. But emotion education tools can turn this frightening foe into a wonderful teacher. In the end, anxiety isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of being human. . .
H E Y
HAVE YOU WORRIED YET TODAY?
An Easier Question:
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WORRIED?
HAVE YOU EVER BENEFITED FROM WORRYING?
W H Y
Why am I writing this blog post?
because the pulse in my wrist
and not in the way that brings me any kind of semblance of
P E A C E
. . .and guess what
the immediate remedy
can be but a
b r e a t h
a w a y
BE ENOUGH OF
A CARING CATALYST
to your self
not so much to
one deep breath at a time. . .
if You Think Your Boss
Is Trying to ‘Quietly Fire’ You
Social media influencer DeAndre Brown was one of the first people to mention the term in a viral TikTok video on Aug. 24, where he describes “quiet firing” as a workplace that fails to reward an employee for their contributions to an organization, forcing them to leave their jobs.
“It works great for companies…eventually you’ll either feel so incompetent, isolated, and unappreciated that you’ll go find a new job, and they never have to deal with a development plan or offer severance,” wrote recruiter Bonnie Dilber in a viral LinkedIn post.
A recent Pew Research Center report shows that many employees cite low pay and no opportunities for growth as reasoning for the 20-year high resignation rate reached in November 2021.
As many workers share their experiences with “quiet firing” online, career experts encourage employees to be more vocal about their needs with their leadership and co-workers to combat the practice.
If you think you’re being quietly fired, “speak with leadership, advocate for yourself…and come together with other people who have the same needs as you do or who are looking for different changes in the workplace and then give it some time and see if those changes are actually made,” suggests Janice Gassam Asare, a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Racial Equity Consultant.
The idea of an employer effectively forcing an employee to resign isn’t entirely new. Constructive discharge—whereby an employer actively makes working conditions for an employee so unpleasant that they quit, has been widely practiced for many years. This could fall under the umbrella term of “quiet firing,” but so would neglecting an employee or divesting time, opportunities or resources away from a worker in a more passive approach that would also prompt a resignation.
“It’s happened for years,” says Annette Castro, a 22-year-old research technician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Castro worked at an ice cream shop in Philadelphia for two years to get through college, and was eventually promoted to become a night manager. But when Castro took off two weeks—which she had requested months in advance—she was left off of the upcoming schedule after she returned. Castro inquired about her hours but did not receive any response. “I feel like I was ghosted by my company,” Castro tells TIME.
Castro’s experience mirrors a workplace norm that the younger generation is bringing attention to—one that often opts for a lack of communication that is not conducive to a productive work environment.
At the root of “quiet firing” is poor communication, suggests Jessica Kriegel, Chief Scientist of Workplace Culture at Culture Partners. “If a manager is conflict avoidant, or afraid of having a difficult conversation, then they might not… have the guts to tell the truth about how you are perceived within the organization and the work that you’re doing,” Kriegel tells TIME.
Kriegel also suggests that managers themselves may also be “quiet quitting.” When a manager does that, then “by default, that means that their employees are not getting the kind of leadership care and attention that they used to get.”
Career coaches generally agree that the best way to go about addressing this dissatisfaction lies in being transparent with your manager. If a manager is not willing to bring the conversation of termination forward, employees have to ask whether there are still opportunities for growth at their current company. If the initial conversation is not productive, Kriegel suggests speaking to your manager’s boss about your fit in the organization.
But aside from direct communication with your manager, experts say it’s important for employees to look into their resources—whether that be through an ombudsman, outside officials that employers can reach out to when they have issues, or other employees who can advocate for and with them—to ensure that they are being heard.
Remote or hybrid work may make it more difficult to establish relationships with coworkers, but it’s still possible to do so if you know how to leverage the rapport you have. “Ask your manager if they can introduce you to someone on another team because you’re interested in getting to know more people,” Kriegel says. “Career development today really is about who’s who you know, and the relationships that you’ve built within your organization.”
Gassam Asare has found in her consulting experience that employers often tiptoe around offering constructive feedback to employees from racially marginalized backgrounds. This means that people of color are more likely to face quiet firing, she says.
“I have clients that sometimes say, we don’t know how to deal with this employee, right? We’re afraid that this employee will react in a negative way if we give them feedback about their performance,” Gassam Asare says. “So rather than giving them constructive feedback, which would help them to grow and develop, they just avoid giving feedback altogether.”
This is reflected in the numbers. A 2021 Mckinsey report found that Black employees make up 14% of all employees, but only 7% of the Black workforce has a more senior or managerial level job.
Workers should also familiarize themselves with the protocols for promotions and raises at work by reading the employee handbook, says Gassam Asare. “Looking back into the documents that were given to you can reveal a lot of information about the process.” This can make daunting conversations about progression easier to navigate.
Similarly, keeping a record of accomplishments and the value they have added at work, as well as the pay scales for their roles can help employees make the case for promotions and pay raises.
Gassam Asare cautions that quitting should only be a final resort, especially with concerns about a looming recession and a slew of layoffs and hiring freezes. Instead, she recommends looking at employee resource groups or even joining unions in order to ensure that workers know their rights and can speak up if they feel they are being undervalued.
“Eventually you might have to come to the point where, you know, it’s no longer the environment that you want to stay in, but I would caution people against that,” Gassam Asare says. “I think both workplaces and employees are in vulnerable positions. So I do think exhausting all the methods you can if you think you are being quietly fired is so important.”
S E R I O U S L Y
what is your take on these
Q U I E T
firings. . .
In my ever evolving, humble Caring Catalyst self, it’s not that complicated; why take the simple and make it complicated? No matter what job I’ve ever had from 13 to my present 67 years it’s about just showing up and showing out with one mere rule: GIVE MORE THAN EXPECTED, and a footnote of: PROMISE MUCH AND EXCEED EXPECTATIONS. . .Live with a Triple AAA attitude: ACCESSIBLE AVAILABLE ACCOUNTABLE
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. . .
I figure if I’m not quiet quitting on myself for others I can never be
. . .and if I ever am, I am going to not so quietly going to show up, show out and be available, accessible, and accountable for someone else
Besides. . .
THERE IS ONLY ONE YOU
so while you don’t have to worry about being unique
you can spend all of your time being
I N D I S P E N S A B L E
L I F E
isn’t about a number of Candles
on a quick-to-go-stale
Birthday Cake. . .
. . .Maybe the best part of old age for anyone is that they can actually
A T T A I N I T
There are Givens:
Death is the Number One Killer in the World. . .
Life is Sexually Transmitted and it’s
T E R M I N A L . . .
and it ENDS. . .
just not as well as we’d like. . .
it turns out,
is merely the slowest possible rate
at which anyone can ever die. . .
But. . .
After some 804 months
3495 weeks and five days
24,472 Days on this spinning blue ball
I’ve learned a few lessons. . .
and the biggest one:
There’s just a few more lessons to learn. . .
There was a recent survey taken in the UK that said the biggest fears men have growing older are:
94% fear going bald
89% fear becoming impotent
75% are worried about going grey
64% are scared of getting fat
61% fear losing their teeth
45% dread needing ‘jam jar’ glasses
31% are scared of going deaf
24% are frightened of getting bad breath
100% of me is concerned that I wasted time. . .
I didn’t become all of
I regret little of what I’ve ever done. . .
even the not-so-good-kind-of-horrific-things
because they’ve all made up the tapestry of my life–
especially the dark, ugly colors;
It’s the strands of threads
that I didn’t allow to become a part of the mosaic. . .
to expand it
that taunts me;
It’s not the two-self published books,
it’s the yet-to-be published two novels,
five Children’s books,
three non-fiction books
four books of poetry
and the yet to be written ones
that fill stacks of notebooks and overflowing file folders. . . .
I have no interest in spewing out the
greatest things I’ve learned in my
6 7 years. . .
I do believe that
R e l a t i o n s h i p s,
not technology or medical advances,
Heals me. . .
I do believe that
L O V I N G
is the greatest force in and out of this World
and when applied frequently and liberally
Y O U
not only Change. . .
The Universe does, too. . .
I do believe that the secret to long life is
simply never to let your heart stop beating
or never passing up the opportunity
of making Another’s beat better. . .
I do believe that
Life is not counted by pages on a calendar
or minutes/seconds on a clock
or candles on a cake. . .
M O M E N T S
that can never be counted,
harnessed. . .
o n l y r e m e m b e r e d
way past a pulse,
a heart beat,
or any other means of defining Life
that can’t be definite. . . .
B I R T H D A Y S
are never what they’re cranked up to be
no matter how many you continue to collect
none of them mean a thing
until you make everyday between them mean
E V E R Y T H I N G
So. . .
about that cake. . .
I’ll pass. . .
but WOW. . .
that piece of Pecan Pie
is looking mighty, mighty
f i n e !
Join me. . .
we’ll call it a
Party. . .
a never-ending Celebration
. . .Candles are optional
But, at my age
I’m not much thinking about Blinking
. . .I don’t want to miss a thing
and I can’t wait to see
not so much how many more
strands I can add to this
t a p e s t r y
so much as
that’ll get me ever closer to being
c o m p l e t e d
. . .now
it’s time again
f l a m e
w i c k
Y E S
There will be Bad DAYS
to be had
to be overcome
to be experienced
to be intimately known
to be. . .
So the next time you feel totally shattered
R E F L E C T:
Words of encouragement for your inevitable bad day. A compilation of worldwide YouTube content, the crowd-sourced documentary “Life in a Day” by Kevin Macdonald, and local footage by Jon Goodgion. Audio is the spoken word poem “Instructions For a Bad Day” by Shane Koyczan. Rights remain to respective owners. Here is the poem in written form:
“There will be bad days. Be calm. Loosen your grip, opening each palm slowly now. Let go.
Be confident. Know that “now” is only a moment, and that if “today” is as bad as it gets, understand that by tomorrow, “today” will have ended.
Be gracious. Accept each extended hand offered, to pull you back from the “somewhere” you cannot escape.
Be diligent. Scrape the gray sky clean. Realize every dark cloud is a smoke screen meant to blind us from the Truth – and the Truth is, whether we see them or not, the Sun and Moon are still there and always there is Light.
Be forthright. Despite your instinct to say “it’s alright, I’m okay” – be honest. Say how you feel without fear or guilt, without remorse or complexity.
Be lucid in your explanation, be sterling in your oppose. If you think for one second no one knows what you’ve been going through; be accepting of the fact that you are wrong, that the long drawn and heavy breaths of despair have at times been felt by everyone – that Pain is part of the Human Condition, and that alone makes you a legion.
We hungry underdogs, we risers with dawn, we dissmisser’s of odds, we pressers of on – we will station ourselves to the calm. We will hold ourselves to the steady, be ready player one. Life is going to come at you armed with hard times and tough choices, your voice is your weapon, your thoughts ammunition – there are no free extra men, be aware that as the instant now passes, it exists now as then. So be a mirror reflecting yourself back, and remembering the times when you thought all of this was too hard and you’d never make it through.
Remember the times you could have pressed quit – but you hit continue.
Be forgiving. Living with the burden of anger, is not living. Giving your focus to wrath will leave your entire self absent of what you need. Love and hate are beasts and the one that grows is the one you feed.
Be persistent. Be the weed growing through the cracks in the cement, beautiful – because it doesn’t know it’s not supposed to grow there.
Be resolute. Declare what you accept as true in a way that envisions the resolve with which you accept it. If you are having a good day, be considerate. A simple smile could be the first-aid kit that someone has been looking for.
If you believe with absolute honesty that you are doing everything you can – do more. There will be bad days, Times when the world weighs on you for so long it leaves you looking for an easy way out. There will be moments when the drought of joy seems unending. Instances spent pretending that everything is alright when it clearly is not, check your blind spot. See that love is still there, be patient.
Every nightmare has a beginning, but every bad day has an end. Ignore what others have called you. I am calling you “friend”. Make us comprehend the urgency of your crisis. Silence left to its own devices, breed’s silence. So speak and be heard. One word after the next, express yourself and put your life in the context – if you find that no one is listening, be loud. Make noise. Stand in poise and be open. Hope in these situations is not enough and you will need someone to lean on. In the unlikely event that you have no one, look again.
Everyone is blessed with the ability to Listen. The Deaf will hear you with their Eyes. The Blind will see you with their Hands. Let your Heart fill their news-stands, let them read all about it. Admit to the bad days, the impossible nights. Listen to the insights of those who have been there, but come back. They will tell you; you can stack misery, you can pack disappear you can even wear your sorrow – but come tomorrow you must change your clothes.
Everyone knows Pain. We are not meant to carry it forever. We were never meant to hold it so closely, so be certain in the belief that what pain belongs to now will belong soon to then. That when someone asks you “how was your day”, realize that for some of us, it’s the only way we know how to say “be calm”.
Loosen your grip, opening each palm, slowly now – let go.”
Go ahead. . .
Clear your throat
Rub your eyes
drink deeply from the cup
that endlessly reminds you
that Bad Days may be a plenty
but those are the days
you suck down
and spit out
(again and again and again and again and again and again and again and. . . .)
IT ALL BECOMES A BLUR SOMETIMES
. . .doesn’t it?
WE ARE RUNAWAY SENTENCES
not so much looking for an unimaginable
P E R I O D
so much as just a mere
that’ll give us just momentary pause and relieve us from
with not even a second to spare
a deep breath to take or reset
Y E S
there’s a antidote for HURRY SICKNESS
that’s never waiting to be invented
I M P L E M E N T E D
Many of us suffer from “hurry sickness,” the feeling that we’re perpetually behind. And NO, we don’t need to have the holidays to intensify our anxiety. We’d like to pause, take a moment for ourselves, but who has the time, might be the wrong question to ask. . .WHO DOESN’T HAVE THE TIME?
We might not recognize our habit because we believe we’re simply being efficient, multi-tasking. But here are some signs that we might need to slow down:
- We often speed, whether through traffic, conversations, or meals.
- We often rush through work tasks and household chores, to the point we sometimes have to redo them.
- We often perform time calculations to see whether we can fit in another task.
- We’re irritable when we encounter delays, hyperaware that we’re “wasting time.”
- We constantly try to find ways to “save time.”
- We have trouble focusing on one thing because we’re always running through our to-do lists.
- We have trouble investing time in truly listening to others.
We experience physical problems related to stress.
THE CURE FOR HURRY SICKNESS. . . ?
Well, why not just start today (OR HOW ABOUT NOW) by allowing ourselves a 15-minute nap, relaxing walk, or enjoyment of a book? JUST fifteen minutes of doing nothing we have to do.
(My thanks to Crystal Rapole)
Go ahead. .
P A U S E
needs a little time to
B L O O M. . .
At best it’s really blurry
and never fully
picture-perfect-clear. . .
DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE JUST WHO YOU ARE
Are you more
E X T R O V E R T E D
Are you more
I N T R O V E R T E D
Are you more
A M B I V E R T E D
Do you really know
Do you really care
Sira M.Follow was kind of wondering if you were wondering what it truly might be like to be caught in THE MIDDLE; The In-Between of Extroverted and Introverted. Much in the same fashion of Jeff Foxworthy’s YOU MIGHT BE A REDNECK IF. . .
We’ve all self-identified as introverts or extroverts at least once. However, some of us were probably wrong with that identification.
Bestselling author Travis Bradberry explains that personality traits exist along a continuum, and the vast majority of us aren’t introverts or extroverts — we fall somewhere in the middle. And the word ambivert is used to define people who don’t lean too heavily in either direction.
As psychotherapist Ken Page, LCSW explains: “Many of us are ambiverts to some degree, and all of us are located somewhere along the spectrum between introversion and extroversion.”
Now you might ask, what does ambivert exactly mean? According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of ambivert is:
“A person who has a balance of extrovert and introvert features in their personality.”
As Bradberry puts it: “Ambiverts have an advantage over introverts and extroverts. Since their personality doesn’t fall into one of the two extremes, they have an easier time adjusting their approach to people based on each situation.”
Here are five signs you might be an ambivert.
A few weeks before the pandemic, a friend of mine invited me to her place to have dinner on a Friday night. I was tired, but happily accepted the invite, as I assumed it was going to be a quiet evening, just the two of us.
When I arrived at her place, there were already eleven people there. I wasn’t expecting that, and I immediately felt overwhelmed. It’s not that I don’t like to be around people, but that night I felt exhausted and didn’t have the mental energy to interact with people I didn’t even know.
I spent the evening looking forward to going back home. I was craving some alone time. After two hours I decided to leave, saying that I had had a very busy week and was really tired — which was the truth.
The next Friday afternoon I felt the need to spend some time with other people, so I invited a few friends to my place for dinner. It was a similar situation: I had had a long week, and again I was mentally exhausted. The only difference was that I had been working from home and had spent almost the entire week alone. This time I felt the need to be around people. And I realized something important:
Sometimes, to recharge my batteries, I need some “me time,” while at other times spending time with people is what actually gives me energy.
According to Sarah Regan, this is something ambiverts tend to have in common. They can get energized both by being around others, like extroverts, and by spending recharging time alone like introverts. Sometimes they enjoy alone time and social time equally, or the one they enjoy the most fluctuates depending on what’s going on in their life.
A friend of mine, Nadia, is the best example of what an ambivert is. For example, like me, she says that sometimes what energizes her is socializing while at other times she craves alone time because it helps her recharge.
Another thing I’ve noticed about her is how sometimes in group situations she’s talkative while at other times she practically doesn’t say a word. When she is more talkative, she actively interacts, asks many questions and shares details about herself as well. When she is quiet, she enjoys listening to others, but barely talks.
And as Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D. explains in an article published in Psychology Today, people like Nadia — that is, those who are sometimes talkative, and other times not — might be ambiverts.
I remember when I was attending college, one day a friend of mine, Naomi, told me this:
“A few days ago I was with Elena. We were talking about you. She told me she really likes you, and the way you are, but she thinks you should open up more. She thinks you’re very quiet and don’t talk too much about yourself. However, I see you in a completely different way. I told her she doesn’t know you as well as I do. You’re always full of energy and it’s always nice talking to you and listening to your stories.”
This is what I replied: “You’re both right. I can be full of energy and talk a lot at times, and be very quiet at other times. It depends on many factors, like my level of energy at a specific moment, and the people I’m with. I think you know me a bit better than she does, but still, what Elena said is true, I’m often very quiet.”
If there’s something I don’t enjoy, it’s having to stand still in front of a cake, on the day of my birthday while everyone is singing Happy birthday and staring at me. The song is only around twenty seconds but as I sit there, blushing, it feels more like five minutes.
I was once talking about this with my friend Nadia, and she told me she feels the exact same way. When it’s her birthday she just blows out the candles before anyone can sing Happy Birthday, as, like me, she can’t bear standing in front of a group of people singing and staring at her while she doesn’t know what to do. It feels kind of embarrassing — this is how she defined it, and I couldn’t agree more with her.
However, we both agreed on one thing. It’s not that we don’t like to be the center of attention; we actually enjoy it, as long as it doesn’t last too long and it’s not too intense.
For example, I like to be part of a conversation where I can convey my opinion and I feel listened to. Also, I love it when I tell a joke and people laugh with me.
And Nadia told me she feels cared for when people ask her about her violin classes — or when they ask her advice on what to eat, as she’s a nutritionist. However, those are all situations in which there is an interaction, and the attention goes from one person to another — and consequently it’s not overwhelming for us.
Psychologist and author Brian Little explained in The Huffington Post that ambiverts actually have the best of both worlds: they have the classic introvert’s skills of self-reflection, combined with the extrovert’s outgoing traits.
This make them great communicators because they understand when they have to listen and when they can talk. They’re self-aware, and they correct themselves if they are talking too much. If they feel the person in front of them needs to talk, they let them talk and ask questions.
If you’ve always thought you were an introvert or an extrovert — but also had some doubts sometimes — and recognize yourself in this description, you might be an ambivert.
Ambiverts don’t necessarily recognize themselves in all the above mentioned signs, but probably in the majority of them.
Being an ambivert has its advantages. According to an interesting article published in Healthline, ambiverts might be able to develop strong bonds. The extroverted traits may lead to interacting with more people, while the introverted traits can help connect deeply with others.
And this is a perfect combination when it comes to nurturing meaningful relationships.
So in a our every changing world
where there seems to be a
almost every day
WHERE DO YOU STAND (OUT)
. . .Why not
Adam Grant PhD came up with the following test:
Adam Grant PhD is an organizational psychologist at Wharton, a #1 New York Times bestselling author and the host of the TED podcast WorkLife.
Our Broken Pieces
or cause scars
They are incisions
in the soul
that never need a
stitch or a staple
would be the
We have all kinds or reasons
N O T
to have courage
and one of them is not having all of the
A N S W E R S
when answers themselves
can only be found by
L I V I N G
out our scariest
Q U E S T I O N S
so in the middle of all of this,
we get a little peek from
Amy L. Eva, Ph.D Ph.D., who is the associate education director at the Greater Good Science Center. She writes for the center’s online magazine, facilitates the Summer Institute for Educators, and consults on the development of GGSC education resources. With over 25 years in classrooms, she is a teacher at heart. She is fascinated by neuroscience, the psychology of learning, and adolescent development and has spent the last 12 years as a teacher educator. She advocates for Six Ways to Find Your Courage During Challenging Times
“We teach who we are,” says educational philosopher Parker Palmer.
Early in Amy’s teaching career, she participated in a series of retreats led by the Center for Courage and Renewal, inspired by Palmer’s book The Courage to Teach. Palmer reminds us that our sense of self plays out in our work every day—and living with courage and integrity means finding balance and alignment between our inner and outer selves. In other words, our identities, values, and beliefs inform the selves we bring to others.
But how do we find the courage to stand up for our coworkers, students, neighbors, family and friends, and ourselves amid exhausting and unprecedented challenges?
Understandably, there are days when you feel emotionally weary, inept, and cynical—all characteristics of burnout. However, I’m finding that the science of courage offers a psychological lifeline, helping us to clarify what really matters so that we can find a steadier, values-based resolve—and even inspire it in others. I dove into the courage research with teachers in mind, but these tips are for everyone.
Fortunately, courage comes in many forms. Although definitions range, researchers tend to agree that it features three primary components: a risk, an intention, and a goal that may benefit others. In a classic example, a student defends a peer who is being verbally assaulted by a bully, by interrupting the bully and telling them to stop. This purposeful act may come at a cost—perhaps socially or physically.
But courage doesn’t have to look dramatic or fearless. We express it in both bold and quiet ways. In fact, “general courage,” the confident or seemingly brazen actions perceived by others, differs from “personal courage,” those actions that are courageous in the minds of the actors themselves. It all depends on how you view the challenge in front of you and the fears associated with performing a particular behavior. In other words, these days, some of us may need significant “personal courage” to get out of bed and face the day on behalf of those students we value and care about.
Why is just showing up courageous? Daily stressors can pile up, leading to emotional exhaustion, a sense of detachment from your work, and the feeling that you simply aren’t as capable as you thought you were—and if you don’t feel capable, you may not feel particularly confident. Yet courage is also associated with other positive character strengths, like persistence and integrity.
The good news is that there are many ways to tap into our capacity for courage, whether we are adults or students. Here are six.
First, if we describe ourselves as “courageous,” we are more likely to act courageously. In other words, if I tell myself that I’m a courageous person as I park in the school parking lot and walk into my school, it may actually give me a psychological boost and inspire me to meet the day with greater self-assurance.
Alternatively, we can take time to note and label all the courageous actions we have already taken in our lives. For example, when you consider how your childhood struggles inform your current relationships with coworkers or students, or how you made it through college as a single mom, or how you’ve learned to cope with a chronic health issue, you may be more likely to experience positive emotions while reconnecting with personal values and beliefs that can inspire future courageous behaviors.
Consider conducting an inventory of past actions with your students or colleagues so that you can identify and celebrate individual acts of courage together. Then, discuss how those actions influence who you are now and who you want to be.
We can recognize and celebrate courage with others, but it can also be a very internal, day-to-day experience. One of the most common ways we practice courage at work is in our pursuit of learning and personal growth. Research tells us that fear of failure can negatively correlate with courage, but what if it’s OK to make mistakes—and they are even welcomed learning tools?
Studies indicate that students may benefit from making mistakes (and correcting them) rather than avoiding them at all costs. And when researchers reviewed 38 studies of resilience in response to failure, errors, or mistakes, they found that more resilient individuals had lower levels of perfectionism and a more positive way of explaining past events: “I haven’t solved this long division problem yet, but I’ll try another strategy next.”
Another way to address fear of failure is through a simple practice you can share with your students or colleagues called “Crumpled Reminder,” where you write about a recent mistake you made, crumple up a paper representing your feelings about that mistake, and then discuss the ways mistakes strengthen brain activity and help us to learn and grow.
Write down a recent mistake and your feelings about it, and then crumple up the paper. Then reflect on how your mistakes help you learn.
Rather than fearing looming “failures,” seeing daily missteps as opportunities for learning frees all of us to appreciate learning for what it is—a process rather than a performance.
Courage at work also requires perseverance. As our fears lessen, we are more likely to persist in learning—to keep trying despite the obstacles ahead of us. And perseverance (or persistence), as a character strength, can also be modeled, observed, and developed. In fact, when adults model persistence in working toward a goal, infants as young as 15 months tend to mimic that behavior.
As teachers, we have a lot of power to influence our students’ efforts by sharing our own vulnerabilities while we read a challenging text, our own self-conscious emotions as we outline a timed essay, our stops and starts while solving a word problem, and our commitment to keep going.
And research suggests that teachers’ growth mindsets, or belief that intelligence grows and changes with effort, can be linked to the development of students’ growth mindsets. This more positive, flexible mindset can improve students’ performance at school, boost their well-being and social competence, and even promote kind, helpful, and prosocial actions. All these benefits may bolster our capacity for courageous actions, too.
Of course, if we are feeling apathetic, anxious, or fearful about stepping up and doing that next best thing at school or in life, it can be helpful to draw inspiration from others—whether near or far, real or fictional.
According to research, the individuals we admire may represent some aspect of our ideal selves as they demonstrate moral courage through difficult times and a desire to do good in the world. They can also inspire us to live more meaningful lives. Studies suggest that seeing images of heroes may move us to sense greater meaning in our lives—and even increase our drive to help others.
Basic social cognitive theory tells us that we are motivated through “vicarious experiences”—as we witness others’ actions. In fact, when adults observe courageous behaviors in their workplaces, like a teacher standing up for a group of students or a colleague advocating for an important policy, they are more likely to see the potential for organizational change and feel inspired to act courageously themselves.
Our students can benefit from models of courage, too. In the “Who Are Your Heroes?” lesson from Giraffe Heroes Project, students listen to and present hero stories, while exploring the risks and benefits of courageous acts. Stories like these can communicate shared values, make us more empathic, and may encourage us to help others.
You may recognize heroism or courage in others, but sometimes struggle to see it in yourself. If so, it may be helpful to ask yourself a few key questions:
When researchers measured teachers’ responses to prompts like these, they found that teachers’ anxiety immediately decreased—and they experienced more positive emotions over time when compared to a control group. Teachers’ values drive their goals and behaviors at school, while supporting their well-being and a sense of self-efficacy at work. If we feel clear and capable, we may also feel more courageous.
Philosophers consider courage to be a foundational virtue because it guides us to act on behalf of other virtues or values. In fact, our convictions, values, sense of integrity, honor, and loyalty can all influenceour courageous actions. When we experience a threat to our moral code, we are likely to act in a way that upholds our beliefs and values. And the more powerful the belief, the more likely you will not be influenced or swayed by those around you.
You and your students can clarify your values and explore your character strengths through a range of simple practices for both adults and students, like Discovering Your Strengths and Talents, Eight Inner Strengths for Leaders, and Reminders that Encourage Moral Character Strengths.
Finally, we can act on our values in community. After more than a year of isolation from each other—and the prospect of ongoing public health, environmental, and sociocultural crises—we are finding courage again in groups.
Visit Greater Good in Education for more information, tips, and practices to support teacher and student well-being. To dive deeper into the research behind these practices and strategies, register for one of our online courses for educators.
Teachers and students are participating in social and emotional communities of practice, circles of courage, and other “circles” practices to nurture a sense of belonging, find emotional support, and engage in collective action. Studies indicate that social groups like these promote interdependence, social identity, and cohesion and influence courageous behavior, too.
And one of the most empowering things we can do for our students right now is to support them in being courageous community problem solvers, too.
Tribes Learning Communities curricula focus on active learning and community building among adults and students to reduce violence and increase kindness. For example, in their lesson “Put Down the Put-Downs,” students consider how hurtful name-calling really feels and brainstorm ways to end the problem in their classrooms and school. In this case, perspective taking and empathic responses can lead to more courageous and impassioned student action, cultivating a positive school and classroom climates where everyone is honored and valued.
Further, in the lesson “It’s Up to Us to Stick Our Necks Out,” students share stories about everyday heroes drawn from a free story bank, and then learn to “Be the Story” by selecting, planning, and enacting a service learning project to address a community challenge (such as homelessness, clean air or water, or a need for increased literacy). As we act on our values together, we may feel a greater sense of agency in a world that feels topsy-turvy right now.
During those dark, winter mornings when you really don’t want to crawl out of bed and face the day, remember that courage can also be a very private, personal act. There will always be risks and challenges to face, but what really matters most—in your gut? Is it love, learning, curiosity, compassion, hope? How do these values inform who you are and how you show up in the world?
These are the key questions that can help us to frame our truest intentions—even on our most difficult days.
C O U R A G E
is the greatest
and it’s easily applied
BY JUST SHOWING UP
GETTING YOUR COURAGE ON. . .
It’s not always easy