Somewhere you hear a thought tell you that you are not responsible for your mom’s depression, or your ex-husband’s loneliness, or your friend’s frustration. Somewhere you know that they feel, because they need and that you feel, because you need.
Even if you intellectually know you are not responsible, you find it hard to believe that thought. You feel overwhelmed by the pain of your loved ones, and urged to do something about it.
Marshall Rosenberg calls the idea that you are responsible for the feelings of others emotional slavery. “We think we must constantly strive to keep everyone happy. If they don’t appear happy, we feel responsible and compelled to do something about it. This can easily lead us to see the very people who are closest to us as burdens.” (Nonviolent Communication, 2003)
You can grow out of emotional slavery by becoming emotionally liberated.
“We respond to the needs of others out of compassion, never out of fear, guilt, or shame. Our actions are therefore fulfilling to us, as well as to those who receive our efforts. We accept full responsibility for our own intentions and actions, not for the feelings of others. Emotional liberation involves clearly stating what we need in a way that communicates we are equally concerned that the needs of others be fulfilled.”
Learning emotional liberation has been a challenging journey for me. I have taught myself firmly that I am responsible for the happiness of those around me and that terrible things will happen to me or others if I can’t live up to these self-imposed expectations.
I have now spent a lot of time untraining myself from this pattern and honoring my needs as much as the needs of others. Enough to want to share my insights and support you in your growth.
This Saturday, July 5, my husband David Nayer and I are offering a one-day workshop filled with empathy, pair work, individual reflection, exercises, and sharing experiences to help you on the path of emotional liberation. We create a safe environment and intimate connection to support our learning.
We would be honored to welcome you. Contact me 512-589-0482 with any requests or considerations.
Saturday July 5, 9:30-6:00 pm, 6405 Culpepper Cove, 78730. Suggested donation for couches and coaches $70.