Balance purpose, relationships, and self-care

Empathy works. It always does.

Are you emotionally liberated?

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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.

Image courtesy to Wikimedia.org“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.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping professionals schedule time for relationships and self-care. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

6 thoughts on “Are you emotionally liberated?

  1. Miss Elly, once again you hit it right on the nose. Perfect!!! Thanks.

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  2. I think I get you. Are you saying that you feel frustrated when you know people can do better for themselves, and make choices that don’t benefit them? And at the same time, feeling calmness, because you know you gave from the heart with love and that’s all you can do?
    I sometimes struggle with staying calm, especially with people that I deeply care about. When I see them repeat the same pattern that creates their suffering, I can get frustrated. I am noticing how often this is tied to my belief that they expect me to be there for them when they suffer, yet don’t respect my advice enough to follow it. I know this is tied to my issues of self-worth and believing I am responsible for other people’s happiness. That’s why the path of emotional liberation is so appealing for me. I would love to find myself at complete peace with whatever choice they make, trusting that that is exactly the choice they need to make in that moment, regardless of my evaluation. I want to have that same support for my autonomy. It’s a path, one step at a time. At least for me.
    Does that make sense?

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  3. I don’t understand the first question. I’m not relieved to know that people do or don’t take my advice or suggestions, it’s their choice. When I love someone dearly, and I know they can do better for themselves, I find that frustrating. Though after any conversation with whoever, people’s choices are their own. If people fail because they didn’t listen to reason, I feel no guilt or blame. I give from my heart, I give with love, therefore I don’t feel stressed by outcomes.

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  4. You really hit an issue here Miss Elly. I think I learned long ago that I can only listen, advise when asked for input, and not get caught up in the drama of things. I know people who dwell on sympathy, they are always in the same boat, never trying to find a better way to live. They dwell on being a victim. No matter what you do, suggest, the response is the same. I don’t have time, too many things going on, so on and so on. I try to dig down and ask questions on why they love the pot of piety they live in. It’s amazes me some of the things I’ve heard, and may be the old adage, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink,” is true. When is enough, enough, I ask myself. How can I help you help yourself? People can and will only change when they have had enough. I feel my responsibility foremost is to listen without being judgmental. To make suggestions and give options, and never tell anyone what they should do. Whatever they do is what they do. They are responsible for that choice.

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    • Hi Richard,

      Are you writing that you celebrate your learning that people are responsible for their own choices, and their own well-being? Are you relieved that you know that you can offer people advice, suggestions, insights, and never can force them to listen to it and live by it? Was is sometimes frustrating to experience people who love to live the pot of pity they live in, yet need listening about their suffering? I can imagine you want peace within you and around you, and being selective who you listen to and how helps you be more peaceful and enjoy the simple things in life. Is that it?

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