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How bringing empathy to work can be the greatest thing you ever do as a boss

Have you ever felt like some people at work weren’t hugged enough as children?

Like the time I called in sick ahead of a Saturday 6 am shift and a total harpy picked up the phone. I had a fever, I hadn’t slept and I was super nervous about talking on the phone with a stranger.

On the verge of tears and hands shaking, I piped up, “I’m sick and I can’t make it to work today”.

The crone on the other end said: “You don’t sound sick.”

I fought to keep my voice even as my eyes filled with tears and a rage-mixed-panic was rising up in me. I mean, would it really take that much from you to bring a little empathy to work?!

I was the one who was losing pay for the shifts I was going to miss and her implying that I was just skipping work because I partied too hard the night before – if you call reading a book in a blanket cave partying hard – was just downright offensive.

Ever since then, I’ve wondered what would it look like if we were allowed to have our feelings. At work. In the world. In life.

I mean, what if no matter where you went, you felt seen and heard? Felt like your distress was recognised? Felt like what you’ve endured was acknowledged?

It’s that lack of empathy, that “Well, at least you bothered to call in and tell us you’re not coming to work,” way of treating each other that drives disconnection.

We need so much more empathy because that’s our way back to each other, our gateway to healing as a group, a community, a nation and a people.

But in order to wield your empathy wisely, you need to train yourself to better recognise and manage emotions – yours and other people’s.

Only when you add more tools to your emotional toolkit can you guide others and help them see that pain is temporary. That they’re not stuck in that difficult situation forever. That they’re not alone and that they have the power to take action.

After all, how much do a few kind words really cost you?

If I had to do that phone call all over again, I’d dress that bitch down.

But not in a nasty way, just point out that her behaviour isn’t acceptable for a superior at work and that she needs to reconsider her vocabulary.

Even if you’re not a boss, you can still be the hero that brought empathy to work. 💪

Let’s start a kind and compassionate revolution to eradicate all harpies from work. Cuz we all got shit 💩 to deal with and we don’t need to jump through hoops on top of that.

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If you’re highly sensitive and feel worn out by your job these tips can help you feel better

When I worked full-time, there were days I left work feeling like an 18-wheeler had done a 5-point-turn on over me.

I felt totally drained and exhausted. I came home and wouldn’t have the energy to do a single thing. Still, dinner needed to be cooked and lunch made ready for the next day, the apartment needed cleaning, the cat needed feeding and the litter box cleaning.

Overwhelmed by others’ energy I had very little patience left to consciously offer anything to anyone else. I was completely spent, and that was just by Monday evening.

At work, I spent a lot of time in the bathroom stall, tears silently falling, my shoulders shaking from sobbing, without a clue of what just happened or why I was feeling so lost.

I would come to work perfectly happy and within minutes of entering the building, I’d turn moody and withdrawn. As the day went on, I got angry and then depressed. My emotions flickered like someone was playing with my emotional light switch.

To add insult to injury, without being aware of what was going on, I would regularly create a mental story to explain away all the emotions I was feeling.

I would bring up negative self-talk, old baggage, stories, fights, or even think about what negativity the future would bring.

As an empath, I feel everything deeply. Emotional, physical and mental perceptions affect me strongly. Just going on social media can change my mood in a moment.

Before I was aware of being an empath, I not only felt what others did, but also took on their emotional, physical and mental ailments as my own.

Learning how to manage my own energy and draw healthy boundaries has changed my work from a parade of misery to a much more joyful experience.

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What if you could genuinely comfort someone without resorting to “it’s okay” and a pat on the back?

How to genuinely make someone feel better when they're upset

If you want sympathy, look in the dictionary between SHIT and SYPHILIS.

Sympathy drives disconnection because it is drawing a silver lining around someone else’s pain and dismissing their feelings as no big deal.

You easily fall back on sympathy when you’re trying to protect your own heart (especially when you’re an overwhelmed empath), but acting like you don’t have a heart doesn’t make you a very good person.

How you make other people feel about themselves, says a lot about you.

Empathy fuels connection because it is feeling with another’s heart and seeing with another’s eyes.

Empathy is simply listening, holding space, withholding judgement, emotionally connecting and communicating “you’re not alone”.

Empathy is our way back to each other and it is empathy that changes the world for the better.

Empathy is me always willing to step into your shoes. Unless you wear Crocs, then you’re on your own!

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Have you been told you need to grow thicker skin? Maybe you’re an empath!

Shine like the whole universe is yours

Empaths are emotional sponges who absorb both the stress and the joy from the world around them.

To really thrive as an empath (not just survive), I think it’s critical to learn how to not take on the energy, stress and moods of other people.

To an empath, the world can often seem coarse, heartless and disdainful of sensitivity. I know I’ve been told time and again that I need to be less sensitive if I want to succeed in life.

But I say that there is nothing wrong with being sensitive. Being sensitive to the world around you isn’t a weakness that needs to be stamped out.

I think empathy is the very thing about you that is most right in the world. Rather than “growing thicker skin”, I believe it’s more important for you to learn skills to help you cope with a highly sensitive nervous system.

When you learn to understand your specific needs as an empath, you’ll be able to truly connect with yourself (and others), be your authentic self and shine as an empath.

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What’s the smarter way to deal with a crying child?

The funny thing about kids is that they're the reason we lose our shit and the reason we keep it together.

Parenting is a lot like the bar scene; everyone’s yelling, everything is sticky, the same music plays over and over again and once in a while somebody pukes. There’s also a lot more yelling at people from the bathroom than I ever imagined.

Parenting was a lot easier when I was raising my non-existent kids hypothetically. Back then I didn’t know that I could ruin someone’s day by asking them to put pants on.

The standard toddler to-do list goes something like this:
1) Ask for waffle
2) Refuse offered waffle
3) Ask why your waffle was taken away
4) Cry because you don’t have your waffle

…and that’s on a good day.

I feel like every time I say “no” my kid hears “ask again, she didn’t understand the question”.

They say women average about 20,000 words a day. My toddler manages that before breakfast. I routinely find myself staring blankly at my husband because I can’t remember what we were talking about after being interrupted 178 times.

Somebody asked me what the hardest thing about parenting is, I said “it’s the kids”. Ever had a job where you had no experience, no training, weren’t allowed to quit and people’s lives depended on you?

I am a strong woman raising a strong child which is why I need a strong drink. One day I’ll be thankful that my kid is strong willed, but that will not be today. Not in this grocery store.

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Do you have what it takes to turn your pain into power?

Never regret a day in your life.

The thing about success is, that we don’t achieve it despite feeling pain. We achieve it because we experience pain.

Now, I know this sounds like the short end of the stick – it kind of is – but if we spend our lives running away from the pain we’re never going to benefit from it.

Life has a funny way of always coming back at us with the lessons that we didn’t learn the first time around. If you turn a blind eye and a deaf ear, life will double up and hammer at that wall you built with two catapults instead of one.

So, success isn’t defined by how well you avoid painful situations and uncomfortable conversations. It’s defined by what you do after you’ve been through the ringer – and how you take that pain and turn it into an invaluable lesson that will propel you forward in life.

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How to declutter your emotional closet (with a little help from F.R.I.E.N.D.S.)

Watch your thoughts quote by Lao Tzu

Just like our regular closet, our emotional closet gets filled up with all sorts of things. And just like we periodically get stung by inspiration to Marie Kondo our way through our clothes, it would do us a world of good to unload some of our emotional baggage every now and again.

The funny thing about emotions though, is that, even though they’re biological markers for us to use along the way – and very useful at that – they can get us stuck.

To avoid getting bogged down in cognitive traps spinning your wheels, you need to take your feelings with a grain of salt.

Hearing what your gut feeling says isn’t always easy and the emotional jungle you have to traverse to get to it can be quite dense. However, I assure you that the journey is well worth it and will free up considerable cognitive resources.

Is today the day you dump some of that stuff you’ve been hauling around since 1992?

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Why it matters that you show your love – 10 ways to say “I love you”

Did you know that sharing your love will lower your stress hormones, cholesterol and blood pressure as well as boost your immune system?

To get all these benefits, though, you need to express your love, not just feel it. You can say “I love you”, write a note or send a text to say “I’m thinking about you”. Hugging, listening and offering to help with chores are all ways of showing your love too.

Just being in the presence of someone who greets you with a smile and is glad to see you, can lower your levels of adrenaline and cortisol, when you’re having one of those days when everything’s going wrong, and create a greater state of neurochemical balance – meaning you’ll feel better both physically and mentally.

Did you also know that when you feel secure in yourself and in your relationships, your stress levels go down?

Making it a habit to share your love and be compassionate towards others (as well as yourself) will even protect you against the effects of stress as people with more affection in their lives produce more oxytocin when they’re stressed than their counterparts.

Basically, the more affectionate you are, the less stressed you’ll even be able to get.

When you’re generous with your affection, your body will produce much less cortisol and your blood pressure won’t spike as high as if you’re more withheld. Funny how Mother Nature do dat!

Read this article to get some ideas on how you can spread the love! 🥰

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How to create more headspace in your everyday life with these 4 simple writing exercises

Forget trying to become a writer and just write because it’s one of the best ways to declutter your mind.

Writing on paper (rather than on a computer or tab) forces your brain to really slow down and think – that’s why I prefer printable templates that I can write on myself.

Of course, you can write in any way that is convenient for you – but you should be writing!

This is one of the easiest forms of self-expression that will allow you to gain perspective on your thoughts and feelings.

Especially, when you process things deeply and tend to mull over stuff for a long time, doing these types of simple writing exercises regularly can drastically improve your quality of life.

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5 things I wish people knew about me as a highly sensitive empath & introvert

Being highly sensitive means being misunderstood quite a lot.

Having a particularly sensitive nervous system means that you process everything – and I mean everything: thoughts, feelings, temperature, sensations, smells – more deeply.

Your experience of the world is different and your sensitivity can feel like an annoyance or burden to other people.

I know that my sensitivity has created many misunderstandings, especially with family members who insist that my sensitivity is just “all in my head”. 

While not everyone who’s sensitive is the same, we do share many experiences – and it can be very stressful when the people we care about don’t “get” us.

This one is for you curling up on the couch with the cat and a book on a Saturday night.

For you pep-talking yourself in the supermarket car park to just go in and get it over with already.

For when you’re wondering why you’re the “only one” who wants to stay home this (and every other) weekend.

If you’re struggling to be like everybody else – I know exactly what you’re talking about because I did that too!

Here’s what I wish other people knew about me as an empath, introvert and highly sensitive person.

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How to approach the rage cleaning woman and survive

This house was clean yesterday we're sorry you missed it

I used to think that when the house got too dirty, my husband would take one look at it and decide that instead of cleaning it himself, now was the perfect time to royally piss me off.

Because boy can I clean in a rage.

As my temper explodes like Mount Vesuvius, violently spewing forth a deadly cloud of super-heated gases high into the sky, ejecting molten rock, pulverized pumice and hot ash at 1.5 million tons per second, the tiniest thing out of place becomes a target.

I clean the kitchen with loud determination. I wipe surfaces clean of dust with forceful intent. I aggressively vacuum carpets to within an inch of their lives.

I deposit trash by the front door with a fury and purpose that would make Lyssa, the ancient Greek goddess for mad rage, envious.

The house becomes a scene from a disaster movie, with children and spouses running barely ahead of the impending doom, squealing in terror and picking up favourite toys and clothes before they’re sucked into the cleaning tornado never to be seen again.

And oh the humanity, the socks. 🙉

Socks EVERYWHERE.

Balled up in the couch. Shoved into bookshelves. Left on top of shoes. Lounging casually on stairs. Reposing under the kitchen table. Thrown over the armrest of the easy chair. And very rarely in pairs, like they were never meant to have mates.

I think a messy kitchen and dishes left all over the house are my biggest triggers these days.

That, and stepping on Legos. There’s nothing like a Lego underfoot to make the rage travel instantly from that pointy sonofabitch up your body until the top of you head blows off like a cartoon.

What about you? What makes you scrub the house like the whole damn thing needs to be sent to its room and think about what it did?

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Why is losing a pet especially hard for sensitive people?

Why losing a pet is especially hard for sensitive people

Earlier this year, we had to say goodbye to our old buddy. He was 19 when he died, which is quite an accomplishment for a cat with several serious conditions.

Losing him was very difficult because he was a part of our lives for so long.

When I got an SMS from the vet, that Oscar’s urn was ready to be picked up, I read the beginning of the message in the notifications before swiping it right back up where it came from and put my phone down.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to rush out and go pick it up right away or just ignore it altogether. Oscar’s absence was still so palpable around the house that I didn’t want to admit that he wasn’t coming back.

When I finally did go, I had such a hard time wrapping my head around how Oscar, my fluffy, raggedy, grumpy old boy, was in this tiny little box now. He was supposed to be fuzzy and warm and constantly trying to sit on me to the point of annoyance.

As I was driving home the song on the radio was almost exclusively made up of the words “and you never come back” set to a repetitive electro-dance beat and that was a very long 5 minutes that I struggled to keep it together.

I made it home clenching my jaw and staring intently at the road. I felt numb when I took the paper bag with the urn out of the car and walked home thinking how ironic it was that the bag had a picture of the cutest, fluffiest little blue-eyed kitten on it.

And inside was my… yeah. Still can’t finish that thought.

I went in, grabbed the basement keys and gently placed the bag on top of his carry box that sat immediately inside the rickety little basement cubby door. Putting him in the basement felt odd but I simply couldn’t imagine having this box in the house – this box that both was and was not him.

I kept thinking, how could such a small box hold such a huge part of my life? It felt like a part of me had died with him.

This whole ordeal got me thinking that, though the loss of a pet is hard for anyone, especially sensitive people and empaths can experience that loss more deeply.

We may also take longer to recover from it, and having people say to you “it was just a cat” doesn’t make the grieving process go any faster for us.

Learning how to cope with loss and allowing yourself to grieve is the only way you can move through the sorrow and continue that cherished relationship in your heart.

In order to find some stillness underneath all the emotional turmoil, you need to learn how to sit with scary and uncomfortable emotions because you experience them so deeply.

Here I put together some thoughts about why losing a pet is especially challenging for sensitive people and some tips on what you can do to cope with this kind of loss.

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What’s the deal with bodywork (and should I try it)?

What is bodywork (and should I try it)?

All forms of bodywork, from massage to acupuncture and movement therapies, are a physical and emotional check-in, verging on a form of self-study. They are a way to get to know your outer shell, your body, on a deeper level and discover old sheaths of tension and trauma that have been hidden from plain view.

The benefits you get from having your body worked on are many, like increased circulation, muscle relaxation, the activation of your parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the rest-and-digest function of your body, which speeds up the body’s natural healing process.

Sometimes it takes having someone else’s hands on your body to even notice that something feels off. Just like yoga, bodywork allows you to become more aware of your body, and more aware of yourself in space. And bodywork is a wonderful complement to your exercise routine, helping you to recover faster and more deeply while also improving sleep, boosting immunity, increasing mental clarity, alleviating headaches, reducing depression and simply to relax.

The more tired and worn out we feel by just living daily life, the more we should start piling on the self-care.

We’ve all tried yoga and meditation at some point because those are the most well-known self-care practices (plus everyone and their goats are doing it). But there’s also a whole list of other stuff you can try in order to tap into your body’s natural restorative state in order to feel better.

Some forms of bodywork you might already be familiar with, such as acupuncture, while others that are more out there – like urine therapy – never really caught on (with good reason, too!).

While the verdict is still out on what level of fru-fru is socially acceptable in the trends you choose to go with, many of these alternative therapies can be pretty damn relaxing as well as help you to feel better and to heal.

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5 reasons why you need grit and 5 ways to get it (not the sand kind, but the mental toughness kind)

Grit is sticking with your future day in and day out quote

You know, you can bring all the talent in the world, and say that you’re going to depend on that alone, but it will only get you so far.

To get there it’s going to take grit and grind and desire. Every piston needs to be pumping at full-throttle in the engine if you’re going to win.

Once you start thinking of building grit as a life strategy, it becomes easier to weave it into every aspect of your life without even really thinking about it.

Having grit, being resilient and mentally tough is vital if you want to be a happy, accomplished person and live a life that gives you great joy and satisfaction.

Grit will allow you to develop an unshakeable confidence and positive outlook in life, be mentally equipped to tackle any challenge and become emotionally “bulletproof” in times of crisis, which will allow you to navigate the fallout until you arrive at a better place.

With grit you will have the calm confidence to take on those chances that terrify you but are worth the risk and you’ll be able to fully embrace the life you’ve always wanted.

Once you get gritty, the rest tends to fall into place.

In the end, you have to decide if you want to regret the chances you took or the opportunities you missed.

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I cut my hair way too short today – but I don’t hate it!

I started cutting my hair at home when I was living in Pakistan. Every time I tried to go and get my hair cut there, and asked for layers, the person cutting my hair would declare that my nordic fair, fine hair was too thin for anything like that.

I’d had layers before, so it sounded odd. But when they insisted on cutting hair with tailor’s scissors, it makes more sense.

So, I started cutting it at home, in a shitty bathroom with a triangle mirror that was barely the size of my face.

And I’ve continued ever since with acceptable results. The few times I’ve gone to a hairdresser, they always end up doing things I don’t like or washing my hair with products that dry my hair and scalp out.

Plus it feels like a massive bother to make an appointment and take the time out of my day to go.

It’s just easier to do it at home. The only risk is, that sometimes it gets out of hand.

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10 things you can learn from highly resilient people

Strong people know how to organise their suffering resilience quote

It’s natural to resist change, especially when it comes in the form of challenges and adversity.

Who wants to climb the mountain when you can take the ski-lift and enjoy the view on a leisurely ascent to the top?

But since change is the only constant in life, change is inevitable.

Building up yourself to become more resilient will not only help you survive and bounce back from change, but it will also allow you to thrive even in difficult circumstances.

Think of every person who ever made the best of a bad situation. Who survived the seemingly unsurvivable. Who conquered their own fears and achieved the unthinkable.

They were all resilient. Don’t miss out on these simple things you can do to build your own resilience.

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