compassion http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8192/all en-US Get Out There! The Power of Vulnerability http://www.wisebread.com/get-out-there-the-power-of-vulnerability <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-out-there-the-power-of-vulnerability" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/IMG_3496_1_1.JPG" alt="vulnerability" title="vulnerability" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Guess what? I&rsquo;m not perfect. I get scared. I worry about my future. I want people to like me. I am afraid of loving somebody who doesn&rsquo;t love me back. And I can&rsquo;t stand the idea of people talking behind my back or accusing me of things I haven&rsquo;t done.</p> <p>These are a few of my vulnerabilities, out there for the world to see. And I&rsquo;m willing to bet I&rsquo;m not the only person who has these fears.&nbsp;We live in a vulnerable world, dealing daily with situations in which we are exposing our vulnerabilities (to ourselves if to nobody else).</p> <p>When you feel vulnerable, or you&rsquo;re searching for meaning in life, what do you do? Many of us &quot;have a couple of beers and a banana-nut muffin&quot; to dull the pain, suggests Brene Brown, a researcher-storyteller who gave one of the most powerful 20-minute <a href="http://www.ted.com/">TED talks</a> I&rsquo;ve ever seen.</p> <p>But the unseen consequence of the numbing effect of those beers (or food, or drugs, or even medication) is the dulling of not only the pain, but the pleasure you could be experiencing in life.</p> <p>Brown spent years studying the concept of vulnerability and how people who live whole-heartedly accept &mdash; and even celebrate &mdash; their vulnerabilities.</p> <p>I highly encourage you to <a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html">watch the video</a>:</p> <p><object width="446" height="326"> <param name="movie" value="http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /> <param name="wmode" value="transparent" /> <param name="bgColor" value="#ffffff" /> <param name="flashvars" value="vu=http://video.ted.com/talks/dynamic/BreneBrown_2010X-medium.flv&amp;su=http://images.ted.com/images/ted/tedindex/embed-posters/BreneBrown-2010X.embed_thumbnail.jpg&amp;vw=432&amp;vh=240&amp;ap=0&amp;ti=1042&amp;introDuration=15330&amp;adDuration=4000&amp;postAdDuration=830&amp;adKeys=talk=brene_brown_on_vulnerability;year=2010;theme=a_taste_of_tedx;theme=how_the_mind_works;theme=what_makes_us_happy;theme=new_on_ted_com;event=TEDxHouston;&amp;preAdTag=tconf.ted/embed;tile=1;sz=512x288;" /><embed src="http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf" pluginspace="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="446" height="326" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" flashvars="vu=http://video.ted.com/talks/dynamic/BreneBrown_2010X-medium.flv&amp;su=http://images.ted.com/images/ted/tedindex/embed-posters/BreneBrown-2010X.embed_thumbnail.jpg&amp;vw=432&amp;vh=240&amp;ap=0&amp;ti=1042&amp;introDuration=15330&amp;adDuration=4000&amp;postAdDuration=830&amp;adKeys=talk=brene_brown_on_vulnerability;year=2010;theme=a_taste_of_tedx;theme=how_the_mind_works;theme=what_makes_us_happy;theme=new_on_ted_com;event=TEDxHouston;"></embed></object></p> <p>Among other things, Brown discusses the concepts of courage, compassion, and connection, and how they are embodied by the whole-hearted people she studied. Since watching the video, I have decided that I want to be one of those whole-hearted people.</p> <p>So I&rsquo;m exposing my own vulnerabilities to the people I care about. I&rsquo;m re-examining what I&rsquo;m doing, why I&rsquo;m doing it, and how I want things to change (if at all). I&rsquo;m not afraid to talk about some of my innermost fears and, conversely, to share my victories.</p> <p>And if I feel vulnerable, I don&rsquo;t reach for a glass of wine (at least not right away and not for the wrong reasons!); instead I ask myself what I&rsquo;m feeling and what I can do about it.</p> <p>In doing so, I&rsquo;ve deepened some friendships inexplicably, and in turn had the honor of seeing a few vulnerabilities of others exposed &mdash; and nurtured.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve accepted the fact that life is messy, and that leaning into feelings of discomfort leads to growth.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m willing to risk getting hurt to experience the joy of falling in love.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ll invest in a relationship (romantic or otherwise) without any knowledge of the outcome, despite the appearance of the odds being stacked against me.</p> <p>And already, in exposing &mdash; and accepting &mdash; these often-hidden and painful moments, I&rsquo;ve also glimpsed the euphoria that life is supposed to be all about. I am so blessed to be a vulnerable person.</p> <p>Are you inspired? Ready to take the next step? Check out these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">100 Ways to Change Your Life</a>, set your intention with some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/vision-boards-dream-big-play-with-pictures-and-watch-your-life-change">vision boards</a>, and see what happens!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-out-there-the-power-of-vulnerability">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-spending-3-on-you-will-advance-your-career">Here&#039;s How Spending 3% On You Will Advance Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-your-decision-making-skills">10 Ways to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-have-energy-after-work">7 Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development compassion emotional help talks Thu, 20 Jan 2011 14:00:13 +0000 Nora Dunn 458308 at http://www.wisebread.com Let things go http://www.wisebread.com/let-things-go <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/let-things-go" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/edinburgh-monument.jpg" alt="Unfinished monument above Edinburgh" title="Unfinished Monument Above Edinburgh" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="191" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Two of the unhappiest people I ever knew lived in the apartment below mine when I lived for two years in Salt Lake City. They acted as on-site managers--collected rent checks in exchange for a break on their own rent. I didn&#39;t have any real visibility into their financial situation; they seemed to be getting by, but at a pretty low standard of living. Like many unhappy people, though, they had a well-worn story of woe. They told it to me the very first time we met.</p> <p>There&#39;s nothing wrong with a story of woe. We all have one. Most of us have more than one. But their story wasn&#39;t about their current problems. Their story was that some two decades earlier, they had sold a few acres of land in central Florida, land that later became part of Walt Disney World. They figured they&#39;d probably been cheated, or at best were terrible unlucky. </p> <p>That experience seemed to have colored their whole life. Every day was a day that they could have been--would have been, if not for bad people and bad luck--rich.</p> <p>I&#39;ve known other people like that. They viewed everything through the prism of something gone wrong. In some cases, the bad thing was a real trauma--a crippling accident, growing up without a parent, the loss of a lover or sibling or child--but often, as in the case with my neighbors, it seemed to be less than that. All that had really happened to them was that an opportunity for great good fortune had come close, but had missed them. It was like standing next to the guy who bought the winning lottery ticket. But in their eyes, not being super-lucky was somehow the same as having been very unlucky.</p> <p>My experience is that you can&#39;t really be happy until you can let these things go.</p> <p>In many cases the people in question may be clinically depressed and need to get proper medical attention, after which issues like these that seem to cloud their lives will just clear up on their own. If that&#39;s your situation, by all means, get the care you need. Great strides have been made in treating depression in the past twenty years or so, in the form of modern antidepressants and various kinds of therapy.</p> <p>Looking in from the outside, though, it seems that a lot of these cases aren&#39;t that. They&#39;re just people getting stuck on what might have been and finding it hard to accept that things are as they are.</p> <p>When this isn&#39;t a medical issue, I think there&#39;s a spiritual component to getting past such things--what you&#39;re looking for here is grace, and offering forgiveness to those around you is going to help as much as anything. Personally, I find that Buddhist practice is of help here. The way not to live in the past is to practice <strong>mindfulness</strong>--put your attention on where you are now. The first step to forgiving others is to feel <strong>compassion</strong> for them. Rather than feeling bitter over missed opportunities and past ill-use, chose to feel <strong>gratitude</strong> for the opportunities that weren&#39;t missed and the times that people and fate treated you kindly.</p> <p>Those are the tools that I use when I need to let things go.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/let-things-go">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-poor-folks-have-better-crap-than-you">When poor folks have better crap than you</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-hair-for-cash">How to Sell Your Hair for Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-and-simple-sunburn-remedies-that-really-work">Cheap and Simple Sunburn Remedies That Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Health and Beauty attention compassion gratitude how to mindfulness Tue, 05 Feb 2008 20:54:26 +0000 Philip Brewer 1749 at http://www.wisebread.com When poor folks have better crap than you http://www.wisebread.com/when-poor-folks-have-better-crap-than-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-poor-folks-have-better-crap-than-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/guitar-camera-game-ipod-krishna_0.jpg" alt="Some stuff I&#039;ve got" title="Cool Stuff" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="305" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every notice how upset people get, when someone poorer than them has better crap? I&#39;m talking about the guy agonizing over whether to spring for a 32-inch flat screen who finds out that his poorer neighbor has come home with a 42-inch one. It&#39;s bad enough trying to keep up with the Jones; when you have trouble keeping up with the guy living on the wrong side of the tracks, it&#39;s a source of constant aggravation.</p> <p>I think this is a really natural emotion, but it&#39;s also a harmful one. I&#39;ve seen it from more than one side.</p> <p>I wrote a post a while back arguing that the fact that many families now have two people in the workforce was because standards of living had risen; if you were willing to live at a 1950s standard of living, you could still get by with a single income. (I also pointed out that there&#39;s a name for that--it&#39;s called &quot;<a href="/our-high-high-standard-of-living-1">living in poverty</a>.&quot;)</p> <p>A lot of people didn&#39;t like that post. Some people disputed it on factual grounds, doing a back-of-envelope budget for a poor person to show that it was impossible (but without considering the sort of extreme solutions that were common in the 1950s, such as moving in with your wife&#39;s parents; most didn&#39;t even consider carpooling). Other people seemed to think that I was trying to claim that poverty wasn&#39;t poverty (even though I&#39;d used that very word).</p> <p>Other people did like the post, but some of them liked it in the unsavory way that I&#39;m talking about--suggesting that living in poverty isn&#39;t so bad, as long a you&#39;ve got good crap.</p> <p>(On that topic, I saw a great cartoon recently, where a <a href="http://www.salon.com/comics/boll/2007/09/13/boll/">rich guy disputes the poverty of a poor guy</a>, pointing out all the stuff he&#39;s got. In 1800: &quot;You can&#39;t be poor! You&#39;ve got a shirt!&quot; In 1975: &quot;You can&#39;t be poor! You&#39;ve got a TV!&quot; In 1990: &quot;You can&#39;t be poor! You&#39;ve got a VCR!&quot; Let me just say, as I&#39;ve said before, living in poverty is bad, <a href="/voluntary-simplicity-versus-poverty">even if the poor person spends as much as a frugal person</a>.)</p> <p>Still, I&#39;ve felt that ire myself. I&#39;m somewhat prone to be in that situation, because of where I live.</p> <p>My apartment complex has an odd mix of tenants. Rents are at the lower end of the range for the area, so there are a good number of working-class folks along with graduate students, senior citizens, single folks, couples, new families, and so on. The place has quite a cosmopolitan air, actually, due to the number of foreigners who live here. It&#39;s a milieu that I rather like--I get to mix with a lot of different kinds of people. A good number of my neighbors have modest incomes, which is yet another aspect of the diversity that I enjoy.</p> <p>There are also other upsides to this. One is is that it gives me a valuable perspective, as far as the &quot;keeping up with the Joneses&quot; thing goes. If you live or work where the Joneses make as much as (or more than) you, it&#39;s easy for that perspective to work against you. For example, whenever my former employer was hiring in a hot job market, new software engineers would start showing up with expensive new cars for which a signing bonus had provided the down payment. Looking at the parking lot quite easily gave one a skewed notion of what was normal. Living here helped me avoid that.</p> <p>Still, inevitably, some neighbors have better crap than me. Some of them may not be poorer than me. Maybe, as I used to be, they are well-paid professionals who chose to live here because it suits them. Maybe they&#39;re students from affluent families willing to subsidize their lifestyle. Maybe they&#39;re just young singles who can comfortably afford nice crap because they have no debts and no one else to support. </p> <p>In many cases, though, they&#39;re people who are making poor decisions about their spending--and that&#39;s aggravating to watch. It makes me feel bad for them, and it also makes me feel bad for myself, because I don&#39;t have everything I want.</p> <p>Both these feelings are pernicious. One of the reasons I write for Wise Bread is to deal with the first. (Far better for me to advocate for living within your means here, where there&#39;s an interested audience, than to buttonhole my neighbors and criticize their lifestyle choices.) One of the reasons I read Wise Bread is to deal with the second. (It helps to be part of a supportive community of people trying to avoid the harmful effects of our consumer culture.)</p> <p>I think this is one of those situations where a Buddhist attitude provides the best results. When people around you make unwise choices the appropriate emotion to feel is <strong>compassion</strong>, not ire. When you find yourself wishing for better crap the appropriate emotion to feel is <strong>gratitude</strong> for the crap you&#39;ve got, not envy for someone else&#39;s.</p> <p>It&#39;s not always easy to choose how to feel about things. It takes practice, and it takes paying attention to what you&#39;re doing and how you&#39;re feeling. But it&#39;s practice that worth doing. And what you&#39;re doing and how you&#39;re feeling are worth paying attention to.</p> <p>And, if you simply must have more and better crap, check out Myscha&#39;s post: <a href="/stash-your-cash-how-to-have-cool-crap-for-less-money">Stash Your Cash: How to Have Cool Crap for Less Money</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-poor-folks-have-better-crap-than-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/let-things-go">Let things go</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-simple-ways-to-split-bills-with-your-spouse">3 Simple Ways to Split Bills With Your Spouse</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-your-dog-is-ruining-your-credit-score">3 Ways Your Dog Is Ruining Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sensible-ways-to-raise-cash-for-a-wedding">Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle attention compassion gratitude practice zen Tue, 20 Nov 2007 13:26:24 +0000 Philip Brewer 1411 at http://www.wisebread.com