community thoughts

Deeply Understanding Others

Originally written and published for my monthly newsletter.

The conversations I remember from all of elementary and high school on empathy was the difference between “empathy” and “sympathy”. There was nothing to do with how to be empathetic, the importance of understanding other people, collaborating with them, living with them, leading through life building meaningful relationships…. all things I think that are far more important than the semantics between two words. 

When we do talk about developing empathy, or it’s importance – it’s usually in a situational context. Can you understand how someone feels or thinks through x situation? 

But unlocking how someone experiences the world and wants to experience it is where true understanding lays. 

When you can deeply understand the way in which people experience life, and want to experience life, there is rarely need for situational empathy – you get that person. And it forever changes your relationship and ability to truly connect with them.

How do you start to deeply understand people?

  • Seek understanding.
  • Try to really map out the way they view and understand the world, how the inputs of the world turn into outputs of thoughts in their mind, and how they want to live through experiences.
  • Choose listening over hearing.
  • Establish a truth-seeking environment. Don’t doubt the validity of people’s truth if they’ve promised to be honest with you. 
  • Stop interpreting what other people say in terms of your own models. You’re trying to figure it out through *their* models of the world.
  • Cross check your understanding of their explanations. Where are the nuances? Those are important. Dive into those.

Would you add anything else?


Wth is Creativity?

Originally written and published for my monthly newsletter.

Creativity isn’t great art. Creativity isn’t even bound to great art. 

Creativity is an action that flows from consciousness. This action presents itself as new or innovative, relative to you. 

If you are a janitor, tapped into consciousness, and you figure out a new way to mop the floors – you are using creativity.

If you are a janitor, not tapped into consciousness, and you figure out a new way to mop the floors – you are only innovating. 

So then, what’s the deal with creativity? Why does it matter? What’s the difference?

1. Inner harmony.

2. The ability to utilize it to find fulfillment in your life.

3. With practice, to use it to elevate the consciousness of others. This is tied to great art*.

*Great art = elevating the consciousness of those viewing, or experiencing it. You don’t need to be creative to produce great art. But increased creativity increases the likelihood of your ability to produce great art. If your’e tapped to your consciousness, consistently, how can you not reach others?


Labelling Emotional Experiences

Originally written and published in my monthly newsletter as a reflection

The human experience is mostly emotional. I understand the concept, but I’ve struggled with truly feeling in tune with my understanding of emotions. I know they just are what they are, but also… there’s something to be said about their utility. 

The concept that most negative emotions are “bad” and most positive emotions are “good” has been one I’ve leaned into over the past few years. And it has some truth to it, but for the most part there’s been a gap in my understanding of that concept that’s nagged at me like a fly in a sleeping room. 

Could it be so black and white? No.

Sadness can’t always be bad. Pain can’t always be bad. Joy shouldn’t always be good. How can we label the emotions like that when in some circumstances, feeling pain is good? When pain and sadness can facilitate growth?

And also, how can sadness be bad when it is truly to the core what we feel when we lose the things we love in life? Isn’t that where the beauty of emotions lay? It feels inauthentic to repress emotions that are so true to our experience.

How do I feel!?!? Can we create situational rules for emotions? Again, no. The human experience is too subjective, even if the situation is shared. 

And that’s when I realized: to experience the feeling of emotions can’t be based on the emotion itself. It’s not based on the experience. It’s not based on the situation, the subjectiveness, your capacity to feel, your values in life.. it’s based on awareness.

If you bring awareness and consciousness without a pre-determined decision on the emotional experience, emotions that are valid will stay, and ones that aren’t will dissipate. There is no repression, and no false control involved in this. The ones that dissipate, dissipate on their own. Sometimes you will even be surprised at the ones which go. And the ones that stay, they will stay on their own. 

Then there is no second guessing, no rabbit-hole of questioning your experience, or a “choice” to feel bad about. There just is. Emotions just are. And to feel is to feel, to not feel is to not feel, all on the basis of what you truly need vs. what you want.