Posts Tagged With: empathy

Day 2616: Allow for the possibility

Allow for the possibility that there’s a new helpful phrase on my whiteboard at work.

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Allow for the possibility that

  • your worst fear is not true,
  • you matter more to other people than you think,
  • others will follow their conscience,
  • people can place long-term advantages above short-term profits and greed,
  • we can work together towards common goals no matter what our differences, and
  • some of my other photos from yesterday fit today’s topic.

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Allow for the possibility that Michael’s cooking keeps getting better.

Allow for the possibility that Texas State University students did a great job performing “The Art of the Possible” from the musical Evita:

Allow for the possibility that

  • comments are turned off for that YouTube video and
  • your comments are welcomed here, below.

Allow for the possibility that I’m grateful you’re reading this blog, here and now, and that I want you back in the future.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 2595: Other people’s pain

Dear other people,

Are you in pain? Are you in emotional or physical pain, here and now?

How does other people’s pain affect you? Does that cause you pain?

Yesterday at work, I talked to several people who were in extreme pain. That  pained me so much that I noticed moments when I wanted to turn away from their pain. It would pain me to tell you if I had turned away from other people’s pain, but I did not. I stayed with their pain and with mine.

At last night’s Coping and Healing group, other people in pain suggested that we focus on the topic “hope” as a way to ease the pain in the room.

I take pains to protect the confidentiality of all who attend my groups, so I’ll disclose only what I wrote last night:

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In case reading that is a pain, here’s what I wrote:

HOPE

Hope is the thing with feathers.

— Emily Dickenson

Hope is what we all need.

I believe that everybody has a spark

of hope somewhere even if they’re

describing themselves as hopeless.

I think of it as an ember of heat and light

ready to ignite.

 

The worst moments of my life

have been when I’ve lost track of hope.

I’m so grateful that somehow,

I have always found it.

 

If you have everything but hope,

you have nothing.

If you have nothing but hope,

you have everything.

 

Here’s the only other photo I took yesterday:

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Does that poinsettia in the group room look like it’s in pain? It did to me, last night.

Here’s “The Hopelessness Theory of Depression” on YouTube, about other people’s pain:

 

Here‘s  “King of Pain” by The Police:

 

I facilitate five groups every week because I believe sharing pain with other people reduces that pain.  Feel free to share any pain, below.

As I say at the end of every group about other people’s pain, I am grateful that you showed up here, exactly as you are.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2568: Downs and Ups

Every day has downs and ups, for all of us.

My day included many downs and ups, including

  • worrying about performing a Steely Dan song and an original song at an Open Mic last night,
  • buying a ticket to see Jacob Collier at Boston’s House of Blues in May,
  • losing my lyrics sheet for my original song,
  • reconstructing the lyrics as best I could,
  • reconnecting at the Open Mic with Nat, who co-led groups and co-wrote a song with me last year,
  • feeling empathy for the little girl who cried when she forgot how to play “Jingle Bell Rock” on the electric guitar,
  • two people talking loudly during my introduction to and performance of my first song,
  • those people leaving before my second song,
  • forgetting a chord in “Pretzel Logic,”
  • making it through “Pretzel Logic” and my “country” song, “What’s Keeping Me Up is What’s Going Down,” and
  • cheering for the little girl who returned with her acoustic guitar and played a great “Jingle Bell Rock.”

What downs and ups do you see here?

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Here are the downs and ups of my Open Mic performance last night:

I keep writing new lyrics down for “What’s Keeping Me Up is What’s Going Down.” It’s time to put these up on WordPress:

What’s Keeping Me Up is What’s Going Down

by Ann Koplow

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down,

I’m sleepless and hopeless and wearing a frown.

Problems abound, no solutions to be found.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

In my local and the global news

There’s no quick fix I can find to choose.

No matter what your state or views

There’s no relief, just a belief in booze.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

I’m sleepless and hopeless and wearing a frown.

Problems abound, no solutions to be found.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

As I turn to everyone I see

And I ask if they relate to me.

They haven’t got one moment free.

They seem crippled by anxiety.

What’s freaking me out is what’s rushing in.

I’m tired and helpless, no reason to grin.

Fighting with kin, politicians who spin.

What’s freaking me out is what’s rushing in.

As I try to end this song with hope,

Hope seems to be beyond my scope.

Is the answer just to smoke some dope?

When I’m stoned I’m just inclined to mope.

What’s freaking me out is what’s rushing in.

I’m tired and helpless, no reason to grin.

Fighting with kin, politicians who spin.

What’s freaking me out is what’s rushing in.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

© Ann Koplow, 2019

Feel free to write down any thoughts and feelings about downs and ups in the comments section, below.

Now it’s time to get down with gratitude, which always cheers me up!

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Categories: group therapy, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 2511: What’s going down

What’s going down around you, my dear reader?

What’s going down around here includes

  • the temperature,
  • rain,
  • moods,
  • arrests,
  • polling numbers, and
  • progress on my latest original “country” song, “What’s Keeping Me Up is What’s Going Down.”

Are you down with these lyrics?

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

I’m sleepless and helpless and wearing a frown.

Problems abound, no solutions to be found.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

From the local to the global news

No quick fixes are around to choose.

No matter what your state or views,

There’s no relief, just a belief in booze.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

I’m sleepless and helpless and wearing a frown.

Problems abound, no solutions to be found.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

I turn to everyone I see

And ask if they relate to me.

They do not have a moment free

And they’re crippled with anxiety.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

I’m sleepless and helpless and wearing a frown.

Problems abound, no solutions to be found.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

I would like to end this song with hope

But hope seems to be beyond my scope.

When I’m hopeless I can’t help but mope.

If I had some I would smoke some dope.

Maybe I should text the Pope?

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

I’m sleepless and helpless and wearing a frown.

Problems abound, no solutions to be found.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

©️ Ann Koplow, 2019

My photos from yesterday are going down here:

What’s going down with Harley and that squirrel?

Let’s get down with this tune from one of my favorite bands:

If you’re looking to express any reactions to this post, go down to the comments section, below.

Gratitude is always going down around here, so thanks to all who help this blog go down every day, including YOU.

Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 2426: Say YES to …

Yesterday morning, after saying YES to sharing another daily blog post, I looked at a previously published post, also titled “Messes,’ and found this:

I will tell you that I messily shared at the end of the group session my inspiration to make a new t-shirt that says, “Say YES to the mess.”

Over two years later, I am belatedly saying YES to that intention by designing and ordering this t-shirt:

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I said YES to that typestyle of “Say YES to the Mess” because it’s called “Unkempt.” YES!

Here on this blog, and also in my therapy groups, we often discuss how and when to say NO, but it’s equally important to know how and when to say YES.

Say YES to …

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… listening to music you love.

Say YES to …

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… being mindful and non-judgmental of your moods.

Say YES to …

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… observing what’s around you.

Say YES to …

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… long life by practicing good habits.

Say YES to …

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… the most valuable people in your life.

Say YES to …

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… creating your dreams, even if it’s just one.

Say YES to …

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… welcoming all.

Say YES to …

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… whimsey.

Say YES to …

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… the dress (I THINK that’s what that is).

Say YES to …

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… beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

Say YES to …

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… staying in touch.

Say YES to …

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… curiosity, partnership, empathy, apology (when appropriate), reflection, legitimization, support, and wellness.

Say YES to …

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… sharing what’s important to you with other people.

Say YES to …

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… feelings.

Say YES to …

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… flowers.

Say YES to …

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… safety.

Say YES to …

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… love.

Say YES to …

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… healthy hearts, fewer worries, and good sleep!

Say YES to …

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… group support.

Say YES to …

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… taking the stairs.

Say YES to …

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… Yoko, a valued member of the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy executive board, who says YES to fresh fruit in her drinks and who also says YES to sitting with Oscar.

What do YOU say YES to?

Here‘s “Ascent” by Lyle Mays (featured, yes, in this post).

I always say YES to gratitude at the end of these posts, so thanks to all who helped me create this one and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 2374: The opposite of a narcissist

Narcissists are often on my mind, these days, because they

Because I’m sick to death of narcissists, I want to pose this question today:

What is the opposite of a narcissist?

For all you non-narcissists out there who care, I just googled “What is the opposite of a narcissist” and found this:

The opposite of a narcissist is called an ’empath’— here are the signs you could be one.

If you read that article by Lindsay Dodgson, you’ll find that empaths

  • are very receptive to the emotions of others,
  • don’t have the filters that other people have,
  • are very sensitive to noise and smells,
  • can be overwhelmed by being in crowds,
  •  are often exhausted by social situations,
  • need time alone,  and
  • have difficulty setting boundaries.

Over six years ago, this empath posted Day 208: Another side of mind reading (empathy), which featured the TV show Six Feet Under,  the Cleveland Clinic‘s “Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care” (which always makes me cry), and Gem from Star Trek, who is taught — for the survival of her species — to feel, share, and experience other people’s pain.

Because some things bear repeating, here‘s that amazing video from the Cleveland Clinic:

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When I was in my 20’s, I used to ask people this question:

Do you think there are more mean people or more stupid people in this world?

In retrospect, I think I was trying to make sense of  — and better understand — people who seemed so foreign to me.  (I also think I was trying to make sense of — and better understand — the mean and stupid parts of myself, but that’s another story.)  Today, I want to ask this question:

Do you think there are more narcissists or more empaths in this world?

I am happy to report that, based on my 66 years of experience in this world, I firmly believe there are more empaths than narcissists.  (The jury is still out on whether there are more mean people or stupid people.)

Do you see any narcissists or empaths in my photos from yesterday?

 

 

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Feel free to express any opposites  in a comment, below.

Empathic thanks to those who help me express healthy narcissism in my daily posts and — of course! — special thanks to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, psychology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 2259: Putting yourself out there

Yesterday, when people were putting themselves out there in a group therapy session, I put this out there on a white board in the group room:

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What happens when you put yourself out there?  What out there gets in the way of your putting yourself out there more?

Tonight, I’ll be putting myself out there at an Open Mic, as I debut my latest original song, “What are other people thinking about you?” I’ll be putting a keyboard out there on the stage and putting, myself, out another blog post tomorrow with a recording of that performance.

Empathy involves putting ourselves out there into other people’s shoes.  What happens when I put these photos out there?

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I’m putting myself out there to share that in yesterday’s therapy group, we talked about shoulds and transforming unhelpful shoulds like “I should exercise more” into “I could exercise more and I choose to do other things to sustain myself until I feel ready to exercise.”

I’m putting “Putting Yourself Out There” from the movie Eighth Grade out here in this post:

I’m putting myself out there to state that Eighth Grade deserved some Oscar nominations, instead of receiving none, which makes me very put out.

Please consider putting yourself out there in a comment, below.

As usual, I’m putting gratitude out there, for all who helped me put out this post and — of course! — YOU, for putting up with me.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Day 2120: Almost totally natural

It’s almost totally natural for me to

  • create a blog post every morning,
  • talk to every cat I see,
  • sleep less than I’m supposed to,
  • overthink decisions,
  • have too much on my plate,
  • feel unprepared at times,
  • worry about the future,
  • focus on U.S. politics,
  • enjoy living near the ocean despite climate change,
  • say too much,
  • say too little,
  • go the distance,,
  • feel tired on stairs,
  • trip over things,
  • sing,
  • dance,
  • enjoy baseball,
  • notice signs,
  • make messes,
  • be confused by rapid technological change,
  • look at greeting cards,
  • learn from my mistakes,
  • show my feelings,
  • fear that I’m losing or bothering people,
  • be concerned about people I love,
  • try to solve problems,
  • have hope,
  • watch what I eat,
  • laugh,
  • listen,
  • observe,
  • celebrate,
  • apologize,
  • think of others,
  • facilitate groups,
  • make lists, and
  • take photos every day.

 

It’s almost totally natural for me to remind you that you can click on any photo to enlarge it.

I posted one of those photos yesterday on Facebook with the caption “Almost totally natural.”  It’s almost totally natural for me to ask you to guess which photo that is.

When I search YouTube for “almost totally natural” it’s almost totally natural that I found “How to make a $1500 sandwich in only 6 months.”

 

It’s almost totally natural that over four million people have watched that video.

It’s almost totally natural for me to ask for feedback and to look for new ways to thank those who help me create these blog posts and — of course! — YOU.

 

 

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 1868: More than a million of us are hurting.

When I was hurting yesterday, I noticed a sign at my local pharmacy.

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More than a million of us are hurting, every day.

When you are hurting, does it help to know you are not alone and that more than a million of us are hurting?  Or does that  make the hurting worse? Maybe it’s just me, but knowing that more than a million of us are hurting helps AND hurts.

More than a million of us are hurting and sharing photos.

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I may not be happier than a pigeon with a french fry, but maybe I’ll be happier after I try that Kinesiology Tape on my hurting shoulder.

More than a million of us have watched “Jazz for Cows” on YouTube.

More than a million thanks to my friend Eleanor (who recommended I try the Kinesiology Tape),  CVS, cows, cat, birds, jazz, The New Hot 5, everybody else who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — YOU.

 

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 1867: That sucks

When a co-worker mentioned something unfortunate yesterday, I said, “That sucks.” She agreed by saying, “That stinks.”

When you encounter something unfortunate, what do you say?  I’ve also heard people say

  • that bites,
  • that blows,
  • that blows dead rats,
  • that takes the biscuit,
  • that’s unfortunate,
  • that’s awful,
  • that’s terrible,
  • bummer, and
  • I’m sorry to hear that.

No matter what you say, acknowledging unfortunate events does not suck.

People have been saying “that sucks” and other such phrases to me lately because I fell, tore my rotator cuff, can’t take over-the-counter pain relievers (because I’m on the anti-coagulant medicine Coumadin), and am experiencing a lot of pain. Yesterday, an orthopedic doctor advised against surgery (because of my age) and prescribed physical therapy, which would suck without pain medication.

Do any of these photos suck?

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That sucks that nature can’t fix a rotator cuff tear. I wish it could.

That sucks that my singing was a little pitchy last night  when I sang at a social work party.

That sucks that you can’t really hear the chorus:

We work each day

For not much pay

No time to play

But it’s okay.

Is “it’s okay” the opposite of “that sucks”?  I’m trying to get from “that sucks” to “it’s okay” today.

Thanks to all who helped me create this “That sucks” post and to my readers (who do not suck, stink, blow, blow dead rats,  take the biscuit, etc.) including YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 35 Comments

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