Weekend Coffee Share | Compassion

Weekend Coffee ShareIf we were having coffee this weekend I’d ask you whether you think our world could use more compassion.

I certainly do. 

I’m amazed by daily reports of abuse and neglect, particularly against the most vulnerable in our societies. 

Compassion is feeling sympathy for someone who is stricken by misfortune with a desire to alleviate the suffering.

Regardless of whether that person is you or someone else, three things are necessary for compassion:

  1. You must recognize the suffering
  2. You must feel moved and want to help
  3. You realize the common humanity in suffering

Recognize suffering

It’s easy to recognize suffering if there are outward signs, but many people hide their anguish for a variety of reasons.

And sometimes we don’t recognize it in ourselves, either. We often confuse sadness and anger when they can be one and the same. 

This was something I discovered after enduring a long-term, verbally abusive marriage. I was extremely angry at the way my spouse treated me, but didn’t realize the feelings of outrage were interlaced with great sadness. 

With some therapy and a lot of helpful books, I was able to develop a better awareness of my own feelings and how they dictated my behavior. I learned about Emotional Intelligence (EI), which is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships carefully with insight and sensitivity.

It’s taken a lot of self-reflection and work, but I score much better today on EI measurements. Also known as emotional quotient (EQ), Justin Bariso, author of EQ Applied, researched for two years what emotional intelligence looks like. He composed a list of 13 signs of high EI. It’s an easy read in case you’re wondering how many you possess.

Feel empathy

This is easy for me when it comes to other people. I’ve always been empathetic and sometimes to my own detriment. This is a hallmark of codependence; putting other people’s needs first because you feel sorry for them. But, what about yourself?

Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that showing empathy to ourselves is a sign of good mental health. Instead, I’d listen to my inner critic, which is always quick to point out weaknesses and failures. Compassion was something I saved for others, not realizing how much I needed it, myself.

Once I began to practice self-compassion I found a sense of peace. A calm mind allows for thoughts and feelings to flow freely with a clarity that doesn’t hide or distort the truth.

Self Compassion 2

Realize normal vs undue suffering

This one is a bit more complicated. Yes, everyone suffers at times. But, at the hands of an abuser, you mistakenly think that you deserve the pain; that you’ve done something to warrant the criticism and put-downs. Essentially, I could look at other abused people and feel sorry for them, but not myself. 

It’s a strange concept now that I’ve healed from those years of malicious treatment. If only I had cared for myself back then the way that I do today. I would’ve salvaged so much time and self-esteem. However, I’m grateful that I got out of that toxic environment with a much better appreciation for myself.

I still have moments where I doubt my abilities. But, I recognize this as a human condition that everyone feels at times. 

The difference now is that I’m aware when those feelings strike. I’ve learned to counter the fear and doubt by using positive self-talk.  

I’ve learned to treat myself the way that I’d treat a loved one; with care and compassion. I focus on my strengths and allow for the weaknesses. If I fail at something I encourage myself to try again. 

Because of all that I’ve learned, I’m able to be my own best friend. And that helps me be a better friend to others! 

Revised & reposted from 2017

Seven Easy Ways To Spot Fake People

Fake ButterFake people are like fake butter. They may look like the real thing on the surface, but a closer inspection reveals that they don’t “taste” right.

Can you recognize it when you meet them? Being aware of what characteristics to look for will prevent both headaches and heartaches later on.

Do you sometimes feel like your own words and actions are less than genuine? Under certain circumstances we all say and do things that are less than truthful. (No, your butt doesn’t look huge in those leopard print, spandex pants that you love so much.)

But, there’s a difference between people who consistently put up a false front or lie and those who do it occasionally. The latter is often trying to avoid hurt feelings and keep the peace.

The following characteristics are common to folks that disguise their true selves. It’s not an all-inclusive list, but gives you an idea of who we’re talking about. If you notice these traits on a regular basis, then you’re probably dealing with a straight up phony person!

No Self-Reflection 

Authenticity requires knowing who you really are on a much deeper level than what is visible to others. This is only achieved through honest self-reflection that addresses the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’re all human and we possess some of each. Being aware of our weaknesses (as well as our strengths) and being able to acknowledge them keeps us honest. People unable to do this are either constantly stressed out trying to attain perfection or mistakenly believe they’ve already achieved it. Perfection is an impossible goal that no one reaches; better to consistently look for ways to learn and improve.

No Transparency

Genuine people exude self-confidence and are unashamed of their mistakes. They have the courage to be sincere about their flaws and this makes them effective leaders. Fake people tend to be followers who are sensitive to criticism, easily threatened, and offended. They’re determined to convince others of their point of view. This is the marker of their insecure self-concept. When they make a mistake they’ll often try to blame someone or something else. This dishonesty varies depending on how insecure the phony person is.

Ulterior Motives

While it’s perfectly normal to have goals and aspirations, fake people are extremely self-centered. An agenda of gratifying their own needs and desires come before all others. They aren’t willing to make sacrifices for the common good unless there’s something in it for them as individuals. They are basically selfish and the pain they inflict on others is justified in their own minds. Authentic people often devote their time and energy towards projects that help others without expecting accolades. 


Despite the fact that fake people can’t accept their own imperfections, they are quick to judge others. Their feelings of unwarranted superiority enable them to easily criticize those around them. Honest people realize their faults and know that mistakes are opportunities to learn. They recognize that everyone is human (including themselves) and are willing to grow and help others do the same.

Lacks Empathy

To feel empathy depends on one’s ability to put themselves in another person’s situation. The Native Americans described this in their well-known proverb:

“Never judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their moccasins.”

Fake people, whose focus is always on themselves and how a situation relates to them, doesn’t possess this insight. A lack of empathy directly correlates with being judgemental. Genuine people routinely consider how their actions will affect other people and make their choices accordingly.


Real people are open to different ideas and eager to listen and hear another’s viewpoint.

Disingenuous folks tend to be set in their ways, which breeds intolerance and ignorance. They prefer to do things the familiar way rather than risk looking less than perfect by trying to learn something new. And there’s a distinct difference between listening and hearing. You can listen to someone without ever truly hearing them. Knowing that difference and the value of active listening is something sincere people understand.

No Listening Skills

Genuine people are interested in the truth even when it hurts. They are willing to consider other viewpoints despite being contradictory to their own. Their goal is to learn and develop in positive ways. Fake people are consumed with keeping up their carefully crafted image. Being vulnerable requires courage and inner strength, which they don’t have. They’re not interested in hearing any messages that oppose their position and this correlates with being closed-minded.

Okay, so maybe you’re vegan or have a medical condition that prevents you from enjoying real butter.

However, when it comes to people you’ll be a lot healthier if you limit your exposure to the cheap imitations. Authentic folks encourage us to be our best selves even when that’s not easy. Even when it takes a lot of time, energy, and involves personal sacrifice.

My father-in-law had a favorite saying:

“It’s hard to soar with the eagles when you’re flying with the pigeons.”

That can apply to different scenarios. In his case he recited it often to four teenagers, encouraging them to choose their friends wisely.

But, the adage holds the same wisdom for adults: we should surround ourselves with people who have earned our admiration and respect. Overall, we’ll be happier and our own chances for growth and success are much greater. 






Why Should You Believe In and Help the Refugee Crisis?

“We take in so few refugees worldwide. We resettle less than 0.1 percent. That 0.1 percent benefits us more than them. It dumbfounds me how the word “refugee” is considered something to be dirty, something to be ashamed of. They have nothing to be ashamed of.

We have seen advances in every aspect of our lives — except our humanity. There are 65.3 million people who have been forced out of their homes because of war — the largest number in history. We are the ones who should be ashamed.” ~Luma Mufleh


“Nothing in life is to be feared.  It is only to be understood.”  ~Marie Curie