Mindfully Enhance Your Empathy

(This article is adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s Affirmations for Empaths: A Year of Guided Journaling and Dr. Ronald Alexander’s Core Creativity: The Mindful Way to Unlock Your Creative Self)

Empathy is when we reach our hearts out to others and put ourselves in their shoes. It also means that we can be happy for others during their times of joy. It enables us to respect one another, even if we disagree.

Choosing empathy over anger and fear generates a profound shift in our relationships, personally and globally. Of course, we are all human. Each of us has our own emotional wounds to heal that, when triggered, can hamper our ability to stay neutral and access our empathy. In addition to proper therapeutic support, affirmations can help you reprogram outdated beliefs and shift your focus.

Affirmations aren’t meant to emotionally bypass difficult feelings or sugar-coat them with inspiring words. They are simply positive statements to center yourself, to counter fears, self-doubt, and negative stories that replay in my mind. Affirmations are repetitive phrases that can go deep into your subconscious and program you to be positive about your abilities.

Here are 4 strategies to help you mindfully empower your affirmations.

Step 1: Make a list of what you’ve always thought of as your negative qualities. When you write out the belief notice if you are holding on to it anywhere in your body. For example, do you feel tightness or dread in your heart or stomach?

Step 2: Now write out an affirmation on the positive aspect of your self-judgment. You may want to use a thesaurus to find more powerful words to beef up your statement.

Step 3: Speak the affirmation out loud for about five minutes at least twice a day. An ideal time to do this is in front of a mirror so you can repeat the affirmation and see yourself.

Step 4: Anchor the affirmation in your body as you are repeating it by placing your hand on the area that felt uncomfortable when you wrote out the negative belief in Step One.     As you work on your affirmations to shift false beliefs and emotions your ease to empathize with others will increase. This ability is not only the key to your happiness but to the world’s happiness, too.

By Judith Orloff, MD, and Ronald Alexander, PhD

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