KEW Episode 74: Self-Compassion

It’s taken me over a decade of therapy and introspection to arrive at this Episode. I don’t know what took me so long, but ‘getting’ self-compassion has been a real struggle for me. In the past few weeks a few things have clicked.

First, some Miriam-Webster informed verbiage:

Self: ha. dare we even try to define that? Even with the help of the dictionary? Hell, why not (only relevant entries included):

  • 1: an individual’s typical character or behavior
  • 2: the union of elements (such as body, emotions, thoughts, and sensations) that constitute the individuality and identity of a person
  • 4: the entire person of an individual
  • 5: material that is part of an individual organism

Phew.

And, Compassion:

  • : a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc.

And, Pity:

  • : sympathetic sorrow for one suffering, distressed, or unhappy

So Self-Compassion is wanting to help yourself when you are struggling, and Self-Pity is feeling sorry for yourself when you’re unhappy. The first seems legit and kind, the second a bit indulgent.

I spend this Episode sort of figuring out how to apply this difference to myself.

No one wants to be accused of feeling sorry for themselves, and so the danger in self-compassion is that it drifts over into self-pity. And this also gets at what I’ll discuss in Episode 75 and that is, How do you tell the difference?

In this case, one is healthy and one is unhealthy. And we know the difference. If we are being honest.

Anyway, during the latter 2/3 of this Episode I figure out how to apply self-compassion for myself in real-time. I felt a shift from theory to application that I hope will apply to future Episodes. My guess is that after Episode 75 I am going to shift into the Being and Doing phase of the Are vs Should Problem.

I’d say more, but I think you really need to just listen or watch this Episode to see where I go. And truly, I’m still ingesting it myself. I need to watch it again myself to understand exactly what happened.

Thank you for spending some of your time with me and these issues. I hope you are getting something important out of them. Please subscribe, follow, leave me a note, or send me an email. I appreciate your attention.

Full podcast audio here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9633857-kew-episode-74-self-compassion.mp3?download=true

Full YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/Z4qgyz4-Nh8

Preview KEW Episode 74: Self-Compassion

I recently arrived at the conclusion that I needed more self-compassion. I had heard this so many times I figured it must be true. Only I didn’t really know what self-compassion meant. So I started studying up on it.

See, at first I had self-compassion confused with self-PITY. I didn’t want to sit around feeling sorry for myself all the time. Or, maybe it’s because I DID sit around feeling sorry for myself sometimes and didn’t want to admit it. I didn’t want to be associated with someone who feels a lot of self-pity, so I stayed away from self-compassion for fear of going too far.

But I finally discovered Kristen Neff and her book, ‘Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself‘ and her website at self-compassion.org. This was a great start. To say the least. And it helped me understand the difference between pity and compassion (more on that in Friday’s post).

Not that we want to give 100% of the credit for the idea of self-compassion to one person, but Dr. Neff has become the name and the face behind a movement to be kind to ourselves.

So self-compassion is pretty self explanatory. It’s compassion toward yourself. It’s sort of that whole, ‘treat yourself like you would a friend’ thing. It just makes sense.

And it’s the opposite of beating ourselves up – which we all know is a bad thing.

For me, I now try to fill the gap in the pause I have created with the thought that I can choose to not beat myself up – I can choose to be compassionate toward myself instead.

I can’t wait to share this episode with you this Friday.

KEW Episode 69: People Suck at Their Jobs

At the risk of sounding pessimistic or negative I am sharing my thoughts about a topic near and dear to me. More often than no, I believe people suck at their jobs. I don’t think this suckage is always intentional and I do not believe people WANT to suck at their jobs. I am not here to blame individuals for their suckage nor to suggest this is necessarily related to the individuals.

My point here is to suggest that there is a problem with the SYSTEM of employment, work, the market, whatever. The arena ‘out there’ we participate in from multiple sides. We are simultaneously the consumer, the client, the employed, and the employer. We are the consumer and the consumed. We are supply and demand. We are it and it is us. And so the irritatingly slow service we get at a restaurant is as much our fault as anyone involved.

With THAT out of the way let me list a few examples from my personal life that have happened over the past couple of weeks whereI encountered someone sucking at their job:

-the employee at Home Depot who didn’t feel like finding the ‘customer needing assistance in plumbing’ and either didn’t respond to the request or was going to take an hour to reach me

-the drive thru attendant at McDonalds who thought it was appropriate to share their life story (inappropriate level of detail) with me rather than give me my credit card back

-the general contractor who thought it was cool to tell me, repeatedly, he was emailing me a quote but never intended (apparently) to do so even after multiple conversations and texts

-the electrician who thinks ‘next week’ means ‘whenever he feels like it but much longer than two weeks’

-the state employees who contradict each other about the steps to take to renew a passport and where said steps are to occur

-the bank employee who thinks ‘direct deposit’ means ‘mail a check’

-the bank teller who can’t look up my account from my id (standard procedure and preferred), but requires my account number (normal way I do it)

I could go on.

And a lot of these might be related to incompetence. Often the employees’ misbehavior is a result of simply being disgruntled. And mostly I can empathize and even agree with these sentiments. Many of these jobs suck, convey suckage, and perpetuate that message to the client/customer/consumer. I get that.

And sometimes staff are more afraid of their bosses’ reaction than a customers. I get that, too. While I have seen customers be rude, I have seen more bosses to tyrannical. Again, I sympathize.

And more than anything I get that the work conditions, pay rate, hours, and commute inherent to many of these jobs (especially the hourly pay rate) SUCK so bad that it is nearly impossible to convey positivity to the customer.

I get all that – it’s not that I don’t understand WHY the behavior is occurring. No, what amazes me is that it is allowed to perpetuate. I don’t blame the EMPLOYEE, I blame the SYSTEM.

Call me naive, because I am, but I fundamentally believe there is a solution to this, and really almost any, problem. And if you have listened to my Accountability (Episode 68) episode you know where I stand on this issue. So what gets me, when I see an employee act questionably, is why they persist in the SYSTEM.

Because, checks and balances. Adaptive management. RIGHT? Don’t we HAVE these things? Aren’t we sophisticated human beings that put taxpayers in SPACE and drive around with smart phones?

So when I see misbehavior in the market place, I conclude that the SYSTEM is screwed somewhere FAR upstream from the problem I am observing. And I’m right about that. We SEE the symptoms, not the problem.

And SOLUTIONS to these problems also lie upstream. For a start, how about the whole shareholder model? When businesses exist to profit for shareholders, I don’t see solutions to problems related to employees and customers – because THAT’S NOT WHAT THE BUSINESS DOES.

Seriously.

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Preview KEW Episode 69: People Suck at Their Jobs

Do you know what I mean? I’m not trying to sound harsh, because obviously not EVERYONE sucks at their jobs, but I find myself saying this over and over again in my daily life.

It may be the CEO of the famous social media company that can’t seem to tell the truth nor make good decisions about our privacy or his responsibility.

It maybe the doctor with the horrible bedside manner.

It could just be the asshole at the coffee shop who can’t seem to take your order without insulting you or someone else.

Hell, it could just be the person in Home Depot who, rather than help you find what you’re looking for simply tells you, ‘I don’t work in that department.’

At some point in the not-so-distant past you have had an experience with an employee who not only let you down, but left you wondering how they could possibly still have their job. That is what I’m talking about this week.

It’s a real conundrum, because, like Competition (see Episode 6) which is supposed to regulate free markets (but doesn’t, spoiler alert), there are supposed to be checks and balances that reduce the propensity for people to hold jobs when they do them poorly.

Am I right?

How has this system failed so incredulously?

Please enjoy the preview below and return for the full episode this Friday right here at http://www.chrisburcher.com

KEW Episode 68: Accountability

Does this bother you?

You interact with someone at their job, maybe getting a coffee or something. The server is rude, obnoxious, entitled, and unhelpful. Maybe they’re even condescending toward you. You may or may not say anything, but, hey, you want your coffee. Maybe you think about it later, but at some point it occurs to you that they were not good at their job in that moment. Maybe it was an isolated event, maybe it was the norm.

But what gets me, and maybe you, too, is that they were THERE. Which means this WAS an isolated event or their supervisor didn’t notice. In any event, and this is where my mind always goes, the fact that they were still working suggests that there was no ACCOUNTABILITY for their behavior.

Whenever I see someone acting like an asshole I think, “at some point someone was supposed to kick their ass and didn’t’. In other words, people act the way they do because other people ALLOW them to, or ENABLE them.

So one thing accountability does is remove that enabling. It calls people out on their shit.

And that’s the point I’m trying to make with Accountability this week.

Again, from Miriam-Webster:

Accountability: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions

So, yeah, the misbehaving barista? No one was holding them responsible for their actions. Neither you, their supervisor, coworkers, other patrons, nor themselves.

And that just doesn’t work.

I’d argue that one of the main assumptions of any society is Accountability.

Where there is no Accountability, there can be no rules. No norms. No laws. (See Episode 56: Domestication for more on these)

So there is no society with out Accountability, yet we are maybe not doing the best job practicing this obligation.

We are obligated to hold each other AND OURSELVES accountable for our actions – and probably our thoughts, ideas, and other things where they influence other people.

When did we forget this?

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