Even though we might consider ourselves to be empathetic, sometimes how we respond when other people express their fears is dismissive, judgemental and oversteps boundaries. In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I explain we sometimes struggle to respect someone else’s fear and how we can be more empathetic, not just with others but also with ourselves.
5 key topics in this episode
- Even if we don’t fear the same thing, we all have experience of being afraid of something, even irrationally so. To claim we’re not scared of anything is either a lie or we’re saying that the part of our brain that handles fear isn’t fully functioning.
- When somebody expresses their fear, we can ask them (where appropriate) what it is that they think they need. Their answer might surprise us in that it might be workable and boundaried. In other instances, it may be that their answer underscores how incompatible you are or is straight-up inappropropriate.
- So what if we’ve been ‘good’? What the hell has that got to do with the other person’s feelings and their fear? This is where we need to step back and take our ego out of things. If we don’t rein ourselves in, we lack empathy and overstep boundaries–theirs and ours.
- People are allowed to be afraid of something, and that includes us. We don’t need to tell ourselves or others to “buck up” or “grow a pair” or that “It’s not a big deal”, nor do we need to go to the opposite end and agree that it’s the most terrifying thing on earth.
- When we notice ourselves judging ours and other people’s fears, it’s an opportunity to acknowledge what’s coming up for us. What’s the baggage behind it? It’s possible that some of our judgement comes from judging our own fear harshly or having been judged by others. It might be that we have this person on a pedestal or that we thought that we shared lots of similarities and so feel disappointed.
Links mentioned + recommended resources
- The Four Qualities of a Loving Partner (ep 109)
- The Compatibility Factor (ep 209)
- What’s the baggage behind it? (ep 243)
- Are you out of alignment with your values and needs?
- Making things that aren’t about you about you–inverted narcissism (ep 235)
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Are you ready to stop silencing and hiding yourself in an attempt to “please” or protect yourself from others? My new book, The Joy of Saying No: A Simple Plan to Stop People Pleasing, Reclaim Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want (HarperCollins/Harper Horizon), is out now.