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Braving intimacy

Intimacy is a series of steps, a sometimes timid momentum that helps define who we are and what we most fear. Choices that shine light on the walls surrounding each one of us.

That gap between “too much” and not enough. A hesitant share. The pause before an extended hand. Gentle questions to better understand.

Of course there are risks. But the best things in life happen because of these leaps

The power of friendship

“Sometimes I feel that society likes to trick us into thinking that we cannot, or have no interest in, getting along, working together, and standing in support of one another.”

Alexandra Elle

Relationships are important. Now more than ever before.

By encouraging those around us, we can set the bar even higher for ourselves.

Examples for inspiration

Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe

At a show in Colorado, Marilyn Monroe saw Ella Fitzgerald turned away from the main entrance. She then refused to go inside until both were allowed through the front doors.

Shrinkhala Khatiwada and Maggie Doyne 

Nepal’s beauty queen advocate and CNN Hero recently collaborated to provide care and support for workers returning to Nepal.

Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez 

“She’s encouraged me when I’ve had nothing to be encouraged about,” Selena Gomez has said about Taylor Swift. The songstresses have supported each other for over a decade.

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan and Mindy Kaling

“You famously auditioned with 15,000 other young women… What stuck out about you was there’s an authenticity about your performance… yours was just completely authentic,” Mindy Kaling gushed.

Basetsana Kumalo and Pearl Thusi

“She gave me my first laptop. Helped me bury my grandmother. Held my hand as I became a mother.” Pearl Thusi’s recognition of Basetsana Kumalo could make you cry.

Meryl Streep and Patricia Arquette

Patty Arquette wins an Oscar, uses her acceptance speech to talk about wage equality, Meryl Streep enthusiastically hollered support.

Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga

“i met a woman who knew pain the same way i did… who cried as much as i did, drank as much wine as i did, ate as much pasta as i did and who’s heart was bigger than her whole body. she immediately felt like a sister to me.” Ariana gushed for Lady Gaga.

Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King

Friends since 1976, this duo continues to defend and cheer each other on. “We have talked about everything and nothing,” says Gayle King. “I’ve been to five therapists…Nobody has been a better therapist than Oprah!”

Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus 

Since 2009, Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus have exchanged consistent praise.

Gloria Steinem and Marlo Thomas

The story of the first meeting between Gloria Steinem and Marlo Thomas is legendary, and their fierce friendship has remained powerful and strong ever since.

Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan

Helen Keller was 19 months old when she lost her eyesight and hearing. 20-year-old Ann Sullivan became her teacher. The rest is history.

Tracee Ellis Ross and Samira Nasr

“…she is not a shapeshifter, changing her point of view with the times, but has a clarity and continuity of vision built from life experience, impeccable taste, a hunger for knowledge, and a love of people,” says Tracee Ellis Ross of friend Samira Nasr.

Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert

From sports rivals to supportive allies, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert built mutual admiration through sport and have shared commendable leadership, grace, and friendship.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

“Weirdly, I remember thinking, ‘My friend is here! My friend is here!’ Even though things had been going great for me at the show, with Amy there, I felt less alone.” Tina Fey’s friendship with Amy Poehler is one for the books.

Women in U.K. Parliament and Meghan Markle

“We share an understanding of the abuse and intimidation which is now so often used as a means of disparaging women from getting on with our very important work.” Women of U.K. Parliament issued a strong statement in support of Meghan Markle.

Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett

“She said, ‘Kid, if you ever need me for anything, give me a call.'” Lucille Ball helped Carol Burnett break into the industry.

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton

These two powerhouses united to campaign for women’s rights, combining Stanton’s speech writing prowess and Anthony’s vocal platform.

Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox

The hashtag should suffice: #WomenSupportingWomen.

Eleanor Roosevelt and Pauli Murray

Eleanor Roosevelt and Pauli Murray exchanged hundreds of letters throughout their friendship, uniting over debate and civic cause. Roosevelt notably wrote about her “firebrand” friend in the Feb 1953 issue of Ebony, years before the Civil Rights Movement.

Beyonce and Michelle Obama

“Every time I see her, she inspires me, she empowers me, she encourages me,” says Beyonce of Michelle Obama.

Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts

The friendship between Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts spans ALMOST 40 YEARS. Talk about #goals.

Have examples of your own? Tweet me @redheadlefthand.

You can teach one thing. What is it?

This question is a favorite at dinners. My answer is always the same: Empathy.

“Empathic connection is an understanding of the heart in which we see the beauty in the other person, the divine energy in the other person, the life that’s alive in them.” —Marshall Rosenberg

What is empathy?

Now, more than ever, empathy is an essential teaching. Empathy is:

  • The capacity to consider another’s perspective
  • Learning about another’s worldview to better understand their behavior and intentions
  • Recognizing perspectives and experiences different from your own
  • Trying to minimize the distance between self and other
  • Choosing to “put yourself in their shoes”
  • A prelude to compassion
  • Essential for collaboration, understanding, effective discussions, and conflict resolution

It is our duty to find ways to listen, to converse, and to respond in ways that are respectful of the person sitting across from us. Trouble begins when we are unable to see us in them.

What do you need to practice empathy?

Empathy is NOT sympathy or pity.

We need empathy. We need it in our schools, our relationships, our governments, our businesses. The ability to connect reminds us of our shared humanity. Empathy requires:

  • Self awareness
  • Confidence
  • Openness
  • The ability to listen
  • Communication skills
  • Patience

When empathy is involved, relationships can flourish. Conversations become more meaningful, and solutions focus on what really matters.

Empathic intention influences those around us.

How can you bring empathy into your daily interactions?

Modified from original post Empathy 101.

Leading isn’t a grandiose gesture

The smallest actions can have the greatest impact. Lead by example may sound trite, but it’s true.

Trying to encourage others to follow a set path? The way you act and exist in the world either endears others to you or creates boundaries between who you say you are and the goals you hope to achieve.

The small, daily actions are the most difficult. Yet these “little things” can also be the most rewarding:

A pause before a response.

Treating others with respect.

Making breakfast for a loved one.

Creating platforms for others to succeed.

This is how you show leadership. Day in and day out, through actions and words.

Want to change your life? Change your conversations

If you’re searching for change, one of the easiest things you can do RIGHT NOW is to evaluate the conversations you are having. Chances are they can use some editing.

  • What are you talking about?
  • What topics keep repeating?
  • Who is involved?

Monitor your conversations, both online and off, then prioritize the kind of world you want to live in:

Creation, not lack
Goals, not complaint
Care, not brokenness
Change, not stuckness

The best conversations will be rooted in the question Who do I want to become? These conversations can help you reach goals and dive into deeper levels of living.

First you must find people with similar goals. These are the people you want to spend time with: People who are equally invested in exploration, growth, process, and evolution. Don’t tolerate negativity. Those people who can’t seem to stop talking about others? Refuse to participate. Change topics. Don’t entertain abusive, destructive, or derogatory remarks. 

If you can’t find positive people, make adjustments. Be intentional. Use online resources and set boundaries. Time limits can also be helpful.

Think of your conversations as currency. Meetings, phone calls, chats, emails, even text messages. Be strategic about the way in which you invest.

Fight fire with water

Stop fighting and relax. Instead of trying to confront obstacles head on, look for ease. Can you infuse confrontations with love? Bring fluidity into challenging situations? Maybe you feel stuck. Sometimes desired outcomes happen as a result of less effort, not more.

When you’re feeling the heat at work or at home, weave cool and refreshing resources into the mix. More fire just adds more flames.