Learning to “Try Softer” and Grow in Self-Compassion (Aundi Kolber)

Do you have trouble showing yourself compassion like Jesus does to you?  Are you your greatest critic? Do you feel like you’re being selfish or wasting time and energy to be kind to yourself? Do you live from the template that you’re not enough and you’re unlovable? Do you acknowledge your experiences are valid or do you minimize or numb the pain?

When I first read about a book called Try Softer by Aundi Kolber, I knew I needed to read it, especially when I read:

“I want you to begin to develop a new awareness of your story and your wounds so you can attend to your pain with the same tenderness God does.”

To be honest, I don’t treat myself with the tenderness and compassion God does. Do you?

Aundi Kolber, a trauma therapist, discovered she never really learned how to hold the pain of others without internalizing it, because she had never really processed her own trauma. She just kept white-knuckling her way through, leaving herself exhausted and overwhelmed.

Trying softer means to become more attentive to our bodies, minds, and spirits so we can give each of these parts what it needs to heal. Trying hard to dismiss or deny our trauma will only have detrimental effects to ourselves and others. It’s in acknowledging the reality of our pain and learning to process our stories that we become more of who God designed us to be.

Aundi helps us to understand the complexity of our God-created brains and how God designed our bodies and minds to work together to process our stories. She equips, empowers, and encourages us to connect to our truest self, to move out of anxiety, stress, and survival mode into a life of connection and joy.

“In Try Softer, you’ll learn how to:

  • Know and set emotional and relational boundaries
  • Make sense of the difficult experiences you’ve had
  • Identify your attachment style―and how that affects your relationships today
  • Move through emotions rather than get stuck by them
  • Grow in self-compassion and talk back to your inner critic

Trying softer is sacred work. And while it won’t be perfect or easy, it will be worth it. Because this is what we were made for: a living, breathing, moving, feeling, connected, beautifully incarnational life.”

I’m only into the fourth chapter of this book as I have to take it slowly, so I can process all I’m learning. And sometimes I need to put it aside for a while, because it’s not always easy to discover deep, buried layers that still need more healing. At the same time, I am fascinated by how God has wired our brains to process trauma.

Some of my favorite quotes so far are:

“There are truly times when the best, healthiest, most productive thing we can do is not to try harder, but rather to try softer: to compassionately listen to our needs so we can move through pain – and ultimately life – with more gentleness and resilience.”

“Like the ever-elusive quick fix, ignoring, pretending, or numbing something doesn’t usually resolve our pain.”

“When we deny the reality of our experiences, we don’t become more of who God designed us to be, but less.”

“When I understand why my brain is reacting the way it is, I become empowered to validate the underlying need and then work on changing the situation.”

“We are not defined by our best days or our worst days. We are His beloved.”

“You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in Your bottle.
You have recorded each one in Your book.”
Psalm 56:8
“The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
The Lord is good to all;
He has compassion on all He has made.”
Psalm 145:8-9

He Knows My Name
by The McRaes

How Do You Feel? Back to the Basics of Feelings

I.AM.SAD. There… I admit it. Too often I tell myself that I have no right to be sad. I should be counting my blessings or keep looking for hope sightings. Some say we should be looking for the silver lining in this crisis instead of seeing all the bad in it. That worry or anxiety about what may happen indicates a lack of faith. But these sad feelings inside of me keep multiplying as I see more lives this crisis is hurting in one way or another.

I do believe God does have a plan for good for us, but if we have a turmoil of emotions inside of us, that doesn’t mean we have no faith. God knows our every feeling, He hurts with us, and He never condemns us for any of them.

God has created in each of us a complex brain with all kinds of emotions. Our emotional health is just as important to Him as our physical health is. Stuffing our feelings down inside us and not dealing with them can cause harm to ourselves and others, even unknowingly.

I was not planning to post today as I told God I can’t because too many feelings are overwhelming my mind and my heart. Then yesterday morning, I felt nudged to “get back to the basics of feelings.” I was reminded, too, of how so many years ago when I volunteered at a social service place for children, there was a big chart on the wall with all kinds of feelings on faces. If a child could identify with one of the faces, it would sometimes open the way for him/her to process the why and start talking about it.

I found another relevant resource to help us with feelings through this corona crisis. Denise Daniels has written First Aid for Feelings: A Workbook to Help Kids Cope During the Coronavirus Pandemic. You can download it in either English or Spanish.

Even adults can find help in the sound advice this workbook has to offer. Perhaps many of us need to “get back to the basics of feelings.” We can help children within our families and/or social circles learn to be smart about their feelings and help alleviate their emotional stress, but we have to start with ourselves, don’t we?

God reminded me I need to quit ignoring or stuffing my feelings. So I acknowledged this overwhelming sadness in me and wrote out some specifics of this pandemic that cause me to feel sad. Perhaps I should write specific lists for other feelings, too, like fear, worry, and anxiety.

Sometimes a mixture of emotions overwhelms me, and I can’t even figure out why, so I start to write to God about it. Then the feelings sometimes pour out and I start processing them as I am praying to our God who understands. As I sort out my mess of feelings with Jesus, I also remember He is a Savior who cares about each one. There is not one hurt we have that He hasn’t been through Himself on this earth. Not one tear, whether on our cheek or in our heart, escapes His notice and compassion.

“When Jesus saw Mary’s profound grief
and the moaning and weeping of her companions,
He was deeply moved by their pain
in His spirit and was intensely troubled.
Jesus: Where have you laid his body?
Jews: Come and see, Lord.
As they walked, Jesus wept.”
John 11:34-36 VOICE

P.S. Just as we sometimes need a doctor for physical ailments, we sometimes need a therapist to help us process our pain and emotions. There is no shame in that. Do you need further help?

Crisis Hotlines and Resources

Each of us is unique.
What works for one does not work for another.
What feelings are you experiencing today?
What helps you to acknowledge
them and work through them?

Tears Are a Language God Understands
by Heritage Singers

New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

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“God Of All My Days”
by Casting Crowns

“In my worry, God You are my stillness
In my searching, God You are my answers
In my blindness, God You are my vision
In my bondage, God You are my freedom
In my weakness, God You are my power
You’re the reason that I sing
‘Cause You’re the God of all my days”


Thank You
to anyone and everyone who recommend
links, books, quotes, etc.
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ABCs of Jesus’ Love

Visit this page anytime and let me know if you’d like to add to the words describing Jesus’ love along with a verse supporting it. Remember, there is also a print-out of the original list.

 This month I have added an “S” Word:

❤︎  Saving Love ❤︎
“For God did not send His Son into the world
that He might condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through Him.

John 3:17
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Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂  Many will be from recommendations of online friends. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

Hope When It Hurts by Kristen Wetherell & Sarah Walton

This has been on my wish list for some time, and I finally ordered it. I have only read the first chapter, but I am already loving it.

“Life hurts. We’re no strangers to this fact. It’s why we wrote this book. And not simply because life hurts, but because there’s hope even when it does.

Sarah and I have walked through, and are walking in, difficult times. So these thirty biblical reflections are full of realism about the hurts of life—yet overwhelmingly full of hope about the God who gives life.

We wrote this book for you, to point you to hope, because there’s more to our suffering than meets the eye. This book is about the God who offers hope, even joy, in suffering. It’s a journey through 2 Corinthians 4 and 5, where we see that God wants to give us hope not just beyond our hurts but in our hurts; that he wants us to see how he is able to work in and through suffering and ultimately give us himself.

With a foreword by Nancy Guthrie, Hope When It Hurts contains a biblical reflection for each chapter, along with questions, prayers, and a space for journaling.

We pray this book greatly helps you, as you cling to the God of all hope.”

– Kristen & Sarah

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Hope Harbor

💞  Links That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

💞 They Ask How You Are And You Say Fine But Are You? – “Even though depression affects millions of people throughout the U.S. alone, it’s still difficult for people with depression to talk about it. Sometimes, your friends and family mean well when they ask how you are and you say fine, but are you? Individuals with depression tend to write off their depression, both to other people and to themselves. So, we’d like to explore why that is and why it’s okay to say you’re not fine.” (BetterHelp)

💞 What To Do When Childhood Trauma Holds You Back – “Once you experience childhood trauma, your life is forever changed. Children who are abused or neglected or suffer a major loss may continue to have serious psychological problems even after they are adults. If you find you have difficulty having healthy relationships or being successful at work, it may be childhood trauma that’s holding you back from having the life you want, even if you don’t recognize the signs that you were abused, neglected, or suffered some other kind of trauma. The good news is that you can identify and heal from childhood trauma. When you do, you can move past the trauma and create the life you want most.” (BetterHelp)

💞 You Can’t Rush Grief by Kimberly Key – “‘I’m trying to get to acceptance as soon as I can.’ That was a brush-off line that someone told me one day after their father died. They didn’t want to expound on the feelings they had just shared and said they didn’t want to talk because they were trying to get to acceptance as SOON as they could. I understand it and do the same thing. I don’t want to feel pain or linger in any sadness for too long. I don’t want to feel out of control and am probably afflicted by that same universal fear that lies deep within all of us…what happens if I feel the pain and I can’t come out of it? So my reflex is to take control and move through it. FAST.”

Nature Retreat

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures
from the shelter of compassion and pity,
you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
~ Francis of Assisi

I don’t take many new nature photos during the winter, so I’m always delighted to see and share what my brother, John, from Arizona captures. These are some of his more recent photos: a Chihauhaun Raven, a Crested Caracara, a Great Horned Owl, and a hummingbird in her nest.

🐾 NANPA’s Showcase Gallery 2018 – A variety of breath-taking photos of North American Nature Photography Association’s top 250 showcase images

🐾 3649 God’s Creatures Great and Small – Explore Toni Mayben’s pinterest collection of amazing photos of God’s creatures great and small

🐾 Butterfly Photos  Over 3 million beautiful butterfly photos on Flickr

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Quotes

New quotes this month are about Truth.

❤︎ “Where I found truth, there found I my God, who is the truth itself. – Augustine

❤︎ “The only way to speak the truth is to speak lovingly. – Henry David Thoreau

❤︎ “You were only meant, created, commanded to be who you are.– Shauna Niequist

 

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