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When my Mom was ageing, there came a time when she was unable to follow conversation with true empathy. She wanted to know what was going on in my life but really did not have the capacity to make suggestions, connect with the story or, frankly, understand what I was talking about. Her pat answer became “Never mind, it will all work out.”

Before I realized she was losing capacity, the phrase used to piss me off. I’ve just told her my life is falling apart and I don’t know what to do and she says, “Never mind, it will all work out!?!?!?” What I heard was “Stop talking now.” “I’m bored.” “I don’t want to help you sort this out.” Yet she constantly asked me what was going on for me and became wounded if I didn’t share.
Comparing notes with my siblings, we came to realize she said it to all of us and that it was becoming all she knew how to say. That the final stages of aging are a kind of shutting down, narrowing, and she certainly meant no harm by it. …

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Validation is to Approval as Empathy is to Sympathy

Have you ever had the experience of having a deadline — a paper to finish for school or a project on a deadline at work, and you suddenly feel inspired to clean out your fridge, do your laundry, go to the dentist, maybe? You know the feeling. Where what is in front of you to do feels like a huge hill to climb and activities you normally don’t care for suddenly feel appealing.

You’ve got a goal getting in your way. And if you’ve had this thing you are struggling with as something you need to do for a long time, you’ve had a goal getting in your way for just as long. …


kate doran

Kate believes growth lies in what we tell ourselves is true. Find more posts at kathleendoran.com and insideoutdecluttering.com. Check out auntyanxiety podcast

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