“A fundamental goal of human development is the emergence of a self-sustaining, self-regulated human being who can live in concert with fellow human beings in a social context. Vital for this healthy development is a relationship with a parent who sees and understands the child’s feelings and can respond with attuned empathy to the child’s emotional cues.”
Dr Gabor Matê, When The Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress

When I read this paragraph, two words caught my attention. Attuned empathy. He goes on to say that children in non-attuned relationships may feel loved but do not experience feeling appreciated for who they really are. It happens easily when the parent is stressed or tuned out for any reason. This leads to only presenting our “acceptable” side. We repress the emotional responses our parents reject and learn to reject ourselves for even having such responses.

This is a fundamental reason emotional neglect is so damaging. It is the origin of not daring to be authentic. The root of denial and suppression. Of disconnection from ourselves and of course from others.

Fast forward. We are now adults. Our past experiences are reflected in our lives today. Now is where we can heal.

Are you empathetically attuned to yourself? Are you too distracted or stressed to turn toward and be present with yourself? Do you feel uncomfortable when you take time to really notice the sensation and energy in your body? Do you drive yourself to get through … this moment, the day, your life?

Breathe out and let  your body soften. Take a few long, sighing exhales and feel your body relax: forehead and eyebrows, mouth and jaw, back of neck and shoulders, upper back, arms and hands, chest and stomach, legs and feet.

Take in abundant nourishing fresh air as you inhale.

Notice your feet on the ground. The palms of your hands. Soften your stomach muscles and let your body move into slow belly breathing.

Bring your attention to witnessing thought, to the area behind the forehead. For a few minutes, watch thoughts come and go. Notice your experience. Is it difficult to stay focused observing thought or do you get lost in a train of thought? This is natural. If it happens, kindly return to observing your body, breath and thought.

This simple practice is one way to attune to yourself in the moment. Come back to it several times a day.

Every day at 8AM Eastern I meet with people online for a free, guided practice of relaxation and breathing. Join us when you can. Tuning in and relaxing is a powerful message to ourselves that we are worth our own attuned empathy. Zoom #645 904 638








Attuned Empathy
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