“The Killer D’s and the Empowering E’s” (Part 3 of 3)

With the practice of these Empowering E’s you have safely arrived on the shore and have escaped the danger of the Killer D’s!

Thanks for reading the Introduction to the Killer D’s and the Empowering E’s (Part 1 of 3) and the definitions of the Killer D’s in (Part 2 of 3).  In this post, we will look at the how words that begin with the letter “E” could offset the counterproductive effects of the Killer D’s, hopefully resulting in healthier thoughts within ourselves and to be experienced and shared in our relationships.

Be gentle with yourself and by all means keep in mind that neither you, nor will anyone begin to produce “the fruit” or manifestation of these words overnight.  You won’t and no one will.  We are not striving for perfection either, however if one of these Empowering E’s does spark a level of curiosity and interest within you, I do encourage you to consult with a safe and trusted other (Your Higher Power, Friend, Therapist, Sponsor, Family member, your own study, etc.) regarding how you could develop, apply and become consistent with the practice of the character value.  Thanks for keeping this in mind.  The Empowering E’s are…

The Empowering E’s

1. Encouragement: Encouragement means “to inspire with courage, spirit or confidence and to stimulate by assistance, approval and to promote, advance or foster.”  Our English word for Encouragement has its roots in the classical Greek word Parakletos.  

Like the English word, Parakletos infers that when we encounter others who are hurt, in pain or in  need of safety, that we try to deliver comforting words, consolation and attempt to provide a reasonable form of  assistance to aid the person as we function in the role of an advocate.

The demonstration of Encouragement in this manner is a major catalyst for personal and relationship healing.  Practically, what are the words that will inspire, console or empower that you are led to convey to another?  Practically, what is the reasonable form of assistance that when rendered, will inspire and empower the person who may be in need of encouragement?

2. Empowerment: Empowerment means a lot of things to a lot of people, but here, it means “to give power or authority to and to enable, permit and authorize, especially by legal or official means.”  In my office, I typically see the effect of Disempowerment, due to one’s self-sabotaging choices or due to being a casualty that accompanies living in an abusive marriage or partnership.

Before moving to our next Empowering E, I’d like to leave you with three points regarding the subject of Empowerment.  The first point is that Empowerment is more readily accessed when as a “Functional Adult” we take responsibility to create a conscious contact with a Higher Power of our own understanding, which is not an easy thing to do. Cultivating a connection with God reminds us that we have intrinsic value, worth, are lovable and helps us to further define what love is and that it is our responsibility to cultivate it for our personal benefit (we’ll get to others in a moment). In this manner Empowerment tends to start “vertically” with our connection with God (or from within ourselves), but seldom does it start “horizontally” or with another, however…

…If you do not have an established relationship with a Higher Power of your own understanding, then you may find it helpful to connect with Encouraging people, who tend to remind us that healthy self-care involves nurturing and growing our soul and spirit, which is not only our right as human beings but is our responsibility as well, especially if we have experienced some bruising to our soul, spirit or ego.  These people remind us that although we may have been a legitimate victim of circumstance, we have the ability to be “response-able” to do something to change our situation and circumstances for the better and immediately.  This is very empowering.

Finally and without surprise, Empowerment “returns and matures” almost instantaneously when we remember that we have choices and we give ourselves permission and the authority to decide to live beyond circumstances that at one time would have crushed us.  Remembering we have a choice to determine what healthy self-love looks like to us, how we will be responsible for developing self-love and how we could negotiate fulfilling our needs with others is also very empowering indeed!

Simply said, Empowerment is creating a conscious contact with your God and though this contact patiently discovering what healthy self-love looks like, giving this love to yourself in abundance and from your abundance, choosing to make deliberate choices regarding how you will share healthy expressions of love to others.  This is an empowered and a great way to live.  What is your first step in cultivating empowerment in your life?  Who would you like to share the fruit of your labor with?

3. Empathy:  From the Greeks, we learn that Empathy (Empatheia), is a compound word, formed from “In” + “Passion or Suffering.” The English word is relatively new, coined by Psychologist Edward Titchener in 1909. Titchener defined Empathy as “projecting yourself into what you observe” and according to Titchener, a key feature of achieving Empathy is by way of Introspection. Introspection is the conscious and purposeful examination and reporting of your own thoughts, feelings, desires, sensations and is a reflection of what is going on in your soul and spirit. Based on these brief descriptions, demonstrating a basic, but informed Empathetic response arises from your…

a) Being able to examine your own thoughts, feelings, desires, to the inner most depth of your soul/spirit,

b) Being able to accurately articulate what you discover regarding your own self-examination and self-observation,

c) Being able to examine, observe and to pick up on the cues of what your spouse is thinking, feeling, desires, even to the inner most depth of his or her soul and spirit,

d) Being able to accurately articulate to your spouse what you discover and observe, especially in the core area of feeling and emotion, as a key component of Empathy is understanding what could be the suffering experience of another,

e) Being able to investigate and seek knowledge and integrate other relevant information from your spouse that helps you to obtain a fuller and more complete picture of his or her feeling (or suffering) suffering experience,

f) Staying patiently engaged in the process, until you accurately deliver Empathy (“Empathize”), with your spouse.

Practically, I describe the process of cultivating Empathy (“In Passion”) as one who is descending down the spiral staircase into the heart and into the emotions (of yourself or another), where valuable puzzle pieces of Truth and Life are thoughtfully retrieved on each step.

Additional “data” is collected, as the descent provides a 360° view of the “walls of the heart” and the “innards” of the person’s experience, which is handled carefully, studied diligently, and honored in dialogue, or any other behavioral response, that communicates “I get it, I am with you and how could I help you to feel better or heal?”   Based on what you learn by engaging in this process, what specific, deliberate and “co-passioned” responses are you led to implement that may facilitate healing?

Finally, Empathy is one of the sweetest yet most challenging of the Empowering E’s to develop.  As you take time to learn about what this looks like within yourself, try to practice what you can, congratulate yourself on doing what you can, and keep striving to grow and apply what you can in this most important area of human and spiritual development.

4. Effort: Effort is “the exertion of physical or mental power, which results in something being done by exertion, hard work and an achievement.”  In my counsel I have visited with men and women who have “MD” (Medical Doctor) behind their name.  To their credit, they have demonstrated great effort, work and sacrificed quite a bit to obtain their degrees and licenses to practice medicine of one form or another.

Unfortunately, when some of the Physicians have struggled with addictive behavior, I’ve come to realize that their “addict” has demonstrated great work and investment to pull off addictive and destructive schemes that have hurt them and others as well.  The challenge to the Physicians (and to all of us) is will our recovery, which includes our primary or familial relationships, be given the same effort, hard work, sacrifice and investment, resulting in the demonstration of healthy and empowered behavior?  If so, then we position ourselves to benefit from “the fruit of our labor” and surely others who are in our presence will benefit from this worthwhile expenditure of our energy and effort as well.

5. Embracing: Embracing means “to take or clasp in the arms, press to the bosom, hug and to take in with the eye or the mind.”  Embracing is empowering because “we take in” new ideas regarding how to live, how to cope with unhealthy circumstances, how to solve problems and how to cultivate healthier relationships.

We also learn to how to take in the fear, pain, hurt or devastation of our spouse or partner (see Empathy above), and subsequently learn to hug them in non-sexual but safe and meaningful ways, which are necessary acts and contributions when relationship repair is needed.  Keep in mind this is a “two-way” street, as any partner (the “offender” or the “offended”) may need to be embraced with safe words, the creation of safe environments and the practice of safe behaviors from us to them, if we wish to facilitate continued vulnerability and intimacy.

6. Eloquence: Eloquence is “the practice or art of using language with fluency, aptness and  having or exercising the power of fluent, forceful and appropriate speech.”  Eloquence is a reflection and a byproduct of saying the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason, with the right tone to generate the “right” solution and the right outcome, for all involved.

Eloquence, which is another skill to develop, involves being able to “speak your truth in love,” which is synonymous with pouring your “heated” thoughts into a container (as one does with hot coffee), then gently handling or sharing your thoughts and feelings to your partner, so that they are able to “take it in” (remember Empathy), versus dousing them with heated emotion.  The latter means they may respond defensively and no, they will not hear the message you would like to convey because they are reacting to the burn.

Eloquence is a precious gift given from one heart to another, seasoned with an important intimacy ingredient called compassion.  Our English word “compassion” originates from the Classical Greek word Splanchnon, which happens to be the medical term for the Viscera, which are your vital organs located in the “trunk” of your body (your heart, lungs, spinal column, intestines, reproductive, etc.).

To the Greeks, the heart was the “seat of all emotions” and if we are attempting to touch the heart of another person (again, think Empathy) by conversing with them, then becoming eloquent will be one of the skills that we try to develop, deliver and become proficient at. Exercising eloquence in our communication means we practice principles of emotional self-awareness to facilitate what Sigmund Freud called “the talking cure.”

7. Emotional Restitution: Emotional restitution is a profound process and set of behaviors that are offered to a person or family when an “offender’s” behavior has brought great hurt, harm and traumatization to anyone in that system.

The behavior of emotional restitution that is rendered to those who were victimized goes far beyond hollow words of apology, but when permitted and/or invited, into consistent, substantive and trustworthy behavior that reflects the offender has taken full responsibility for the wrongs committed and engages in productive processes and behaviors that facilitate psychological and emotional healing in the lives of the “offended.”

Mr. Ken Wells and Dr. Tom Selby are people who have written about Emotional Restitution, and the process developed by Mr. Wells involves the offender demonstrating awareness regarding how and why they engaged in unsafe behavior to the offended, with further explanation and demonstration of safe behavior that evidences the inclusion of productive and prosocial values that again, facilitate healing, repair and when possible, relationship renewal.

This is not an easy bridge to cross or process to implement, especially when a relationship has experienced a magnitude of behavior where safety and trust have been ruptured severely.  As with some of these Empowering E’s, working with a skilled therapist could be very helpful as you endeavor to develop and deliver this specific set of behaviors.

8. Endurance: Endurance is “the act or power of enduring or bearing pain, hardships and demonstrating the ability or strength to continue or last, despite fatigue, stress or other adverse conditions.”

The classical Greek definition of Endurance describes a person who is patient toward things or circumstances and refuses to be defeated, beaten, conquered, or worn out.  In order to accomplish this necessary task, you are encouraged to access activity or experiences that help you to rest and replenish versus become overwhelmed and resigned.

The practice of spiritual disciplines (rest, meditation, solitude, study, journaling, prayer, worship, confession, fellowship, choice, reflection, silence, etc.) are suggested self-care behaviors to help you to experience mental, physical and spiritual “bio-balance,” because the road to recovery that you are on is long and the cultivation and practice of endurance may require these tools.

Finally, Endurance is a sister word to our English word Patience, which means “I am suffering” in Latin (Patiens).  Learning how to “be patient with the patient” while they are recuperating versus taxing and overwhelming their system and yours is a positive outcome that facilitates endurance.

9. Enjoyment: Enjoyment is “the possession, use or occupancy of anything with satisfaction or pleasure.”  Enjoyment is another “bio-balancer” in our lives, as we take responsibility to identify what activities will generate joy, happiness, recreation, meaning, purpose, pleasure, health, connection and love for ourselves.  Although not necessary, enjoyment could be experienced and possibly enhanced when our activity is shared with another person(s) who may equally share our desire to co-create a safe, respectful, fun and mutually beneficial set of experiences in our lives.

Often enjoyment is “found” or experienced by our engagement in the simple and possibly mundane activity where we have paused to take in the wonder and significance related to the person or the activity.

I have found that the practice of my spiritual disciplines helps me to not only grow spiritually, but often serves to be a catalyst for me to experience Enjoyment and her valued sister, Gratitude.  Although Enjoyment is better experienced when we are “present” and involved in activity in the moment, enjoyment also helps us to look beyond our current set circumstances where we may be experiencing anything but joy. Any ideas to come to mind that could help you to facilitate enjoyment beyond your current set of circumstances?

10. Enhancement:  Enhancement means “to raise to a higher degree, intensify, magnify and to raise the value or price of.” In light of this definition, if you are producing good, practical and healthy behaviors that support your personal and relational growth, then by all means don’t fix something that isn’t broke!

However, in light of “living in consultation with others,” where might you “step it up a notch” and engage in behavior that enhances the quality of your life and marriage?  Enhancement in your life and marriage does not need to be draped in complexity, but in simplicity.  What do I mean by this?  Let me explain and finish out this “Empowering E” with the last paragraph from my workbook “Cultivating Love: When Secrets Surface”:

“Finally, on a personal but also professional note, I have realized that if I can align with my God to produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, along with behaviors that produce esteem, cherishing, respect, favor, honor, acceptance, prizing, relishing and devotion in the seven core areas of my life, then I can cultivate and produce love. This is my job description for the remainder of my days. What does your job description look like, which reflects the accurate placement of your passion and purpose? My hope is that as you renew your mind, you too will cultivate a lot of love.”

As mentioned above, what is in your “job description” that you would like to focus on enhancing, over the short-term, long-term and possibly for the rest of your life? I’m sure you and the recipients of your behaviors will feel empowered in light of your responses!

11. Enthusiasm: Enthusiasm means “absorbing or controlling possession of the mind by any interest or pursuit.”  I have a question:  If at one time, you were lost, but now you are found, if at one time you were blind, but now you see, what feelings do you have in light of this reality? Reflecting on Killer D #17, Disease, among other things, our Disease robbed us of energy and was a reflection of us having our passion and our energy misplaced. One of the gifts of our recovery is not only a restoration of energy, but the opportunity to accurately place our passion with people and processes that we determine are important and valuable to us.

One such expression of my recovery comes from working Step 10 of the Twelve Steps.  Step 10 reminds me to “Continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong to promptly admit it.”  One of the gifts that personally comes from working and living by this step is that I try to live my life by looking in my mirror, and take my inventory, and to try to change the only person that I can.  If I forget this, then I could lapse into the old behavior of living my life as if I am looking through a “see-through mirror,” constantly taking the inventory of others, which could lead me to become a collector of injustices.  What a terrible misplacement and misuse of my passion and my energy!  I get this today!

A related and practical gift of recovery comes from an analogy that I will convey with a couple in my office, when the opportunity warrants.  If they have allowed conflict to linger unresolved for 24, 48, or 72 hours or longer, I will ask them “when you realize your infant has a soiled diaper, how long does it take you to change it?”  As you can guess, both respond “immediately.” The parallel is then drawn to encourage them to engage in the same loving behavior with each other, to promptly clean up their, er, “situation,” for the benefit of their marriage as they lovingly do without prompting for their child.  To not change the soiled diaper within a timely fashion is a form of neglect, which is a form of abuse, and recovery, in the spirit of Step 10, encourages us to promptly and enthusiastically correct our errors in a timely fashion.

So the question is as a result of your recovery what tools are in your tool belt and will you promptly, deliberately and enthusiastically use those tools for the betterment of all involved?  When you look in the mirror, what are you challenged to change?  Have you given up looking through the “see through” mirror?  What “clean up on Aisle 9” have you been avoiding and needs to be addressed immediately?  Empowerment and serenity could be just a decision away.

12. Entrustment:  Entrustment means “to charge or invest with a trust or responsibility.” I have counseled through the years that trust and trustworthiness is composed of the following “ingredients”: behavior that is consistent, predictable, reliable and dependable.

Practically, the demonstration of Entrustment helps one or both of you to heal because you follow-up and do that which you have said you were going to do.  You realize that the “seemingly insignificant” decisions really are significant, and in light of commitments made, you hold yourself accountable to demonstrate healthy and trustworthy behavior just as you may “expect” your spouse to hold himself or herself accountable for producing positive and trustworthy behavior as well.

Simply said, if you wish to restore trust in your relationship and be considered trustworthy, then I encourage you to follow through and do what you said you were going to do.  Keeping your commitments, no matter how big or small is the difference between depositing real money versus Monopoly money into the relationship bank.

13. Equality:  Equality is “the state or quality of being equal, in quantity, degree, rank, value or ability.”

In my work as a Psychotherapist I have adapted and developed a triangle that promotes health, equality and empowerment in relationships and I call it the “Equality/Empowerment Triangle.”

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What follows is a brief description of how I conceptualize the use of the triangle in my practice and how it could be beneficial to you as you work toward establishing healthy communication and healthy behavioral outcomes in your own life and certainly in your relationships:

The Equality/Empowerment Triangle was developed by Dr. Ken McGill, to assist people to take personal responsibility for their choices, engage in problem solving conversation/activity and to exchange dysfunctional and “losing” relational strategies for healthy, functional and self-empowering experiences.

When people take personal responsibility for their self and their behavior and allow others to do the same, then both have moved to the Equality/Empowerment Triangle (from the Karpman Triangle). The constructive outcomes from being on the Equality/Empowerment Triangle are:

a) The Collaborators use their energy to become conscious of their character and the impact of their behavior upon (each) others, and implement negotiated amends and changes as a result of their dialogue with each other.

b) The Collaborators maintain healthy boundaries with their thoughts, emotions and their behavior, while respecting their self and others in the process. Communicating and “Colaborating” in this “Functional Adult ego state” is empowering. Key components of operating in this ego state are (a) Learning to become a Safe Person who (b) Engages in “reconciliation” (defined as laying aside wrathful behavior and imparting peaceful behavior).

c) The participants solve their problems, by taking ownership and responsibility for their choices, and they deal honestly with each other about their emotions, their needs, their experience(s), their expectations and their outcomes.

Empowerment occurs when both participants take equal responsibility to look at issues and posit with each other doable options that could facilitate problem resolution versus continued chaos.  What changes do you see yourself making in light of this Empowering E?

14. Esteem:  Esteem means “to regard highly or favorably, with respect or admiration and to have a high opinion or judgment, valuation or estimation about a person.”

Another definition that I have come across for the word Esteem (Hasab – a Hebraic term) implies that we are to use our thinking to (a) become skilled in our art, and (b) to develop clever military inventions to protect those around us.  The word is used in the Bible, in 2 Chronicles 26:14-15.

As you read this passage, you see that King Uzziah used his skill and his thinking to create and devise ways to protect the people that he led, he loved and he served. Said another way, if “a man’s home is his castle,” then Uzziah, and for any person who wishes to demonstrate esteem to the inhabitants in the castle (i.e., your spouse and children), you are encouraged to use your mind energy and your resources to strategize how you could defeat any Enemy that would want to war against you (i.e., the Killer D’s, especially when the “enemy” resides between our ears).

Practically, to deliver Esteem to yourself and to your family means you devise winning strategies to protect them and make them feel safe. What specific behaviors come to mind that need to change immediately, in the short-term as well as for the long-term, that would help you and them to feel safe, secure and protected? What boundaries do you implement? What behaviors do you eliminate, because they create pain and trauma, versus safety and connection?

What character values do you develop and integrate, based on what your partner has identified as important, necessary and edifying? Remember, the Killer D’s want to steal from you, kill you, and destroy you and your relationships. How will you defend against this literal and spiritual reality?

No one has to prompt you to protect your family from an unwanted intruder who endeavors to do harm to you and your family. However, if the saboteur is you, and you are sabotaging your own effectiveness, what skilled, planned and strategic behavior do you develop and implement to produce purposeful outcomes?

When you identify then implement the changes, I don’t know of any person who would not feel loved and esteemed if you used your skills and energy in this manner.

Esteem building, per this definition, means to develop specific, practical and life-giving behaviors, at home, in the workplace and in the public, that demonstrate you are becoming skilled at protecting your self and others on a daily basis from the devastating effects of addiction or any dysfunctional behavior.

So what would the practical application of delivering esteem look like to you and your spouse, as both of you consider the needs you both have?

15. Examination: Examination means “to inspect or scrutinize carefully and to observe, test or investigate, especially in order to evaluate general health or determine the cause of illness.”

When we think about engaging in the process of examination, the intent is to use our skills to acquire knowledge to assess what may be problematic and what behavior may render the appropriate solution to the problem.  This formula tends to work well with men, as we wish to use knowledge to determine problems then “fix it quickly.”  This formula may not work so well with women, who I don’t presume to speak for.

Often for women, listening, relating, validating, empathizing, acknowledging and caring may be the “formula” or more appropriately, the ingredients that when used, are more likely to lead to relationship repair if there is a problem, or get this, even if there is no problem. The use of skills that helps men and women to Know the Truth (Part 1Part 2 and Part 3) are what will make the “examination” process useful, productive and a win-win for all involved (to counter the practice of Killer D’s like Dismissal, Defensiveness and Discounting).

16. Everlasting:  Everlasting means “continuing for a long time, indefinitely and constantly recurring.”  What is inferred here is the engagement in and production of healthy behaviors that are neither brief nor short in duration, nor hasty or reactive, but are behaviors that are lasting, enduring, permanent and yield stability, especially when it comes to creating stability within the primary relationship.

What I’d like to suggest here is the identification of healthy and functional values that both of you could “cultivate” and practice over multiple seasons in your life and marriage, based on the needs each of you have at any given stage of your relationship.  Some “very valuable characteristics” which if cultivated year in and year out could be love, deference, peace, safety, commitment, mercy, empathy, kindness, self-control, amends, willingness, care, truth, etc.

What values come to mind that you would like to plant, cultivate, develop, protect, “reap” and be strengthened by, because the constant recurrence of the value would prove to be mutually beneficial and empowering for all involved?

17. Extraordinary: Extraordinary means “beyond what is usual, ordinary, regular or established and is noteworthy, remarkable and exceptional in character, amount, extent and degree.”  For me, there is a particular word comes up that defines and facilitates an extraordinary response, and that word is Devotion.  Our English word Devotion is better explained by two classical Greek terms (Kun and Scholazo).

The definition of the word Kun encourages you to be ready, prepared, firm, steadfast, faithful, reliable and certain. Kun also speaks to a person working to bring something into existence (i.e., a meal or your spiritual growth) and describes the actual preparation for that event. Kun is also the personal satisfaction that a person receives when they know that their heart is devoted to God, and God is directing his or her path in life.

When you pronounce Scholazo, you may hear the English words Scholar and School, which originate from the word. Scholazo means to devote oneself to something, a task or a process. A scholar is a person who is highly educated or has an aptitude for study and as a reflection of his or her devotion is recognized as a specialist in a given branch of knowledge.

Taken together these words describe Devotion as a disciplined, rigorous and involved process of personal learning and preparation, in order for you to create, implement and measure healthy relationship building behaviors that gives you distinguishable credibility upon implementation or completion. When others observe the outcome of your work that represents your devotion, the “WOW,” factor is probably the first thing that comes to their mind and the first words that roll off of their lips.

Practically and simply, we are talking about you giving your very best effort at discovering and then repairing that which caused problems, addiction, trauma and devastation in your life and in your marriage, which is no small task.  Also, we are talking about you giving your best and dare I say an extraordinary effort in your relationship repair/rebuilding process if you wish to achieve something that is substantive, reflects quality, is credible and that you will feel good and proud about.

Remember, doing extraordinary work does not mean that you are working to deliver perfection.  However, it does mean that you are working to deliver behavior that not only repairs and rebuilds, but leaves the other person thinking and saying “WOW” about your effort and your contribution. Think of the old adage, “anything worth having is worth working hard for” especially if we are talking about a relationship or a marriage.

Your extraordinary expression of devotion to yourself and to each other will require thoughtful and intelligent investments over a long period of time, in order to yield a worthwhile return. The beauty though is that investments in empowerment and love will yield fruit that last a lifetime, perhaps, even an eternity. What extraordinary behavioral changes that reflect devotion are you led to develop and implement?

18. Extinguish: Extinguish means “to put out (a fire, light, flame, etc.) of something burning or lit, or to put an end to, or bring to an end.”  When it comes to addictive behavior, I have encouraged people to give their self permission to “extinguish the birthday candle with a water cannon.” What I mean by this is that they will want to be sure that they have extinguished addictive triggers when they are “small” versus allowing them to remain lit, which can instantaneously combust into a dangerous fire of unwanted activity (slips or possibly of relapse) for them and for others who may be in their vicinity.

The same is true with the Killer D’s.  As you have read in Part Two, there is nothing good that can possibly occur when you are swimming in the vicinity of a shark.  The sheer presence of the animal evokes fear and probably terror.  Allowing Killer D’s to remain “ignited” in the mind or within the relationship puts conversation, conflict intimacy, affect intimacy, genital intimacy, emotional intimacy, spiritual intimacy and intellectual intimacy at risk immediately. They need to be “extinguished” immediately.  Interestingly, the practice of the appropriate (or sometimes any of the) Empowering E’s could extinguish the Killer D’s immediately.  You may ask how can this be?  Take a look at the next word, Expiation.

19. Expiation: Expiation means “to atone for and make amends or reparation for one’s crimes.”  Expiation is closely related to Empowering E #7, Emotional Restitution.  The difference is with expiation, the “appropriate sacrifice or offering” is given in order to facilitate or create atonement or to become “at-one” or unified again with the person who has been harmed.

Expiation is closely related to another classical Greek work Katallaso,  from which we receive our English word Reconciliation.  Reconciliation simply means “to lay aside wrathful behavior and impart peaceful behavior.”  It is a synonymous act; when we are engaging in the development of behavior that generates peace, then we have laid aside behavior that is harmful to our relationship.  A parallel explanation is drawn with anxiety and relaxation; you cannot be anxious and relaxed at the same time.

With the practice of Expiation that leads to reconciliation, what is the wrathful behavior that your insight, Higher Power, counsel, your conscience and your spouse/partner has asked you to lay aside, so that you can use the best of your energy to cultivate peaceful behavior?  More than likely, we all feel better about ourselves and our relationships when we do the right thing, the next right thing.  Practicing the appropriate Empowering E behavior is likely to be the next right thing to do.

20. Edification:  Edification is “the process of instruct or benefit, especially morally or spiritually which uplifts.”  As with most of these Empowering E’s, the behavior(s) begin in us and with us and when “matured,” we pass along healthy and edifying behaviors to others from our abundance.  Seen in this manner, what behavior or process are you consistently engaged in that results in you being morally or spiritually strengthened and/or uplifted?

With our bodies, we are generally encouraged to consume 3 – 5 small balanced meals daily, then to drink water that is equivalent to 1/2 our body weight in ounces.  At a basic level, this helps us to maintain a bio-balanced lifestyle.

When it comes to edifying ourselves in the 7 Core areas, the parallel principle of being bio-balanced applies here as well.  How consistent are you in your process of “feeding yourself,” that is, giving yourself the spiritual, psychological, physical, social, relational, environmental and sexual nutrients/nutrition that will sustain you on your daily journey?

Your equilibrium and more than likely your personal success with meeting your resolves depends on this this principle.  Equally, it will be difficult to give abundantly to those you care about if you may not be spiritually or psychologically “fit” and teetering on burn out.  Make sure that you take care of yourself so you are able to provide to others reasonably and responsibly.  Your self-care is a great gift to yourself and to others.

Thank you again for your consideration of these “Empowering E’s.”  With the practice of these Empowering E’s you have safely arrived on the shore and have escaped the danger of the Killer D’s!  Remember, your growth in, and demonstration of any of these behaviors is sure to inspire, enliven and enrich your life and within reason, the lives of others.

It is said that if each of us does our job of keeping our side of the street clean, then we will create a very nice neighborhood for all of the inhabitants therein.  The practice of these Empowering E’s are intended to help you to love yourself, then hopefully to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  I wish you the very best in your development and practice of these empowering behaviors.

Please retweet of pass this post along to others if you think it would interest them, and please visit Daily Bread for Life by Dr McGill for other helpful information about personal growth.”


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