Ruthless Compassion: An Interview with Dr. Marcia Sirota – The Affirmation Spot for Friday March 5, 2010

Today’s Affirmation:

Today I am just me; no masks and no excuses. Simply me!

One of the goals of this blog is to expose readers to some of the great thinkers and practitioners in the worlds of motivation, self-help, and personal development. Today I am pleased share an interview with Dr. Marcia Sirota MD FRCP (C).

Dr. Sirota is an author, speaker, and founder of the Ruthless Compassion Institute. This conversation was conducted by email between February 21 and March 1, 2010. I’d like to express my thanks to her for her generous attention and thoughtful responses to the questions posed and for sharing her wisdom and ideas with us.

I hope you will find Ruthless Compassion a useful tool in your journey. You will find contact information for Dr. Sirota at the conclusion of the interview.

Stay inspired!

Ray


TAS: Marcia, can you tell the readers a little about your background and what led you to the work you are doing now?

Dr. Marcia Sirota: I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy, having studied both Western and Eastern schools of thought. I also have a background in the arts; in particular drawing, writing and dance. I’m a board-certified psychiatrist currently doing individual and group psychotherapy with a focus on healing trauma, overcoming blocks to creativity and success, conquering addictions and improving relationships.

TAS: Ruthless Compassion is an attention-getting phrase. How do you define RC? How long have you been practicing and teaching it?

DMS: Ruthless Compassion is a synthesis of loving-kindness and empowerment. It’s a philosophy which promotes the unerring pursuit of the unvarnished truth tempered with an attitude of gentleness and respect toward ourselves and others. It also entails taking personal responsibility for the choices we make and the actions we take in life; recognizing that no-one can or should do these things for us. Finally, it’s an attitude of integrity, whereby we hold ourselves and others accountable for these choices and actions and don’t enable anyone to continue making bad choices.

TAS: I love the idea of a philosophy that combines loving-kindness and empowerment. Often in life one person holding another person accountable can create conflict. How do inexperienced practitioners hold others accountable without eliciting hostility? Do all involved parties have to be committed to the process for it succeed?

DMS: Holding someone accountable for their actions doesn’t always mean confronting them. Sometimes it’s necessary to be more direct and to let them know that their behavior is unacceptable, but often it’s preferable just to give the person the type of consequences that emerge out of you taking better care of yourself. Practicing RC isn’t about “teaching someone a lesson” or bashing them over the head to make a point. It’s about neither enabling someone to hurt you nor colluding with them when they try to hurt others.

If someone gets angry or hostile when you don’t let them get away with their bad behavior, it demonstrates that they are unreasonable, and unwilling to change their ways. It might be disappointing to see this about someone but it’s not a bad outcome. It provides you with crucial information about their character that you’ll need in order to asses whether you want to associate with them or not.

All parties don’t have to be aware of RC for it to succeed. When someone receives consequences for having made a bad choice, they are being presented (by the practitioner of RC) with an opportunity to learn from their mistakes. They have a further choice to make then: whether to take advantage of the opportunity to learn and grow or to reject it, and perhaps become angry.

If the person chooses to become upset about receiving a consequence, perhaps in the future other people will practice RC with them and eventually they’ll make the connection and learn something; maybe even changing their ways. On the other hand, if they immediately use the consequences to improve their behavior, two things will happen: they’ll make it possible for us to trust them and feel closer to them, and they’ll be learning at the same time how RC works and may choose to use it themselves in the future.

TAS: This may sound like a question for a musician, but who are your psychological influences? Whose work inspired your vision for RC?

DMS: My psychological influences are many and varied: They include all my teachers, whether in my personal life or the ones I’ve studied in books. I especially appreciate Freud and his division of the psyche into Id, Ego and Super-ego, and Transactional Analysis, developed by Eric Berne who translated these concepts into the child, adult and parent parts of the psyche. I’ve taken that idea and run with it in my theories and practice. I also appreciate Jungian archetypes, folk tales and mythology as bases for understanding the complexities of the human psyche and human relationships. I probably take a lot from various schools of Buddhism, as well.

Ruthless Compassion came to me as an evolving concept through my practice and my life. All the above influences as well as my life experiences combined into this new way of looking at things. In observing the suffering of my patients and of people in general, I saw that the old ways of dealing with relationships, work, the environment, money, addiction, creativity and even spirituality didn’t hold, and that a new approach was desperately needed. Ruthless Compassion was borne of this need.

TAS: On your website, you state, “The goal of the (Ruthless Compassion) institute is to enable you to live with greater freedom, empowerment and happiness, to be in constructive, meaningful relationships and to make a positive contribution to your family and community.” How does RC help people achieve these aspirations?

DMS: RC can help people live better lives in that it supports their becoming more conscious. The ruthlessness aspect spurs them ever onward in seeing and dealing with the truth of how things are, who they are, and what the people in their life are doing to them and around them. The compassion aspect allows them to face the truth without beating themselves up, either for the choices they’ve been making or for not having seen the truth sooner.

RC keeps people from being enablers to others’ bad behavior, thus preventing a lot of potential suffering. RC is empowering because it has people living in reality and this makes it more possible for them to achieve their goals. It has people taking responsibility for themselves, while also preventing them from criticizing themselves. This combination is a great motivator for positive action.

TAS: What differentiates RC from other forms therapy or self-development techniques? Are there similarities with some other techniques?

DMS: RC is different in that it’s reality-based. There’s no magical thinking involved that tells people to think the right thoughts and then they’ll achieve their goals, or that if they buy into this quick and easy solution, they’ll fix their problem(s). RC tells you that good things come from working toward realistic goals in a meaningful way.

RC doesn’t promise to change your life or that it will bring you amazing riches, fabulous success or  brilliant romance. What it does do is enable you to let go of a lot of the unnecessary suffering in your life that has come from making poor choices – the choices that were based on false hope, inappropriate expectations or erroneous beliefs. It allows you to improve your relationships by owning your part in them and letting go of the part that doesn’t belong to you; it frees you to pursue real goals, both of personal growth and outer success, based on your real efforts.

RC is also different because it doesn’t ask you to change who you are to practice it. It’s not a dogma, and therefore anyone can benefit from it. It doesn’t require you to change your diet, your religion or your lifestyle. What you do have to change is your attitude and your old ways of looking at yourself, others and the world.

I imagine that RC has similarities with a number of techniques or tools for living, but I also think that it is a unique philosophy in and of itself.

TAS: You mentioned magical thinking and false hope. Of course, there are some very popular “systems” that have come out in recent years giving people the impression that their thoughts are a kind of cosmic ATM card. You think the right thoughts, the claims go, and anything can be yours.

Unfortunately, those ideas have caused damage to the demonstrated benefits of positive thinking and positive visualization. How do you differentiate magical thinking from positive thinking and what role, if any, does positive affirmation play in RC? How does one differentiate false hope from real hope?

DMS: Magical thinking is deciding that something is so, just because you want it to be. It has no basis in reality. Positive thinking is seeing the reality of a situation and maximizing its potential.

False hope is the hope for something that could never be; for example that if you try hard enough you could get someone who doesn’t like you to love you. Real hope is grounded in what is actually possible, like the hope that you could become a happier, healthier person.

There is definitely a role for positive affirmation in RC but for it to be meaningful, it must be reality-based. This means we recognize our own limitations and the limitations of reality, and instead of trying to affirm the impossible (which renders our affirmations absurd) we affirm our inherent qualities and strengths.

Positive affirmations should remind us that we’re entitled to be happy and free; that we’re lovable and valuable as we are, and that we’re more likely (although not guaranteed) to succeed if we give something our best effort.

When affirmations are disconnected from reality, they are ridiculous at best and destructive at worst. When they are reality-based, they encourage us and support us in pursuing and achieving our goals.

TAS: What kinds of results have you witnessed? Are you able to share any anonymous success stories that really demonstrate the power of RC?

DMS: Practicing RC is a very effective way of improving your life. I’ve seen many example of people making positive changes in their relationships, at work, in overcoming addictions and in developing self-esteem. I’ve had a few patients whose marriages were in crisis and through the practice of RC, they are now in a much better place.

I had one patient who was being exploited and disrespected at work, even though they were an excellent employee. Through the practice of RC they’ve become a lot more strategic in the workplace, and while they continue to do excellent work, they are now setting appropriate limits on what is asked of them as well as commanding respect from supervisors and colleagues.

TAS: Where does RC go from here? Do you feel like the concept is fully developed or ever-evolving?

DMS: I see RC as an ever-evolving way of thinking and being. As I evolve as a person, and as the people who are using it evolve, we’ll be able to see where we can take this philosophy of empowerment, personal responsibility, self-accountability and integrity.

Rigid ideology tends to devolve into dogma; even fanaticism. I want RC to be a living, breathing philosophy that can grow and develop as we do. In order to be valid, it must be able to tolerate questioning and be amenable to change.

TAS: Yes. We have seen dogma and fanaticism result from many well-meaning philosophies in the past. Does RC have a future beyond this generation? Do you see it as a movement or philosophy that will transcend your current work? Are there other teachers learning and teaching it? Does someone need to be in counseling or a group to practice it or can someone practice on his or her own?

DMS: RC is in its nacent form, and it’s my hope that more and more people will begin to embrace it and experience the benefit of practicing it. Like any new movement, people need to find out about it and I plan on giving seminars (webinars) and workshops in the near future to teach people how to apply the principles of RC in their daily lives.

I don’t think that RC needs to be learned or taught in a therapeutic setting, but I do believe that whoever teaches it must be very well-versed in the theory and practice, in order that they neither dilute nor distort the message. Along the same lines, those who want to learn it must be sincere, open-minded and well-taught, so that they don’t go off with a partial or confused understanding of the principles of RC.

TAS: If TAS readers are interested in learning more about RC or your work, how can they do that?

DMS: TAS readers are welcome to visit my website: http://www.ruthlesscompassioninstitute.com where they can view videos and read articles about the practice of RC. The “About” section of the site also discusses the meaning and purpose of RC. I am on Twitter: @rcinstitute, where I regularly tweet original content that represents my philosophical point of view.

TAS: Marcia, thank you so much. We look forward to hearing more about RC in the future.

Soldier Affirmations

The following is a list of special affirmations for U.S. troops overseas. They were requested by my friend @ckinney who was putting together care packages to send to the troops.

  1. US soldierToday and every day, I do my duty with pride and honor!
  2. Roadblocks are simply shortcuts to something better than I had planned.
  3. My achievements are magnified when they benefit others. What I do for others I do for me.
  4. Today I am committed my mission and to the best outcome for everyone!
  5. I believe wholeheartedly that I am part of the solution in my life and in my world.
  6. If I must be a rock so that others can cross the stream, then that will be my life’s work!
  7. I am committed to giving selflessly of myself for the betterment of humanity and happiness of others. Today I do!
  8. Today I am ready, willing, and able to serve!
  9. Today and every day the distance between my loved ones and me is bridged by love.
  10. The distance is a plus in my relationship right now. It forces communication and communication builds trust between us.
  11. I refuse to be jaded by what I see today! There is hope for humanity and I am a part of it!
  12. God’s love flows through my entire being each and every moment all day long.
  13. Today and every day, I am one day closer to going home!
  14. Today I am digging deep, reaching high, and achieving great things!
  15. Even in adversity, I am strong. Even when my dreams must change, I dream anew. Today my dreams are strong and SO AM I!
  16. A challenge only becomes an obstacle when I bow to it!
  17. I struggle, but I grow. I fall, but I get up. Even amid adversity, I succeed and I prosper.
  18. Every setback has within it the seeds of a massive triumph.
  19. I play a key part each and every day in making my team the best it can be.
  20. We work together as a team. We win together as a team. The more we focus on the team the more success we achieve.
  21. Breath by breath I am releasing my anger. Breathing in I feel peace, breathing out I release anger. Peace in, anger out.
  22. Breath by breath, I am breathing in joy breathing out sadness. Joy in…sadness out. joy in…sadness out.
  23. I refuse to let my frustrations rule me! I take what I need from the experience and release my frustrations!
  24. Whatever anger rules anger destroys. I refuse to let it rule me!
  25. Day by day, love wins a resolute victory over fear in my life!

Stay strong!

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s spent more than 25 years studying personal development and especially writing, recording, and using affirmations to achieve his goals. His eBook – The Power to Be You – offers 416 life-changing and original quotes, ideas, and affirmations to take you to new levels of achievement and reflection.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation, Ray’s first novel,  is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous.

White House Correspondent Maria Love is on to the story of her life and with the help of an Anunnaki leader seeks to unravel and reveal history’s biggest conspiracy. The Awakening has begun!

15 Greatness Affirmations and Original Quotes

Jumping woman at sunsetToday’s topic is greatness. You know you and everyone and everything around you is an absolute miracle. The odds that you are even be here against the astronomical possibilities otherwise confirms your status as a miracle.

Just to remind you; here are a few thoughts and affirmations to remind you of your greatness. Hope you find the one that sparks your greatness today! You ARE a one in a trillion miracle!


  1. Go ahead! Give in to your greatness!
  2. Always Remember to see your greatness and help those around you see theirs!
  3. The Prego Rule of Greatness: When you look for your greatness within; you find it because, “It’s in there!”
  4. You think less of yourself than you should. Remember your greatness!
  5. Your greatness is locked in a box called “Believing in Yourself”. You have the key!
  6. Worry more about the false humility of denying your greatness rather than the vanity of just admitting to it! You’re amazing!
  7. Today I am the Johnny Appleseed of greatness; the Paul Revere of possibility here to remind those around me who they truly are.
  8. Today I release older lesser versions of myself and grow into my greatness!
  9. I am a magnificent possibility headed for certain greatness!
  10. My greatness is revealed not by the lights that shine upon me, but by the light that shines within me.
  11. I believe in myself. I believe in my now. I believe in my future. I believe in my greatness!
  12. I may not be perfect, but I have ALWAYS been great!
  13. Today I thunder away at my doubts and weaknesses. As I do, they fade away and my greatness emerges!
  14. It’s time for every person on this planet to embrace his or her greatness and pursue his or her dreams.
  15. My weaknesses are invisible in the radiant light of my greatness!

Be the person you came to the planet to be!

Ray

Please checkout the latest additions to the Quotes Library on the TAS website.

Empowerment Affirmations

Today’s Thought:

“Freedom begins the moment you realize someone else has been writing your story and it’s time you took the pen from his hand and started writing it yourself.”
~ Bill Moyers

Empowerment. It’s a big word and it’s used often in our modern society. But what does it really mean? If you look at the dictionary definitions, they say it’s about permitting or enabling action.

I like to take words and break them down for their meaning. If you look at the word you see em-power-ment.

The prefix em means “to place into”. We all know what power means. The suffix ment means action.

So, we are left with a definition for empowerment that reads, “the act of putting power within.”

When you empower yourself you are literally placing the power within you to think, act, and decide for yourself. Empowerment is one of those things that starts in your body and sweeps its way up to your mind and your lips.

Here are some affirmations and thoughts to empower your day.

  1. I empower myself to think for myself!
  2. I am an empowered thinker! As I empower my thinking, I empower the thinking of those around me!
  3. I am an empowered human being who thinks for myself and lets wisdom rather than fear rule!
  4. Empowerment – self or global – is not a spectator sport.
  5. I am a magnificent being of power and light!
  6. Love is the light, freedom the path, empowerment the goal.
  7. Empowerment and positive thinking are definitely not about “drinking the kool-aid” they are about making your own lemonade.
  8. Today my mind transcends either/or thinking and explores new possibilities!
  9. I embrace the power and beauty within me and water it every day!
  10. Today I empower myself to think outside boxes and push my paradigms!
  11. Thinking for myself is my gateway to freedom. Today I think more freely than ever!
  12. Today I unleash the power of empowered thinking in my life!
  13. Empowered thinkers know they are capable of acting on their success, happiness, and betterment; and helping others do the same.
  14. Empowered thinkers know that humanity’s best days are coming, but some changes must come first.
  15. Empowered thinkers aren’t those who believe world is all rosy, they are those who believe we are capable of making it so.
  16. Today and every day, I am a beacon of hope and empowerment for the people around me!

Follow your bliss! Experience your bliss! Become your bliss!

Ray

Ray Davis is the author of Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation – order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com – founder of The Affirmation Spot and an advocate for the potential of the human race. He’s life-long history buff and holds a B.S. in History Education. He’s always been fascinated by alternative views of history.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous.

White House Correspondent Maria Love is on to the story of her life and with the help of an Anunnaki leaders seeks to unravel and reveal history’s biggest conspiracy. The Awakening has begun!

Tuesday Affirmations

anunnaki_cover_full_colorCheckout Ray’s breakout speculative fiction novel, ”Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation White House correspondent, Maria Love, discovers a shocking secret about alien intervention in the distant human past. That discovery puts her on the path of an even more stunning revelation.

One reader wrote, “I’m loving the book. There’s only one problem. I was so into the story that I missed my bus stop.” Another reader emailed to say, “My mind is officially blown!”

Is it fact or is it fiction? You decide!


Tuesday is the second day of the work week. As Monday is such a trauma for many people, Tuesday can get lost in the shuffle. When you are focused and motivated and achieve a great Monday, Tuesday becomes your first chance to follow up and keep the momentum going. These affirmations are written specifically to help you do just that.

Here are a few Tuesday affirmations to keep your week rolling along towards happiness and success.

  1. Tuesday is MY day! I keep Monday’s momentum going and set myself up for an awesome week!
  2. I am putting my stamp on this Tuesday. Big things are brewing for me today!
  3. Tuesday is MY day! When Monday stumbles Tuesday is my chance to start again!
  4. Tuesday is MY day! It’s my day to capitalize on Monday’s momentum and I DO!
  5. Tuesday is MY day! I keep the momentum going after a stellar Monday!
  6. Tuesdays are my day! I am move forward while my competition recovers from the negative Monday they created in their minds.
  7. This is the only Tuesday I get this week and I intend to make the most of it!
  8. Tuesday represents second chances and today I make the most of my second chances!

Stay inspired!

Ray

Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and focuses on empowering minds to think positively, achieve goals, and live dreams.

Monday Affirmations

Here are a few affirmations to get your Monday and your month off to a great start.

Monday

  1. Today I launch a wonderful week with a marvelous Monday!
  2. Monday rocks! It is one seventh of my life and I make the most of it!
  3. Monday is MY day! It’s my opportunity to begin anew!
  4. Monday is MY day! I’ll have this week off and running in no time!
  5. After rejuvenating and enjoyable weekend, I am ready to get back on the road to my dreams!
  6. My thoughts this morning are forming the Monday I experience. I am creating an awesome Monday!
  7. I am mentally and physically prepared to get my week off to a fantastic start this Monday!
  8. Monday sets the tone for my whole week and I make it count!
  9. Monday is always MY day! It’s my springboard to an awesome week!
  10. My Mondays are always the fast start that sets up my strong finish on Friday!

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and focuses on empowering minds to think positively, achieve goals, and live dreams.He’s spent the past 21 years in sales and sales training for major companies.

He is the author of the Anunnaki Awakening series (2015). Book 1 – Revelation – is now available in paperback and on Kindle.

Are We Conscious Enough to Change?

Thought for Today:

We unconsciously become the experience of previous generations, unless we consciously become the change.

sun in handsMost people in our modern world are aware that their DNA – the building blocks of our bodies – are passed on to us by our parents.

Attitudes and thought patterns are passed along in much the same way. Early on, our parents have the strongest influence and later our peer groups. Then, of course, we are all impacted by societal mental soup in which we swim. Few would argue that our own personality is in there somewhere impacting the person we become. However, we unconsciously accept and create models of the world based on how those around us see it.

The end product is often a human being holding strongly to beliefs he or she had almost no role in creating. Yet, our connection to those beliefs – that model of the world – are so strong many are willing to kill and die for them.

The question is sometimes asked, “If humans were capable of changing wouldn’t we have already changed?” The assumption in that question is that we cannot change because we have not changed.

Ethnic and religious wars spring up in our world over the simple right of the other to exist. Humans have and continue to enslave humans. Military, political, and economic empires are built on the sweat and tears of people we never see.

Can we change? Well, my answer is yes and no. If our plan is to unconsciously continue inheriting, then no we cannot and we will not change. On the other hand, if we choose become consciously aware of this habitual “mental DNA”, we most certainly can see an end to the unconsciousness.

Without artificial interference, there is little we can do with the physical genes we get other than make the most of them. Fortunately, our mental genes can easily be changed by us whenever we choose.

Empower your thinking!

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s spent more than 25 years studying personal development and especially writing, recording, and using affirmations to achieve his goals. His eBook – The Power to Be You – offers 416 life-changing and original quotes, ideas, and affirmations to take you to new levels of achievement and reflection.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation, Ray’s first novel,  is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous.

White House Correspondent Maria Love is on to the story of her life and with the help of an Anunnaki leader seeks to unravel and reveal history’s biggest conspiracy. The Awakening has begun!