My theory, which my clinical findings support, is that we constantly mirror the world, conforming to its needs, trying to win its love and approval. And each time we mirror the world, it creates a little reciprocal hunger to be mirrored back. If that hunger isn’t filled, we develop what I refer to as “mirror neuron receptor deficit.” In today’s world, it’s easy to imagine that deficit growing into a deep ache. Many of the people I work with—from CEOs and managers to unhappy spouses to clinically depressed patients—feel that they give their best, only to be met day after day with apathy, hostility, or (possibly worst of all) no response at all. In my belief, this deficit explains why we feel so overwhelmed when someone acknowledges either our pain or our triumphs. –Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston M.D.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the internal monologue of a character suffering from mirror neuron receptor deficit.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you felt acknowledged and your feelings validated.

Art Prompt: The world as a mirror

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Share techniques for validation with your audience.

Photo Credit: Sara Lando on Flickr

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