How do we stay focused and not slip back into old patterns?
What is the difference between kindness and niceness?
If it’s greater to give than to receive, what is the greatest gift you can give?
These and other deep, meaningful questions are addressed when powerful kindness advocate Barbara Vercruysse joins The Rabbi and the Shrink.
1:00 Kindness is not weakness
Given six months to live
What is my legacy? What would I do with a second chance?
What kind of success leads to happiness?
6:00 How do we keep focus and not slip back into old patterns?
Gratitude is the foundation
Why waste our days in complaining and negativity?
What do challenges and obstacles teach us?
Do we give in to the darkness or do we strive to be the light?
You are the source of what you are looking for
12:00 Why do we think of kindness as weakness?
What’s the difference between kindness and niceness?
Kindness is love-based
If we meet negativity with negativity, then we are victims, too
Abraham is characterized by kindness and sowed the seeds of kindness throughout the world
Every human encounter is an opportunity and a sacred moment
Start each day with intention and develop resistance to triggers
21:00 Lead and teach by example
Always leave room for a constructive conversation
When you embody what you teach, words become less important
If it’s greater to give than to receive, what is the greatest gift you can give?
Vulnerability is a form of power
25:30 If you’re triggered, don’t take it personally
What is it in me that makes me feel triggered?
Secure people don’t get offended, even if they have the right to be
The story of the rabbi praising himself
30:00 The word of the day: akrasia
weakness of will; acting in a way contrary to one's sincerely held moral values
Why don’t we do the right thing even when we know it’s the right thing to do?
Peer pressure, lack of conviction
We need to build our moral muscle memory
Welcome to the Rabbi and the Shrink. This is Dr Margarita Gurri, the shrink Dr. Red Shoe, and everyone's favorite RabbiYonason Goldson:
Yonason GoldsonMargarita Gurri:
well the good rabbi and I are excited we have a woman here, Barbara Vercruysse, and she is from Belgium. She says her name so beautifully. Would you mind saying your name for us?Barbara Vercruysse:
Yes, my name is Barbara Vercruysse.Margarita Gurri:
I and if you can say that, then your day will be better already. That's wonderful. Thanks for joining us. We love your message of kindness.Barbara Vercruysse:
Thank you. It's it's a joy and a pleasure to be here with you today. And whenever I can, you could say have a conversation and bring the topic of kindness into the conversation. And especially the topic that kindness is not weakness, because for for so long time, if you're a kind person, you're more seen as weak. And I really would like to bring that shift into the world. Kindness is a strength?Margarita Gurri:
Well, I think we'll we'll get to that. Let me brag about you just a little bit. One of the things that you've been doing is helping the world understand how to lead with powerful kindness. And that's a wonderful phrase, to prevent people from being burned out and resigning in these times of COVID. And the world is changing, and many people are disappointed and frustrated and ill and sad. I think that your message shines so brightly. You've got this book that we can't wait till you finish writing in the path of powerful kindness. And you have been a mentor, personal coach, thought leader, and a writer and speaker. So let's talk about it. How did you get to have all the topics inUnknown:
the world? Why kindness? Well, um, as a child from childhood on, I was always told Barbara, you're too kind. You're too client for this world. And I could never understand as a child, I was thinking, wow, what place did I end up here? That I have to be less kind, that I have to be tough. And I felt something was not right there. But as you grow up, you become more imprinted with the beliefs of this world. So you come to believe all those people who say, Well, you know, like, you cannot be too friendly to kind to loving you will be taken advantage of. And the older you get, the more you get that pattern of everybody saying. And at the age of 32, which is 19 years ago, I was diagnosed with stage four, skin cancer was a young mom of two toddlers and a baby. Yes. And I was told I had six months to live. And fortunately, no, I had several surgeries and a year of chemotherapy. So I told myself that if I would survive, I would take the second life that was given to me with both hands, and leave a positive legacy. Because there's one thing you think about when people when the doctor say, Well, you have six more months. The first thing you think about this? Well, for me it was first my babies, I want to see them grow up. So I will you know, like fight with every cell in my body to survive, but the second thing was, what if? What if it turns out to be the end now? What kind of life do I look back to? Am I happy with my legacy? The answer was no. So in being given a second chance, I you could say, I went back or the soul. It was like the connect there was a reconnection with a part of me that was lost in, in the, in the mundane in the daily in the trivialities. You know. You go to high school, you go to college, you marry and you believe what is taught to you like, that's the key to happiness, you get a title, you get a house, you get a family. And I felt like there's something missing there because that was all outside me. Like that was not in me. They say it's the title. It's the job. It's the husband. It's the children who will give you happiness Of course, there is, to a certain degree that is true, as long as you are not dependent from that, so if you only, so that was like kind of a revelation after being diagnosed, so I survived. And then I started some quest, you could say to self discovery in going more deeper into spirituality, self development, psychology, I read a lot of books, went to conferences, to coaching certification courses. And well, that's where I am I, the older I get the, the more points, you know, like, the more I feel like, okay, this is my mission. This is my purpose, being that voice of kindness.Yonason Goldson:
I mean, it's really, it's very inspiring. We hear stories like this, of people who have near death experiences, and they reaction is I'm going to change everything now. And sometimes they don't, sometimes they just slip back into the same patterns. And it doesn't necessarily take very long to end up right back where it was, despite my, my sense of Revelation. Is do you have a? Do you go through any of that? Do you have to make a conscious effort? Do you have a suggestion for how to keep that focus?Unknown:
To keep that focus? I would say, first of all, for me, it's the gratitude to get up every morning and being alive. For an it for some reason, that stuck to me really deeply. Like it's a gift, waking up and breathing. And it's just that maybe you have to be taken away some things to appreciate the more when you have them back. So being almost taking away taken away my life. I when I, you know, like was declared, not like, it's, it's not that I'm completely healed, because I was too far. So I have checkups. But everything is stable, let's say like that. Everything is stable. So I'm, I'm just in a deep gratitude every morning. Yes, another day. It's just, I, that's, you know, like the bait the foundation. And since I am giving another day, why wasted in negativity? Why wasted in complaining? Why wasted in blaming, and I do have more, of course, I'm not like, I'm human. I have three adult children being married for more than 20 years running a business. So I do have all those things. But in each, you could say, thing that would upset me, or would pull me down. I tried to look deeper at it. Like, what is it that I still have to learn here? How can I? How can I deal with that in a different way? And most of all, always looking for the lesson. And I've come to realize that people say it's a dark world, you know, like to grow and start there's so much misery. And yes, it's a dark world. But I have come to realize that for me, it's an invitation to be the light. And not, you know, like, sit complaining about the darkness will not change anything. Only in being, you know, like, just giving a smile at the grocery store. It sounds cliche, but it's like that, like maybe that person didn't see anyone else that they just giving a smile. It's not that difficult. And people I have come in contact with people who are depressed who don't feel well. And feel that sense of emptiness and lack. And the biggest discovery I think is in life is that you are the source of what you are looking for. If you want more love in your life, be that love. If you want more friendship, be that friends. And, of course we all have disappointments. We all have been betrayed. We all have had, you know like stories, learn from it. We can learn from it. If people have taken advantage, okay. It's not the one who has been taken advantage of with the full one. You know, it's, it's, it's learning from it and saying, Okay, I will stay pure in my heart. But I will stay away from the kind of people who would take advantage of me and surround myself with supportive people, but not go into like self P, and look at me, poor me. You know, until seven years ago, I was running a construction business. And I almost lost my business because of the betrayal of two employees. I ended up with almost 200,000 euros of debt. And I had to reinvent myself at 40, at 45 years old. But I could see, I could see that it was, you could say, God, or the universe, or whatever was pushing me, like, you don't belong there anymore. And I was such a perfectionist that I wanted to end that construction business nicely. And then maybe maybe start a coaching business. But I was always postpone it, until suddenly, there was something that happened that was so horrible, that it had to stop. So instead of making my life a pity story, or per me, I had the cancer, or per me, I almost went bankrupt. I used it, you could say as a fuel for something better for transformation. It's powerful. And it's not. It's it, it's it's hard. And I have shed seas of tears in my life. I can sayMargarita Gurri:
my you call it powerful kindness. I want to send thank you notes for the two that betrayed you. Because the world needed you we were waiting for you. And they they helped you get into this light and share it. You were speaking earlier with the rabbi and I about a concept and you started off with your childhood. The distinction that kindness is powerful not weakness. Why is it so many people think of kindness as weakness.Unknown:
Maybe I think a maybe they they mistake it with niceness and niceness. Sometimes you are nice to you are nice to someone who is nice to you. You are nice just out of politeness. Maybe you are nice out of fear. Somebody who is a let's say, your boss or somebody who is in a sort of position that you feel subordinate to, and you are nice, you know like the smile, you're nice and that person is maybe rude to you. And that's niceness for me is not love based. Kindness is love based. Love based means that even if someone is rude to you, you stay outside of the rudeness. You can speak up for yourself, it can be in a gentle way. But you can speak up for yourself. And you can go beyond even and see where the rudeness comes from rudeness, aggressiveness. That person is the weak one, he is eaten by his negative emotions. If you stay outside, that you stay centered, calm and kind, you are the you are the powerful one. Because you are not eaten away by impulses by emotions. You're you stay outside that first of all, you learn to take not personally but that other person is saying it's a reflection of his or her state of mind. And I have always, you know, like I'm a Christian. And the story turned the other cheek has always stayed very close to my heart. Because I could understand people would say well turn the other cheek you are read to turn the other cheek. No. in turning the other cheek. You stay pure at heart. You stay calm, compassionate. And it's the one who is eaten away by his aggressions. Who is weak and who is you could say he is or she is. I don't want to say the word punish but maybe there's an other way. He isn't in his behavior. It is in fact, well, making that life more miserable for him, I can still choose how I respond to that person. So if I choose to stay calm, kind and compassionate, I choose my response. So I'm powerful.Margarita Gurri:
But the main thing is to be is, you know, like the notion of the compassion. That person needs your love more than he needs your hate, or your rudeness, because me in responding in a rude way, or in a hateful way, I am a victim to so well, that's, you know,Yonason Goldson:
to, to reframe our whole understanding of kindness, that I'm not, it doesn't mean I let people walk all over me. No, doesn't mean I don't stand up for myself when the situation calls for it. Absolutely, is that my focus is on an inner quality that I want to project into the world will that be what defines me? i One of the reasons I wanted to have you on Barbara, is because in Judaism, kindness is one of our most fundamental foundational concepts. The patriarch of the Jewish people, Abraham. Ooh. And of course, from Judaism comes Christianity and comes Islam. And there's there's even a rabbinic tradition that Abraham influenced the philosophies of the Eastern world. And the sages identify Abraham's defining quality as kindness. Yes, he, his, his mission was to spread the light of Divine Wisdom to a world that was lost in the darkness of pagan idolatry. And the word Hebrew literally means the one on the other side. So yes, he came across the Jordan River. But philosophically, he was on one side, and the whole world was on the other side. And so he met resistance from everywhere, and he met it with tremendous strength. It was never at odds with his intrinsic quality of kindness. And that's what made him so successful, and arguably the most influential human being in the history of the world.Margarita Gurri:
Well, in our Barbara is one of the top thought leaders, and she got 100 points in the was it thought leader 360 robot, you get a free 60 Yeah, okay. Leader 360. It's amazing. I'm glad that people are recognizing that your simple concept is not so simple. And that it is the powerful secret to all sorts of solutions in the world. Congratulations on making that list.Unknown:
Thank you, okay. And for me, the most important thing, because I can sit with you here and talk, for me, it's always about practice, practice. How am I Barbara, when the camera shutter? When my son comes home, when I'm in the store, when I'm, you know, like working with clients, who is barber then. And my intention in the morning is always I set an intention, whatever comes my path today, or what my way today, I will deal with it with grace and ease. But that does not always work. And sometimes, you know, like three children, they can really, you know, like, and then they would say, oh my god mom, I'm going to take you now that the people see the real Barbara and I'm saying do that through though I'm human, I'm here. So um, but we have a conversation and things are, you know, like they're 2221 and 19 and love to be at home. They love to be you know, like, spending time with us. So it's really a sign for me that we have the grid clean and very open. So I think it's funny when they say that, but the practice it's about a practice because I can say whatever I want here in front, but for me, I think the daily training the daily training, in being aware, not like being aware like how not only how to in every for me in every conversation in every human encounter, I have come to realize that every human encounter is a sacred moment. We don't see it, we have forgotten the entire sacredness of life. You have most of us have forgotten. But in, in treating it as a sacred moments, it's an opportunity for kindness, everyone you meet, there's an opportunity for kindness there, it doesn't always work. But if you start your day with that intention, and you do day after day after day, then it becomes more like an it becomes more, even more who you are. And even when you're triggered, you train yourself in, whoa, I've been there. Now, like I've been there, I don't go there anymore. being triggered, and this, you know, like action reaction, you try to, you know, like, come back to yourself and respond instead of reacting.Margarita Gurri:
Well, as a coach for for corporate groups. How do you interact with them? What is your message and your practice to help them learn this amazingly fundamental, but so it's a complicated concept really,Unknown:
mostly, by example, groups that I'm leaving see me a lot. They see me a lot. I'm working a lot with our BM W, which is male dominated environments.Margarita Gurri:
What was did you work? I didn't hear I'm sorry.Unknown:
No, I'm working a lot with BMW. Okay. Oh, BMW. Okay. Yes. So which is 90 90%? So males, and in the beginning, they would chuckle at me and say, well, there she is. And it's all good. In theory, we'll see how it isn't, you know, like, and I have learned, it was, it was many times a tough lesson, because I would get provoked. But I have learned to stand in my power. And to say, hold it there, stop. And then always leave room for a constructive conversation. No, like, we're constructive. Somebody can vent, I understand. Sometimes things happen. And if you want to vent, okay, but then it stops, then we start something constructive out of that. We do not dwell in negativity, we never go in a blame and complain game. Okay, that happens. Okay. You vent it? And then how can we build, you know, like, transform something? How can we build something constructive out of that, and seeing they call me Miss Sunshine wherever I come. So and I've been working with them for six years now. So it's, they see it's not an act. They see, it's, you. When you embody what you teach, then sometimes even words are not so necessary. It's in who you are, how you listen, how you treat people, I work with blue collar with white collar, but everybody's a human being for me. I am a human being to, to treat me as a human being to.Margarita Gurri:
So go ahead.Yonason Goldson:
Thank you that that reciprocity is I think, so fundamental to it. What I learned very early in my religious training, is that it you know, we always say that it's better to give than to receive. We don't necessarily believe it, but we hear it a lot. But assuming that's true, then what's the greatest gift you can give another person is the opportunity to give to you. And so, kindness, which is essentially giving, and that I think helps us understand why it is consistent, rather than an odds with power. Because I can only give if I have the power to give, yes. And then that same power is manifest as the power to allow others to give to me, because that's also a measure of vulnerability. Vulnerability also is a manifestation of power. So your your, what you say modeling is always the most effective form of teaching?Unknown:
Absolutely. Absolutely. Whether it's as a parent, whether it's in working environment, whether wherever you are, it's always people always watch you more observe you more than they listen to you. So they feel you if you end To room, do you say hello to everybody? How do you make them feel to you make them feel at ease. And if you can give that feeling to someone, like, Barbara gives me the space to be now. And I think that's, that's a gift. But for me, the most beautiful gift is, if I see, let's say, they come to me, and they're a rosebud, and they're very afraid to, to blossom, because they think, oh my god, if I blossom, they will look at, but you give them like that little extra water and extra care. And then you see, like the Rosebud opening up. I think if you wait, that's, that's the most beautiful thing to witness.Margarita Gurri:
So the next time some of the audience is triggered, what do you suggest they think, feel and do?Unknown:
Okay, so if you're triggered, it's not never about the other person. So first of all, don't take it personally. Whatever somebody says, is a reflection of them. But then look at yourself, what is it within me that is not healed yet? That I have to, you know, like, give some loving attention? Is there some insecurity about, let's say, I see someone in the street, and that person, oh, my god, Barbara, you have aged and you have gained weight. Not very nice thing to say. If I feel fully confident in who I am, I would not care, I would say whatever. If that's your opinion, that's okay. But if I feel very insecure, of getting older, if I feel very insecure of how I look like, I will say, Oh, my God, you know, like, maybe I'm gonna tear up, I will be devastated. And the entire day, I will be devastated by those words. Well, then I have to look within me. Why am I so heavily triggered? When somebody says Barbie, you have gained weight? Maybe she is a very unconscious person. She is a little blonde. And she says those things to everybody. So maybe it doesn't have to do with me. So but then why did it hit me so much? Those are and maybe somebody else would say, Oh, my God bar but your last business venture that was not really a success. Success. And achievement is very important for me. I would be like, Oh my God, you see what people say? They say I'm a failure. And I would, but what is it that hit me? Is it because I had. So everything somebody says is any triggers you it's something within you, that is still not healed? Because somebody who feels fully loved supported, you know, like good in your skin. what somebody else has said, the only thing if somebody would say now well, Barbara, you gained weight, I would say maybe I have, okay, let's you know, like, move on with the conversation. So it's always about learning from it. And the next time you have somebody saying the same kind of comment, if you have worked, done the inner work, you will no longer be triggered. Because you will Oh, I've learned my lesson. Somebody who says, I've gained weight, no problem. I am who I am. I eat healthy, I do what I have to do feel good in my skin, whatever somebody says that's okay.Yonason Goldson:
It was a story about a rabbi who was going into given a dress. And on the way in, he asked for a moment by himself, and he went into a side room and close the door and and his, his students put their ear to the door to try and hear what was was happening. And they heard him saying over and over again. Oh, Rabbi, You are so wise. Oh, Rabbi, You are so alerted. Oh, Rabbi, You are so pious. And then it came out and gave us a dress and afterwards they asked him ready. What What were you doing? He said, Well, I knew when I went into the crowd, people would start telling me these things. And I wanted to hear how hollow it sounded coming from me. That's take it too seriously.Unknown:
Absolutely, absolutely. What Yes. And I think that's something with the depth of kindness to the the difference with niceness. If somebody you know, like praises us and you know, like flatters us, then we're nice. You know, we're nice because that person just, but kindness can see through that, like, Rabbi You see true? Well, one day they flatter me one day they're rude. You know, like, are they don't flatter me. That's okay. I am kindness, and I am not dependent on the flattery, or the nice words, or they're not nice words of somebody else.Margarita Gurri:
Wow, so much to think about. Well, Rob, I think it might be time for them to get it on the word of the day, sir.Yonason Goldson:
Well, the word of the day comes from our friend, David Marlowe, my hope will have back before too long. And the word is where they never heard before. It's a cross yet, across yet, I never heard of that either. You know, that's a fascinating word, it means a weakness of will, acting in a way contrary to one sincerely held moral values. And I thought this was a perfect word for our time with Barbara. Because very often we know what the right thing to do is. And we don't do it. Why don't we do? Well, sometimes I'm just not in the mood. Sometimes, it's just, I can't summon up this strength. Sometimes I rationalize why it's okay not to sometimes it's peer pressure, we're afraid of what people are going to think. And one of the things he told us, Barbara is that kindness takes practice. Yes, it's like developing muscle memory. And the more we practice it, the better we'll get at it. And we can even practice it in private, in the way we treat ourselves in the self talk. And the things we let ourselves get upset about. But we want to do is we want to shorten the distance between those beliefs, those core beliefs that we know are true. And the manifestation, the application of those so that they naturally come out from us. We don't have to think as much we don't have to summon up the energy to do the things that we to act in the way that we know we should, because we've inculcated those values within ourselves. And we've practiced the behavior that represents those values. And then that's a contribution that, that I think you're making to the world, and we celebrate you for that. And, you know, while we talked about these things, one of the things we want to also remember, especially in coming through this pandemic, and then all the tensions in the world, as we also didn't do things that that are that are fun. We have to lighten up sometimes. So what do you do? For fun?Unknown:
For fun? Um, well, for me, it's mostly spending time and family. We are our children are 2221 19. And my, with my husband, that's, it's just fun, it's a beautiful age, we have wonderful conversation, we tease each other, it's just the atmosphere is a warm, connected. And yet to open, you know, like, there's room for some jokes, for some practical jokes for some, for some teasing. And for me that that's, you could say one of the greatest sources of joy is spending time with them. It's always because you can feel everybody who is a parent knows how intense and intensive raising children is. And they come in Ah, now that that you have that feeling like whoa, you know, oh, those efforts and all that time and it's something beautiful is is the beauty in their personalities, the beauty in, in being together and it's it's simple and it's basic, and but it's, it's, it's a great source of joy for me and reading always and I'm an avid reader. I read a lot and for me, that's always what are you reading now? I'm reading now. Oh, it's here. testament of hope martlew.Margarita Gurri:
Perfect. That that is wonderful. And how about some last words them for audience.Unknown:
Well, I would say you are loved. Always remember you are loved. If we can really let that sink in DQ TTT deeply it changes, it changes who you are.Yonason Goldson:
I think that's a wonderful way to, to end the conversation for now. Because the capacity to love and the sense of being loved very much go hand in hand. Yes, yes. And if we recognize that we are worthy of love. Yes. And it's much easier for us to loveUnknown:
others. Absolutely.Yonason Goldson:
Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. And wishing you continued success and your good work.Unknown:
Thank you. Thank you,Yonason Goldson:
doctor. What's the last word?Margarita Gurri:
The last word is? I think that the key to kindness, Barbara has so beautifully said that we have to just be ourselves. Because a psychologist I see so many people being harsh with themselves and others, expecting perfectionism, you have to somehow earn kindness. You are loved just the way you are. Now, having said that, we can be better in some ways kinder, more thoughtful, more productive, or whatever. There's always something we can do differently. But I remind everyone to just listen to Barbara's words you are loved I I can't imagine having anything more important to say than that. That's That's lovely. So thank you, Barbara, for joining us. I'm hoping you'll come backUnknown:
when the book is out. Oh, pleaseMargarita Gurri:
do We would be honored. And for our audience if you have questions and comments which you always do. Contact us at podcast at the rabbi and the shrink. And check us out on our website the rabbi in the shrink, which lists all the places you could get the the the the our YouTube videos and our auditory podcasts, various platforms, everyone, be well and remember that kindness is key and it's yours. Take care