Compassion: a gift for you, a gift for the world!

A friend of mine posted on Facebook “What breeds compassion?”  I love this question.  If we are looking for compassion in our lives one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is what can I do to offer compassion.  First let’s define what compassion is and isn’t.  Compassion is empathy, listening, support, asking what you can do to help the person through action, words, touch or time.  Compassion is not feeling bad for someone, asking what they are doing wrong, trying to fix it for them or judging them.  When we show someone compassion we create a space for them to be in their truth without judgement and when we are shown compassion we can come to the table without defensiveness and can show compassion in return.

So many of us are feeling a lot of negative emotions right now- fear, loss, confusion and uncertainty.  How can we “breed compassion” in the midst of these emotions?  One step at a time!  Take the time to offer yourself compassion first, then others, then compassion to the thing or person that you are having difficulty with.

When we feel that we are receiving compassion when we feel seen, heard and loved.  So how do you feel those things?  Acknowledge what you are feeling and going through.  See yourself in your dynamic, full paradoxical self.  Ask yourself what you need to feel held and seen.  Do for yourself what will fill your cup and/ or seek out the people who support that for you.  When we are able to show ourselves compassion the compassion we show others becomes more authentic.  It can be hardest to show ourselves compassion because we often judge ourselves harder than anyone else can judge us.  Compassion is not loving someone because they are without fault, it is loving them in the full spectrum of who they are.  The wounded pieces of ourselves that can create our shortcomings are the pieces that need compassion the most.  How can you love your “unlovable” parts?  Compassion.

For many of us, showing others compassion is easier than showing compassion to ourselves.  Being compassionate to others gives them the platform to show up in an authentic and honest way.  Having compassion is not saying that they are perfect or that some unacceptable behaviors are ok. Rather, it is saying “I see you in your complex humanity and you are lovable, you are worthy”.  Imagine how this can transform shame.  When I am in a shame place I am not showing up to express my love or passion.  When I am in shame, I am judging myself so harshly that I fear being seen. When I am shown compassion in this place I become comfortable enough to look at this piece of me and transform it into something that can serve me and others.  I believe we are born love, out of love and into our expression of love.  This love is at the root of our desire for connection and when we show others compassion we are inviting a human connection as opposed to judgements that separate us.  Connection says we are alike; this is compassion.sunSHINE

The hardest things/people to show compassion to can be the things/people that we fear or possibly even hate.  How do we show compassion to the person who so completely lives in disregard to everything around them?  How do we show compassion to the things or people that do things that directly cause us harm?  Now this is a touchy subject.  I by no means believe that people should ever accept abuse or harmful behavior from someone under the guise of forgiveness or compassion.  For my own spirit and mental balance, I may hold compassion for that person.  In my early 20’s I spent 1 ½ years in an abusive relationship. For most of that time I held myself in shame which made excuses for my abuser.  Today I hold compassion for him in my heart.  I have not seen or spoken to him in 12 years but I know he is a wounded soul.  My compassion shows me that because he was raised in an extremely physically and sexually violent home he had no choice to learn these things as a child (which does not excuse him for not learning a different thing as an adult).  I have heard that he is still living the same life he was when I was with him.  He is miserable, self-hating, self-destructive and lost.  I don’t know if he will ever find love for or from others, yet I pray he will because just as you are part of me, he is part of me, we are all connected.  Through seeing the connections of everything we can find compassion for everything.  Through this compassion, I can look at my abuser and know that he acted out of fear and when I am in a place of fear I can also present from a place of anger.  The seeds are within all of us- we are all human.

When we are compassionate to ourselves, our loved ones and our “enemies” we open a healing within us that promotes healing and humanity in our relationships and the world.  I think of the saying “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” and I think humanity is that chain.  Every link I help make stronger, the chain becomes stronger.  Every link I make weaker, the chain becomes weaker.  What do I want to do with my tools and abilities?  What differences can I make in my family, my relationships, the world, this chain of humanity?  What changes can I make within myself by using compassion?    My hope for the world is that you have compassion for yourself, that is the starting place of a true revolution!

 

Finding Balance

The holiday season has passed.  Hopefully you had a wonderful time with friends and family.  For so many of us the holidays can also come with stress and difficulty.  Whether this time has been wonderful or difficult, maybe even a little of both, a new year has begun.  This is a great time to let go of what doesn’t serve you and reach for new goals.  It is time to re-balance your life to come back to the center of who you are.

Last year I wrote a blog about what steps you can take to resolve to change your life instead of just making a New Year’s resolution.  This year I want to write about the resolve to return to yourself.  With so much going on in the world it is easy to become off center and live from a place that doesn’t reflect where your heart lives.  Introspection, self-care, and acting from the place of your highest self is the way to return to your center.

First is introspection because it can be hard to know what you need for self-care or what your best self is if you haven’t looked inside to know what your personal truth is.  Look inside.  What things are important to you?  What things do you love?  What values to you hold?  What is sacred to you?  What changes do you want to make?  What things do you want to stay the same?  Sometimes we can be so busy in life we don’t notice that we are living a life that is not reflective of who we are.  Do you know the answers to the above questions?  At one point in your life you may have defined the answers to these questions for yourself, it is important to remember that the answers can change.  These things are not set in stone.1397097868219

Taking care of yourself is always a good idea and after the holiday season where we can spend so much time taking care of others, it is a great time to re-establish self-care.  Ask yourself what it is that you need right now.  In my last blog, I talked about the 5 love languages, this is a great time to figure out your love language and practice loving yourself.  If you receive love through touch, maybe you could get a massage.  If it is through words of affirmation maybe having a great conversation would be useful.  I find it very beneficial to stop and ask myself, what is it that I want right now?  What do I want to do to make ME happy?  Then I follow though and do it.  Even if it is for only 15 minutes, that time can have ripple effects through the rest of your day.

Acting from a place of your highest self is the outward expression of the internal work you have done on yourself.  In life, we have a choice between acting out of the place of our highest self (which I believe is a place of love) or acting from a place of fear (which I believe can manifest as avoidance).  To act from the place of our highest self means that we integrate or values, beliefs and loves and we show up in the world in that way.  This can sometimes be challenging, there is no space for playing small, avoiding or coming from fear.  This takes courage and I think you have that courage within you.

Through introspection, self-care, and your highest self you can find balance.  Living in in balance makes all areas of life easier.  From this place, you support yourself and when supporting yourself there is a sense of support from the universe.  It can be truly astounding when you make the decision to follow through with these things.  Finally, you have the ability to live passionately from the core of who you are.  There may be times where you do not practice this perfectly and this is where you have the opportunity to begin again with more information about works for you!  If you need help following through with this let me know.  Sometimes we all need someone to work with to make this easier.