❤ “I see you, I hear you, I feel you.” ❤
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. -Dalai Lama
“I found that when I am in a state of ever-expanding love and compassion, I am able to truly feel free. And for that, I am truly thankful.”
Extending our capacity for love and compassion toward ourselves, and those who have hurt us, also expands our capacity for love and compassion toward everyone and everything. I truly believe that if everyone were to proactively expand their capacity for love and compassion, the world would not only be a better place, but it would be the perfect place.
I am now of the belief that the purpose of all hurt is to teach us love and compassion. For if we cannot grow from this, then there was no purpose for it. And if we can all grow from it, then humanity as a whole grows from it.
~Anna Shelley (artist, musician, and muse based in Melbourne, Australia)
“In life we encounter many different experiences. Some are joyful and uplifting, and others are painful and challenging.”
What helps us walk through our suffering and the suffering of others is to become aware of when we are reacting to pain and learn to transform this reaction into a compassionate, caring response.
Cultivating a Compassionate Response
Providing a nonjudgmental presence, connecting with an open heart, and having compassion towards others, as well as yourself, as you listen to others tell their stories is what really heals. This means, the part of us that wants to control or ‘fix’ has to let go and allow ourselves to be present with their pain and our own during this time.
Opening Heart and Mind Helps Connect and Heal
What helps others heal (in challenging and suffering times) and become empowered is their ability to let go of judgment, share their stories in a supportive environment, and learn to develop a practice of self-care and compassion.
What Gets in the Way of Compassion
As we travel through life we will encounter pain. When this happens, the tendency is to get lost in judgment; we beat ourselves or others up in an attempt to stop the pain. This only intensifies our suffering. Caught in this reactive response we forget that there’s a real need to treat ourselves with kindness, love, and compassion. When we turn towards suffering with compassion it helps us heal and reconnect with life.
The Practice of Compassion
In helping people learn the skill of transforming reactivity into a compassionate and caring response. Our deepest need, when we are in pain, is compassion; this is what helps us heal. It is not a luxury, it’s a necessity! This turning towards pain, with an open heart and the intention to heal, is what helps us to live life fully.
Becoming aware of when we are reacting or in any way judging ourselves is the first step. The second step is to become present with how our bodies, minds, and hearts are responding to the experience of pain. Setting an intention to be kind towards ourselves and let go of reacting is what helps us to connect with compassion.
What compassion is:
- A sense of awareness that we and others might be struggling or suffering in some way
- A desire to quell physical or emotional pain
- A connection to other people, rather than an us vs. them mentality
- Seeing ourselves as fully human, with myriad emotional states, as well as choices about ways to act on these states
What compassion isn’t:
- Feeling sorry for another or ourselves, or being in victim mode
- Attempting to fix, save or cure another person from a perspective of one up/one down
- Co-dependent caregiving
- Seeing ourselves or someone else as irredeemably broken
- An excuse for indulging in irresponsible, reckless or dangerous behaviors
- A rationale for turning to drugs or other addictive behaviors to suppress painful feelings
Kristin Neff, PhD, an associate professor of human development and culture at University of Texas at Austin, created a self-compassion test to determine how we view ourselves:
There are dramatic differences in the effects most people experience when needs for love and compassion are met compared to when they aren’t:
Not having our need for love met results in:
- Loneliness and isolation
- Stress-induced physical illness that might include hypertension, cardiac conditions and cancer
- An increased need for medications
- Turning to substances to provide a semblance of comfort
- Engaging in unhealthy relationships, rationalizing that any connection, even one fraught with conflict, is better than being alone
Having our need for love met results in:
- Reciprocal relationships rather than being subjected to one-sided interactions in order to “earn” love
- A decreased likelihood of turning to substances to fill the “hole in the soul”
- An enhancement of self-worth, valuing yourself enough to ask for what you want, rather than merely what you think someone else would agree to
- Experiencing greater fulfillment by discovering your purpose and taking inspired action to see it through
- Treating your body in a way that sustains your health in terms of what you put into it and ways you interact with others sexually
- Standing up for your values
- Saying yes and no with ease, based on your wishes, rather than what you believe is expected of you or you feel obligated to do
- Recognizing that self-love and self-centeredness aren’t synonymous
More on ‘healing power of love and compassion,’ click on the link below:
“Learning to hold our own lives with a gentle compassion is a key element in all emotional healing and spiritual awakening.”