Practicing Compassion -This week’s e-zine was inspired by a subscriber of Be-Inspired who asked about a relationship challenge she was having.
“A friend was telling me about a challenge she was having with her boyfriend…
Everything she was saying was like a puzzle being pieced together in my head. To me, I actually found it quite fascinating that she was finding this all out and how she was troubled by all of this. The problem was that I couldn’t find it in me to find it as tragic as she thought it was… I couldn’t meet her where she was at or with what she was feeling and it made me feel uncompassionate. I felt like she thought I wasn’t being supportive or compassionate to what she was going through…
My question is why are there times when people can tell me about a problem they are having (and sometimes its quite dramatic or it appears so unrealistic) and I can just listen and essentially have no emotions, whereas at other times I can really get caught up in what is going on with them?”
There are three areas to clarify here.
When relating to a friend, we only become emotional about experiences that have affected us in the past or that we fear could affect us in the future. As humans we have a tendency to become emotionally charged either negatively or positively about others’ experiences, when we are either already emotionally charged, or when we begin to put our attention to a thought, concept, or experience that we have a fear of happening in our own lives relative to what others are going through. With this said, you most likely don’t feel threatened in this area in your life on this particular topic as your friend does. That makes this a positive rather than a negative by-the-way.
Second, don’t jump in the dumps with your friend. Keep in mind, there is no way you will be able to offer your friend clear and constructive help if you are also upset and angry about her boyfriend. In other words, if your friend is “in the dumps” as it is often referred to, then by being emotionally charged as well, it would be like you jumping in to the “dumps” with her. And then the two of you would be in there!
There are many people who seem to feel better when they are not alone in the dumps. But I do not recommend this. More often than not, that is the worst place for a friend to be. In the big picture of life, would you rather have a friend who is emotionally centered and focused so that you can vent to them or ask them to help you to work through an issue or would you rather have an emotionally unclear, unbalanced friend who just gets more caught up in the issue than perhaps even you were in the first place?
Third, let go of your judgments of yourself and trust your instincts. In other words, instead of doubting how you are feeling, the most important question to ask yourself at this point is “Can I allow myself to just feel however I feel instead of judging myself as not being compassionate?” If you don’t feel sad, then you don’t feel sad! It is that simple. Let go of your judgment about yourself and know that how you feel is how you feel.
And a nice quote to complete this…
“An act of compassion cannot be, unless we are also practicing compassion with ourselves.”
Until next time, be inspired and have a wonderful week.
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