A New Perspective: Show compassion for yourself and for others
Eagle County CO, Colorado
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” ” Jack Kornfield
Practicing compassion means not only working with those who are poor, sick or homeless, but working with yourself as well. Compassion is a very tall order. To the degree we have compassion for ourselves, we will have compassion for others. We all have a lot of heart. Learning to touch the soft spot in our heart has to be the starting point for compassion.
Wikipedia describes compassion as “a profound human emotion prompted by the pain of others. More vigorous than empathy, the feeling commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering.”
This interpretation defines compassion as being outside of the self. A spiritual perspective of compassion reminds us that compassion has to be directed towards our own souls as well as others.
Compassion is to be wherever you are with an open heart. We start with ourselves. It starts with learning to have a compassionate relationship with the parts of us we don’t particularly like. We draw people and situations to us that we need to heal within us, so noticing what we dislike in others reflects our own areas that need healing.
Compassion is the act of not having to be right. We learn that it is not important to make others right or wrong, or ourselves right or wrong. Is it possible that our hearts and minds are big enough to just hang out in the space where it doesn’t matter who’s right or who’s wrong?
Compassion is the act of not shutting anyone out of our hearts. Situations are always shifting and there are as many options in that moment as there are people in the situation. Attempting to always find the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is a trick we play on ourselves. It is about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes; that whatever we feel about them, we feel about ourselves.
Compassion is the act of being there for others. It is the act of speaking and acting in ways that communicate acceptance. Acceptance for what is and for what they are going through without having to fix it. It is about learning to just be available and not needing to then take home their pain for them. We can listen, care and then let it go. This is compassion for ourselves and others; this is a very loving and kind way to live.
The more we practice compassion, our old habitual selves (our patterns) will soften. We will shift in ways we didn’t know were possible. We will begin to see the faces of those we greet. We will hear the words of those we speak with. This happens whether you are aware of the different parts of yourself or not.
The more compassion we have for ourselves, the more compassion we are able to have for others. Our circle of compassion will expand and we will accept the truth of who others’ are without judgment. We will learn to accept the judgments we make about our own behaviors, thoughts and feelings with more gentleness and kindness. When you become compassionate with yourself and others, your world becomes compassionate.
Catherine Zeeb holds a doctorate of philosophy in metaphysics. She has a private therapy practice in Edwards. You can visit her Web site at http://www.healing-spirits.net.