Often we wonder if there is any Love in the World. The true answer is always ‘yes,’ and the thing that we lack, by means of how we have been programmed, is called Compassion
There are a few different dictionary definitions of the word “Compassion,” but the one that serves best for this writing is the one that emotion research has coined, which is “the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to help relieve that suffering…” (K. Neff, 2016)
It is not the same as empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person, literally. It is also not altruism, which means that you believe in the practice of being selfless for the sole reason of being able to help others, even if it means that you, yourself, will suffer.
My feeling is that there is way too much suffering going on to begin with, so why would anyone want to martyr themselves that way? Of course, I know we have all been, to an extent, more than one time in each of our lives, altruistic, and also we have each and all been empathetic, and naturally, when it happened upon us (or, unfortunately) when it happened that somehow, our compassion toward someone else would gain us some sort of reward OTHER than knowing that truly, we have helped someone who needed it.
We want for others to really know what we need, but, we have all been raised to be altruistic instead of compassionate, and this is why a whole lot of us feel like we are at a loss. Some of us are in the middle of the harshest times in our lives, and some of us who are experiencing this harshness have become the one person in each of our lives to hate on ourselves, most of the time over things that people told us, and really, the one thing that I teach others the most is how to know what is their deepest truth about themselves.
We do not like our deepest truths, because nestled within them are those good things there that we know are believable, and the reason that we do not like them is because we have been told, all of our lives, that we are essentially “bad.” What we are not told is that we are also essentially good. We are.
We are inherently good
Seriously -we are good, most of us. We are born with the capacity to be good to other people, and we are also born with the ability towards compassionate behavior. You might be wondering why it is that it takes a lot for us to believe this when it is inborn. The answer is very simple – not only have we been raised according to our gender (which is not wrong), but, we have also been raised according to our gender according to the rules of “better society.” In reality, we have been raised to keep men as being unthinking, completely heartless brutes, and women to be the weaker of the two genders, which is wrong, because if it were true, Spirit would never have it that we would have pain in childbirth. I know that no man is ever going to know what it is like, and that is part of why we are powerful when born female – because we literally recreate Life on this planet.
We are inherently good. We are not born into this lifetime to be bad to others. As much, we are also not here to be bad to ourselves. We have been taught, according to what might have been acceptable a lot of years ago, that we have to follow the pack in terms of who is meant to be, and who is not meant to be, compassionate. What no one who was giving us these lessons in who can and cannot give birth thought about is that we were all born as human beings, meaning that we are all given to every emotion that any human being can and does feel. We were not trained or taught to be anything other than our genders.
I cannot say that we were robbed, but will state that we were kept ignorant to the fact that whether you were born male or female doesn’t matter, because we are all meant to feel how we feel, and when we feel bad, we each and all would really like it if someone were there to show us some compassion. Compassion is not someone feeling sorry for us. It is, instead, someone caring enough to understand that we are hurting, that we would really like it if we knew, for sure, that someone would be there for us, not judging us and not making us feel worse than we already do.
Sometimes we don’t want people around, and this is okay, because sometimes, we need to be able to regroup ourselves, get our head together, so that we can face the day again, perhaps not with a smile, but with a goal to end the madness in mind.
Our worst critics, as we all know, are our very selves. We are horrible to ourselves. We tell ourselves that what everyone else said about us, tell ourselves that what we are thinking other people are thinking of us at any given moment, is the only truth of us. I have written it and said it to a whole lot of people over the years, that those people who have actually said things about us, that we think without knowing anyone at all has said about us, might be telling the truth, but, it is THEIR truth, and it never has to be our own. When we believe these ugly, awful things about ourselves that have been presented to us over and over again throughout the course of our lives, for no other reason will we believe such things other than that they have been repeated by others a lot. That it was repeated a lot is one thing. That anyone would repeat it a lot is an issue they have with themselves. Yet, that we believe this garbage coming from other people is the truth of us is putting them squarely in control of us and well, whatever it is that they have said of you…it does not have to be your truth, even as it can (and will be) theirs (no big – their loss)(just sayin’).
What this means is that this is THEIR issue, NOT yours. It was NEVER yours. It would be nice if we could just believe ourselves regarding this but, it is very difficult, namely since we have never been taught how to think otherwise. And really, it is not the fault of our parents or even our grandparents for not teaching these things to us, because the reality is that this is the sort of thinking that they were given as the truth and the only truth.
The one person who needs to be compassionate towards us IS us.
A Thing Called “Self-Compassion”
Indeed, anyone reading this would obviously know, immediately, that I am trying hard to make it understood that everything in our lives begins with ourselves.
It doesn’t matter who has hurt us or if we were ever able to exact revenge on them. What matters is that we learn from what we have gone through. What we learn from what we have gone through is not just the tangible part of those lessons. What else we are meant to learn is not just how to communicate with others, how to be a more Spiritual person, how to be kind, how to give and to show Love – what else we are meant to learn is a thing called Compassion for ourselves.
We have been taught, for generations, that we have to accept the ugliness that is in our lives and work hard to get out of it. This is all fine and lovely, but, the one thing that we are never beginning to think about working hard at is being kind to ourselves. We are taught from the time that we are in the womb about who the world expects us to be. When we do not turn out to be that person, it is first our closest relatives who will make us know that we are not perfect. Then, it will be those who are our extended relatives, then the people who are our little friends or perhaps their parents, then our school teachers, clergy…I could go on and on, but, I am sure that you see what I am saying when I say that we have, for the bulk of our lives, heard only horrible things about ourselves.
It is little wonder to me why it is that we are not more compassionate to ourselves. What is not of little wonder is the idea that that which has taken its toll on us, seeing as how scientifically, that which is created can also be created to have another form (while still being the thing that it was, initially) is something that we can reverse. Most of us believe that we cannot use more than the 10% of our brain that we have been told our whole lives is all what we are able to use. This is wrong. In fact, this is a lie, and the more that we understand this, the more that we believe this, the more the idea of Self-Compassion becomes something that is a practice for a whole lot of us.
We have compassion for other beings, but we have been under the wrong impression that being compassionate towards ourselves is somehow silently telling the world that we are self-centered and self-important, that we are egotistical and arrogant, and that if we Love ourselves, this means that we are conceited. The opposite is the Truth. How we do know how to Love anyone else if we do not know how to Love ourselves? How is it that we can feel the urge towards kindness to others but not to ourselves? Why do we feel so guilty if we merely take a break from the things that are driving us insane at the moment, just so that we can take care of the one person who we take care of the very least – our very selves?
The Other Day…
The other day I had a thought that made the difference for me. What helped was that I was assigned to do research on mindfulness.
I know whole lot about meditative practices, but, the things that I did not know about mindfulness opened my awareness to something completely new to me – the idea, the very one that I never even imagined could be true, was this thing about having compassion for one’s own weary self. Thinking about this made me think about how very harsh I have been with myself over the years. There are not too many people who are close with me who have not told me, again and again, that they do not know why it is that I do not give myself more credit for the words that I write, or even think to take credit (even though I do say thank you) when someone tells me that I have touched their lives with my words.
It is a lovely thing to hear or to read, but, until I started this research project, I had no real idea that I was missing out on something crucial in terms of healing our Souls – we are, collectively, very unkind to ourselves, and some of us do not want to change this about us. We do not want to stop being so harsh and critical with who we are, simply because too many of us are not eager to have to do the self work that is involved. The self work, even though it is physically effortless, is not that simple, and this is because we have to believe the things that we tell ourselves. After a lifetime’s worth of being told who we are, you can imagine that this sort of self-compassion and this sort of self work would be more difficult than a lot of other things are.
It is, from my own experience, very, very difficult. The challenge is not that we are trying to just reprogram our thoughts, we are trying hard to believe the real truths about us that we know are the truth but that we do not state, out loud, at least once a day. Once it was that I was keyed into this much, my research went into high gear with me falling asleep in my chair and my head on my keyboard. (It happens a lot). What I learned is that more people are glued to whatever it is that they see as their goal, but, the majority of them, with myself at time included, have no thought in our heads that it will be a process, that there are going to be detours and reroutes and even things that seem like a roadblock. We do not think about how we will get there – we only think that we need to get there, but, we do not believe that on the way there, that there will be things that get in our way and that more than one time, we will have to stop along the way and try to see to the goal in another direction.
When we see that there is this road ahead of us, and we see that there will be difficulties, we don’t plan for them (okay, so I have learned to plan for them…please keep reading…), and more, we do not emotionally plan for the inevitable failures (because plans have to change sometimes – it doesn’t mean that we, ourselves, are a failure. It simply means that we have to seek out another route), do not plan that we might need to be stronger than we have been in our entire lives, and we do not think ahead in the manner which we would if this were an actual road trip. Instead, we only see the goal – not the path to the goal. We see that we want what is on the other side of the thought, and we ruminate about it, again and again in our minds, and we see this perception of ease, and we expect to get there without learning a damned thing.
The goal is the goal, but what we are not aware of, because we are not thinking about it, is that along the way we will be faced with things and events that are unkind. It is at these times when we feel like we are at our very lowest point that we should be thinking about taking care of ourselves in the manner that is Self-Compassion, in the manner that is giving ourselves a break in spite of everything going on around us.
In spite of everything happening around us, we can and should learn that we are worthy of our own goodness, that we deserve to be spoken to as though we are as much a thinking and feeling Being as anyone else is. With people on this planet who still believe the old way of thought is the best, it is high time that we took it upon ourselves to pat ourselves on the back, wrap our own arms around us and told ourselves that yes, everything happening right now hurts like hell, sucks like anything would…but, like all else that sucks and hurts, this too shall pass.
While it takes its time to pass, and while we are going through all of the things that we will, take a little time to remind yourself that you are worthy of the Love that you already receive from those who value you the most, and include yourself in that Love, because indeed, you are very loved, very cherished, and very well worth everything that you want to give to yourself as well as those who you love the very most.
Until next time…be kind to you…Live Aloha
I Love You All