Compassion Heals
October 27, 2021
November 29, 2021
Self Care

Practicing compassion allows me to see the whole world and myself in a different light. I believe, now more than ever, we need compassion and kindness, not only for our fellow humans, but especially for ourselves. A compassion practice is incomplete if it only focuses outward. It must also focus inward.

Compassion and kindness allowed me to forgive, forget and move on from  perceived hurts from others; as well as forgive myself for my choices over the years.

I learned the hard way that what may seem like the path of least resistance - irritation at people for their their rudeness or unpleasantness - never changes the behavior of the offending party of course. Becoming angry and annoyed in those situations only made me feel worse.

Even more powerful, is compassion for loved ones who have intentionally or unintentionally hurt me. I know rationally "hurt people hurt people," but that hurt is often deep and incredibly painful. It is definitely not easy for me to endlessly find compassion, but I realize holding on to resentment and anger is painful. I choose to live without holding grudges.

So instead of irritation, allow yourself a moment of compassion. The offending person may be experiencing a challenging situation. A loss of a job, a pet, a loved one or something even more painful. Find compassion for this fellow traveler, offer a smile, a kind word, let them go in front of you in traffic or in line. They may not wave or nod in appreciation but let that go too. And in instances of conflicts within friendships or families, perhaps focus on what you agree on versus what you don't.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. Plato

Our compassion practice must begin with ourselves. So as you make your way down this list, find compassion and empathy for yourself and ALL of the struggles you are experiencing in this moment - no matter how seemingly insignificant.

  • Find compassion for yourself. Find gratitude for your journey and the steps along the way. Forgive yourself for the steps in the wrong direction and congratulate yourself for the steps in the right direction. Compassion for self is the not only the first step of compassion towards others, but it's non-negotiable for our own self-love and self-acceptance.
  • Allow Yourself and Others Room. Room to grieve, to be okay, to not be okay, to stay in bed all day. Whatever it is you need - take it. Find patience with loved ones and how they express themselves. Whether you approve or not.
  • Compassion begins with forgiveness. Forgive yourself, forgive loved ones, strangers. We are all in this together, we are all connected, let's not let our small mindedness and selfishness stand in the way of a beautiful shared experience.
  • A lovingkindness meditation cultivates compassion. When I first began my lovingkindness meditation, I struggled with finding love, compassion or kindness for those in my life who I felt had wronged me. After a consistent practice, I let that go and now my it's easier to find compassion towards myself and others. We practice Lovingkindness Meditations at our Mindfulness and Meditation Retreats.
  • Begin a gratitude practice. Focusing on gratitude for what you have, what you've survived and what you've let go, encourages a whole new perspective. Your new perspective will allow you to see you're not alone in struggles and challenges. Let that turn into compassion for others and what they may be struggling with.
  • Remember everyone is doing the best they can. Before judging someone for a perceived slight, take a moment to see them as a kindred spirit on a similar path to yours. Complete with ups and downs, and sometimes unimaginable struggles.

When we recognize we're all doing the best we can and we are in this together and connected to each other - despite our differences - compassion is the only choice. And once we find compassion, kindness is inevitable.

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Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

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