When I was younger I held the belief that the world was black and white, right or wrong. I rarely questioned this concept. As I have gotten older, I have come to realize things are never what they seem to the naked eye, and shades of grey rule my existence far more than anything concrete and un-changeable.
I find forgiveness to be easier as I have gotten older too; there isn’t a person on Earth that I expend energy holding a grudge toward in any capacity of my life. I may have momentary flashes of anger toward a person, though it will usually lead me to introspection and a different perception.
I am not usually motivated to be right; I’d rather be happy. I am motivated through a sense of connection, creation, love, passion and compassion.
I try to stay away from being self-righteous, although it can creep up on a person. The realization that you are on your high horse can be a rude awakening. It takes a heck of a lot of energy to stay in the saddle of self-righteous thoughts and behaviors. And catching yourself in the act can be the wake up call to unhitch the saddle and start walking toward compassion.
There have been times I have built a case against someone. I’ve done it when I’ve been hurt, felt misused, angry or allowed myself to be victimized in some way. Examining “why” will lead to change. That is why many of us would rather suffer in the pain than have the scary specter of the “unknown”. You know… being compelled to take action; create change. We’d rather suck it up. Instead of being there for ourselves, compassionate to our feelings, we toss our feelings aside. The frightening thought that we may have to say something uncomfortable to someone who has hurt or offended us becomes cause for alarm. It scares people!! What if someone doesn’t like us because we stood up for ourselves?
It seems to be this way in my life. When it rains it pours (the pitter patter of the Universe waking me up). From family members to friends and clients, I was recently faced with this situation in every area of my life. I realized I had been pretty flexible or unclear with my boundaries, accommodating some at my expense. I decided I could continue each situation and let it go (actually we don’t let it go, we just stuff it in an overstuffed sock drawer in our mind to burst out later when it happens again), or practice authenticity and compassion.
Communication is the connection. If your relationship cannot withstand honest dialogue, it is probably sinking in quicksand. There are seemingly a lot of unsaid things beneath the surface. It means no real intimacy, truth, respect or friendship when you pretend it is all okay. Again, sucking it up and acting like everything is hunky dory is a huge disservice to all people involved. It continues the vicious cycle of resentment, anger and pain… ugh!! I practice compassion instead. I refuse to pile on the baggage of fear.
For me, each situation provided a different opportunity. The communication was not similar, but the consistency of honesty and compassion were the foundation. Each situation yielded distinct results. I came to new realizations and I am happy. It was scary as I navigated my way to find words, because I was intimidated by what could happen. I took the risk all in the name of COMPASSION. Not just compassion for me, but for others. If I would’ve sucked it up, I would have made the other person suffer in the long run too because I would’ve been adding ingredients to a “stew” of resentment. Lucky me, now I get to celebrate the freedom in feeling light, allowing me to make clear-hearted decisions rather than block-headed ones.
I know many people who suffer from not being compassionate toward themselves. It can be difficult to break patterns. It is hard to set boundaries, especially when you believe you’re equipped with supernatural powers to make others happy. Or maybe you are always the person to accomodate another’s schedule while disregarding your own. Maybe it comes down to making others like you, love you or think you are the bee’s knees. You may have a need and are compelled to be of service to others. Maybe you say “yes” when you mean “no”, or maybe you’ve allowed yourself to be a dumping ground for other people and allow them to unload their issues on you and blame you, if you protest. I have heard these statements from many personally, professionally and from myself in the past.
It is easy to become self-righteous and indignant when you feel you are giving too much. It always comes back to the same thing, giving with no strings attached from the bottom of your heart and to not be in control, liked, approved of or validated. If you are depleted then STOP! Back up. Danger Will Robinson! Have compassion for the person you will end up resenting because you’ve kept a scorecard. It takes a lot of energy to keep score.
Compassion gives you a kinder, gentler, more genuine way to go through life. It is the way to peace for us all. Joy breeds joy and a heart unencumbered by resentment leads to deeper connections, happiness and an opportunity for the positive to come knocking on your door.
Picture is Quan Yin (Guanyin) Goddess of Compassion.