While being compassionate can be seen as the right way to be, it is not always the easiest option. What can be easier is to go to the other extreme and to become indifferent to other people’s problems and the suffering they are going through or have gone through.
And not only can one be this way towards others, they can also end up being this way towards themselves; this can cause them to be their own worst enemy. The need could be there for them to be kind and understanding, and yet they end up being critical and even abusive to themselves.
So compassion is something that one can show internally and externally, or they can just show it externally and deny its existence internally for instance. But if one has trouble showing it to themselves, it is likely to be something they have trouble showing to others.
It has to start somewhere and when one is compassionate to their own struggles and the suffering they go through, it will be a lot easier to show it to others. Generally, one cannot give what they haven’t got.
At times, displaying compassion can sound like some kind of technique that one uses. And through displaying this, they can come across in the right way and be an example to others. To see it as something that one achieves by changing their behaviour or their thinking, could work for some people.
In the beginning it might feel strange and that one is putting on an act, but as time passes, it could become part of who they are. However, for others this approach could just lead to denial and result in them repressing how they truly feel.
As a result of one coming to the conclusion that they have to be this way, either through their own initiative or through other peoples say so, they could end up feeling guilty if they were to act in another way
It is then not something that one chooses to do; it becomes an obligation and something that one feels they have to do. Ironically, it ends up being another way for one to show a lack of compassion to themselves; with there being the potential for this to be projected onto others.
Suffering is part of life in many ways and while some forms of suffering can be removed by changing ones perception, there will be other occurrences where changing ones perception will be a lot harder.
So as each and every one of us has suffered and will continue to experience different forms of suffering until the day we die, it is clear that suffering is a lot easier to handle when we are around people who are compassionate.
To be indifferent to another would be the same as being indifferent to ourselves, it might be normal, but it is not healthy. If one was suffering, it is highly likely that they would want another to offer their compassion. So based on these points, it can seem strange as to why someone wouldn’t have compassion.
This doesn’t mean one will show it all the time; human beings are not perfect and so this would be unrealistic. But to expect another to show it at certain times would be a reasonable expectation.
While the heart has a biological purpose and this is something that is widely known, what is not as well known is that it offers so much more. And one of the things that can be found there is compassion.
The heart is also where empathy is found and is the area of the body that can cause us to feel connected to others. However, just because one has a heart, it doesn’t mean that it is open.
When it is closed, it will be easier for one to take advantage of another and to harm them. For if one doesn’t have the ability to feel compassion or to empathise with another, then there won’t be anything to stop them from violating another person.
So if suffering is part of life and can’t be completely avoided, then there are at least two options that one can choose from. One is to embrace pain and to process what happens. This processing could take a while, even a few years, if it relates to the loss of a loved one for example.
Another option would be for one to close their heart completely. One will probably become numb and disconnected from their good feelings, but they will be able to avoid the bad ones.
The first option will enable them to have compassion and empathy: as they have faced their pain, it will allow them to see another person’s pain differently.
Whereas the second option will generally cause one to lose touch with what the heart offers: so compassion and empathy will no longer be able to be experienced.
If one was in an environment that was cruel and lacked feeling, then closing ones heart would be perfectly normal. There might have been very little else for them to do.
And in order for the heart to open, the ego mind, the brain just above ones stomach, needs to feel safe. When this brain feels safe, the heart will be able to open.
In order for the heart to open and one to feel safe, it will be necessary for them to release the emotions that have become trapped there. This can be done with the assistance of a therapist or a healer.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.