Compassion is such a hard concept. In many ways we view it as either a trait of saints or only drag it out of the closet when it is for the less fortunate. We rarely understand what compassion can do for us and I am not talking about when others show us compassion.
How often do you show yourself compassion? When you make a mistake do you stop and forgive yourself for it? When someone wrongs you, either in a minor or major way, can you find compassion for them?
Let me explain what I mean by compassion. I don’t mean a get out of jail free card. I mean learning to look at ourselves and others with the ability to understand and forgive. Hold people accountable for what was done by all means, but offer them and yourself the gift of compassion. We are all human and we do the best that we can at every moment of our existence. Some of us are graced with being able to do better than others. I want to share a conversation I had with my brother Sean when he was fifteen and I was nineteen. We were talking about religion and he asked if I believed that people go to hell because of mistakes that they make. I told him that I believe that when we are judged not on our worst but our best. So if are a serial killer you would be judged on how many you did not kill not on how many you did. Does that mean you would get a big old welcome in to the pearly gates? Probably not, but I do believe that you would be met with compassion and possibly a fan.
So much of our personal and cultural pain is caused by blame without compassion. We need to show ourselves compassion to have the chance to heal from the hurts we have caused others. We need to show compassion to others to heal the hurts that have been done to us. I don’t hate my ex-boyfriend. I hate what he did to me, but I feel compassion for him because he is missing something that is necessary to treat life with respect. Will I ever let him abuse me again? NO. If he ever tried I would compassionately call the police and have him locked up.
My forgiveness and compassion towards him is not for him, but for me. It allows me to release the pain that he caused me. It allows me to release the damage and doubt that those years have caused. My compassion allows me to accept that time and abuse as the past. Something that cannot be changed, can be learned from and then let go.
Offer yourself compassion and offer it to others. For your sake so that you can move on. Trust me when I say that you deserve it.