Monday, August 2, 2010

Mindful Mondays: #3 Compassion

"By compassion we make others' misery our own, and so, by relieving them, we relieve ourselves also." 
- Thomas Browne, Sr.

Compassion.  Its a hard thing for many people to feel.  Its not something that is encouraged in our consumption obsessed, self-absorbed society.  And, yet, all spiritual teachings list it as a great virtue.... the ability to feel, through love, another persons pain.  No, really feel it.

Anyway, compassion comes easy for me.  I cry (or tear up) at every cheesy moment in any piece of fiction.  I avoid the news because my heart breaks for victims of crime (or nature), I'll forgive friends, family and acquaintances at the drop of a hat.... ("they're having a hard day").  What I can't ever seem to do is extend that same courtesy to myself.

I mean, how does that work?  How can you feel compassion for (nearly) everyone in the world and NOT for yourself?

And then I realized....  If I forgive myself, then maybe I'll have to go easy on myself, and maybe I won't be who-I-am anymore.  (as if that makes any sense, I know)

Its almost like I'm afraid to be nice to myself.

So, now I know, I should be willing to show myself the same amount of compassion that I extend to others, but....  I don't know how.  And usually, if I'm stuck on something, I start at the beginning.  But, the beginning is 30 years ago and, not having access to a time machine, I suppose I'll have to start from now.  But I always feel so silly when I give myself a hug...

How do you show yourself compassion?  Which comes easier to you, compassion for others, or for yourself?


Nicole Redman said...

Our culture sees compassion for oneself as feeling sorry for yourself, or making excuses...

mamarolf said...

I hadn't really thought of that... you're right. So, we're supposed to be selfish but not make excuses for it? this is getting confusing ;)


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