compassion and empathy

Compassion and Empathy

Compassion and empathy are two words which have found their way more and more into our everyday language.  Do we really understand what they mean and are we practicing these values?

I am still learning and integrating these two words and certainly at times I have to work really hard to bring in these emotions.

Certainly there are specific therapies that now focus on compassion such as Compassion Focused Therapy but we don’t need to go to a workshop or class to achieve compassion.

If we want to bring these aspects into our lives we need understand what they are first.  Recently I read a description that highlights the subtle difference between empathy and compassion.  In his book  “Same Soul – Many Lives” Dr B Weiss states that empathy is an intellectual approach in trying to understand another person’s feelings.  Compassion is more instinctual and comes from the heart so you can be compassionate without being empathic.

Trying to understand another person’s feeling can increase our awareness of others situations which we may have no prior knowledge or understanding of.  It can often be suggested to “walk in another’s shoes” – to understand and appreciate how the other person is feeling.

Compassion is often a spontaneous feeling and comes from the heart with actions that are based in kindness.  Both empathy and compassion take us on the eventual path of unconditional love.

It can be incredibly hard to put these into practice at times especially when you have been hurt by others but we always have choices in how we react and we choose our attitude.  It can take a lot of mental strength, awareness and inner calm to show compassion but by doing so can drastically change the whole situation.  Often it is not about changing the other person but it is about changing ourselves.  If you come from a place of compassion then you are less likely to feel anger or frustration, stress will be reduced and you can let go of grudges and bring in forgiveness.   This in turn may have a positive effect on the other person and thus changing the energy between you both.

It may mean taking time out to think and reflect quietly about a situation and then going back with a compassionate and/or empathic response.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:-

  • How would I feel if I were in their shoes?
  • What is contributing to them acting/behaving as they do?
  • If I was at my most compassionate self how would I see the situation and how would I want to respond?

Compassion and empathy are not just for others but are equally important for ourselves.  The starting point is always with ourselves and by being compassionate i.e. being kind and understanding, these two emotions and values can greatly enhance our lives and lead to the ultimate goal of unconditional love.

goals

Goals – where next for 2019?

As we start the New Year does it leave you feeling energised and excited about the months ahead or flat and unmotivated?

The date of 1st January is irrelevant as it only represents the limitations of time that we have put in place.  However there is something to be said about having ideas of what you want to get out of life.  At times it may be okay to go with the flow and drift through life although there is a danger that others will then influence your choices.

When we set out our own aspirations, dreams and goals then we are more likely to achieve them.  It has been proven that if you write out or share your goals then success of reaching your goal is greatly increased.

Just keeping a thought in your mind is probably not going to be enough; action needs to happen along with support and encouragement from others.  It is easy to get side tracked by internal doubts and worries and these can be used as an excuse to either not get started or to give up on your dreams.  As explained in my video here – when we reach the end of our life it will be the things that we haven’t done that we will regret.

There are several ways to help support the first part your achievement.  Write them down and put them somewhere that you can see them every day.  Instead of writing, depict your aspirations visually in a vision board placing it as a screen saver or a poster.

If you are not sure what you want to do you may like to do this exercise of listing what you want/have/don’t want and don’t have by using this template.  Once you have completed the columns turn the “don’t want” into what do you want instead?  This will help you to start identifying your goals.

Create a Be/Do/Have list – without judgement or preconceptions keep adding to your list over a few weeks.  Are there any themes?  Is there something in there that you have always wanted to do?

Are you somebody that starts and then gets stuck?  Remind yourself why this goal is really important to you – what are you going to gain from it, how is it going to affect your life?  Remember 90% of achieving goals is knowing why it is important to you, 10% is how you will achieve it. If you are a champion procrastinator lean how to use EFT or Tapping to break down those blocks.

These are just a few suggestions that will help you get on your way of creating a year that you can look back on with pride, contentment, enjoyment and satisfaction.

Have an adventurous, exciting, fun-filled and challenging 2019!