Compassion arises when we open ourselves to the tender and perhaps painful aspects
of ourselves, others and life’s experiences, with unconditional love, acceptance and
Compassion means to "suffer with.” Embodying the capacity to be there with someone, no matter what they are going through, as they are. We want them to be free of the suffering, but without the need to ‘fix’ them, judge them or label them. Regardless of how uncomfortable or pleasant it is - we will be by their side and get through it WITH them.
Imagine a world where we were compassionate to ourselves and others!!! **mind blown**
Compassion is the antidote to so many things. Research shows that self compassion increases our self worth and self esteem, and buffers us against stress, anger and depression. I know it’s potency, for it saved me last year.
As many of you may know, my dear mother passed away in January last year. Although she had been diagnosed with an incurable cancer nearly two years earlier. Nothing could prepare me for her passing.
I knew there would be tears and heartbreak, but I didn’t anticipate the physical and emotional exhaustion. The dark cloud of grief weighed heavy over me. To add to my own misery, many of my experiences were coated with judgement, loathing and meaning making.
There were days.
Why was practising yoga and meditation hard? Because it meant that I had to be with myself. I had to ’suffer with’ my grief, my loss, my frustrations and sadness. My emptiness, disbelief and fears.
Compassion takes Courage
It takes great courage to be with ourselves. To show up to our physical body, our emotions and thoughts. This is the gift of yoga and mindfulness. Always inviting ourselves back to ourselves. Inviting us to come home, however we are.
With kindness and compassion, I returned to the mat each day, even if that meant simply laying on bolsters and being still.
I showed up TO myself. I showed up FOR myself.
When difficult feelings arose, I resisted the temptation to distract myself and ‘feel better’. Instead, I turned toward these feelings, softly and let them in. When judgements or criticism arose (like those above) I gently reminded myself, “Cut yourself some slack Ange. Mum is gone. Forever.” Compassion allowed me to quieten the self-critic and transform my negative patterns. What sweet relief. To accept myself however I was in any moment.
I came to realise that this is what it means to be have felt great love and know that you will never see them again.
This is what it feels like to lose a part of yourself.
This is what it means to know love,
to feel loss.
to be alive.
to be human.
This is compassion.
This is courage.
This is love.
When the tough gets going, the tough...soften
When the lens that we look at ourselves and others through is coated in love, compassion and acceptance, the bravado that we protect ourselves with, the self-image we project onto others, the guarding walls around our heart gently cascade down. We crack open the shell and let the light in. Let the love in and start connecting with who and how we really are.
When we offer compassion to ourselves, it’s like receiving a warm hug from a loved one.
Rather than resisting feelings, we allow them in. To be felt and validated.
Feelings of sadness, grief, loss and despair, start to dissolve. Replaced with feelings of warmth and love.
We allow emotions to move through us, rather than weigh us down.
For me, respecting and experiencing these emotions allowed me to connect with why I was grieving…
I was loved.
I had experienced a love that was this hard to let go off.
Compassion became a gateway to gratitude.
Even on my darkest days, I knew the timeframe in which I felt this depth of sadness would narrow over time, but I did not set timelines or expectations as to when that would be.
I let myself be.
As time has passed by, I came to realise that although mum is no longer here on earth. Her love never left me.
Compassion invites understanding and joy
Through compassion we can experience the fullness of life in all of it’s extremes, difficulties and triumphs, sadness and joy.
We broaden our capacity to meet ourselves, our lives and others, in each moment. Through our own tragedies and struggles we realise that we are simply doing the best we can in any moment... and so is everyone else. We never know what others are going through and we certainly don’t have all the answers for them. But we notice if we are directing negative judgements onto them as we do to ourselves. Through awareness, compassion and courage we can learn to be WITH them. However they show up.
Compassion invites kindness, understanding and joy into our lives and relationships.
I know, without doubt, that I am more resilient, happy and confident in myself right now because of compassion. Life is a wild ride and in a world that perpetuations distractions, there are many invitations to avoid and suppress difficult experiences and emotions. Compassion allows us to explore and learn from these experiences in an adaptive way. We discover our capacity is far greater than we realise.
I learnt many lessons last year. Too many for one blog 😃. Through compassion, I discovered what genuine courage and strength meant and that I had it in abundance.
The most valuable lesson from last year? Through compassion I learnt how to love and accept myself. Even in the dark.
May we offer ourselves and one another love, compassion and acceptance - just as we are xo
Hi, I'm Ange.