“Empathy is the key to understanding and forgiving others……Compassion comes from the heart, and it is illustrated by being kind and benevolent to all living things.”
Brian L. Weiss, M.D.
Can you imagine feeling kindly and benevolent toward someone who has caused harm to your child…… or any child?
I’m pretty sure it would be a stretch.
How about empathy or caring toward someone who has beaten your sister or your neighbour, or refused shelter to an old person, or not given medicine to someone dying. I find it very difficult to feel compassion for someone who would do any of those things. And yet, and yet….
Can you remember a time when you failed to understand another person’s point of view, their values, or a particular need they might have?
When was the last time you refused the request of someone who asked something of you? I remember many long years ago when I felt my life was as stressed and full as I could tolerate, a dying childhood friend from whom I had been estranged for many years, via her brother of whom I was afraid, asked me to visit her and I turned her down. I didn’t go. I said no. I suspect at the least I disappointed a brother trying to respond to his sister’s request. And of course, I turned down a wish from a woman dying of cancer with whom I had been dear friends. For many years I carried shame and a desire to hide that less than stellar memory of myself.
Now I feel compassion for my young self who felt stretched to her limit. At the time, I had no forgiveness for that self, only fear and dissatisfaction.
Today I can find empathy- an understanding- for the brother who wanted to give his dying sister some solace. I feel profound empathy for my friend who wanted to talk with me. I understand and it all makes sense.
I also feel compassion for both of them: it was a time of desperation and they were reaching out. My mind understands, my heart feels kindly and caring and I regret not responding with more courage.
I understand why I was unable to give what was asked of me and I feel kindly toward my young selfish self who needed to hide because she didn’t know what else to do.
Allow yourself, give yourself permission, to search your soul. What disappointments in your precious self do you still carry? Can you set aside judgement and criticism of yourself and lovingly hold your imperfect self in your heart? Forgiving does not mean what was done was okay to have been done. Forgiving means loving and letting go and accepting that sometimes we are too fragile to be our very best self.
We all deserve a be a little less self judging and disparaging and to have a whole lot more compassion in our very basic goodness. It would be a good thing if we could all practice giving others a little more understanding and empathy, even when we disagree. It might be true that everyone really is doing the best they know how to do at that particular moment.
- I am grateful for an excellent night’s sleep Yay essential oils
- I am grateful for an especially lovely cup of tea this morning
- I am grateful for the sun and blue sky, sidewalks without ice, snow taken care of so generously for me by my neighbour
- I am grateful for kind words I have received from surprising places.
- I am grateful Aimee isn’t plastering herself against me at night lately and I have more room for me
From my heart, Nancy