Compassion always works

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***I haven’t blogged for a while, but here’s something that has helped me SO MUCH with releasing old wounds and patterns and has improved my well-being and relationships that I think you should know about it, too:***
 
Here’s something that everyone should know: When you feel emotional pain, the most effective and fail-safe way to release it is to have compassion for yourself. This is a technique you need to practice in order to master it, but it is so worth it!

Here’s how to do this:

1. When you suffer emotionally, imagine that this pain is a part of you that has been hurt. Imagine this part as a child (= yourself), at whatever age comes to you. This child is suffering for some reason. Let it express what it feels: “I am …”, “I feel…”.

2. Do these feelings seem familiar from a situation in your past? When was the first time you experienced these emotions?

3. Ask it what it needs. Ask it what it desires.

4. Then simply be with it and transmit the feeling that the child’s emotions and thoughts are completely understandable, that it has every right to have them. Try to look at the child compassionately. You can’t fake this, but if you can’t do it at first (maybe because no one has ever had compassion for you), just looking at the child with a neutral feeling will work, too.

If you feel angry or impatient that you can’t do this, have compassion for the angry and impatient part of yourself. When you are scared, bored, whatever, have compassion for those parts of yourself, first.

If you find it difficult to do this, you can also imagine your emotional pain to be an animal – whichever animal works for you. Can you have compassion for the frightened horse, the angry dog, etc.? Or can you feel understanding for it, or at least look at it neutrally?

You can also ask for help from whatever higher power you believe in, or if you don’t believe in any, just ask nature (or the tree outside your house, or the potted plant in your room;) to help you. This practice is in fact easier when you are outdoors in nature, because there’s an energy in nature that makes it easy to believe that the trees, river, plants etc are looking at your compassionately (or neutrally, but they certainly don’t judge you) – this may also be helpful.

When you find the right approach for you and practice for a while, you will find that the pain is released and you feel a lot better, and/or you’ll have uncovered more layers of emotions (= more work). You don’t have to do all of the above; just pick what you feel most comfortable with.

Compassion is a skill that you can practice. It is very important that you have compassion for yourself first, because you will only feel resentful towards others when you give them your compassion but deny it to yourself. Eventually though, you will find yourself feeling compassion for others as a consequence of this practice.

Although this is very basic stuff, it’s counter-intuitive and I certainly didn’t come up with it myself. Credit goes to authors and coaches Martha Beck, Katja Sundermeier (who wrote an excellent book about this in German), Tosha Silver, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, but also to myself for working so hard to learn this.

The next time you are in pain, or shit happens (and it seems to happen a lot), you have an opportunity to practice this. I hope you do, as it is one of the most important and life-changing skills one can have.

Thanks for reading! If you have questions or remarks about this, comment away below!


Photo credit: “Scott Adams Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end” by BK. Creative Commons license: CC BY-SA 2.0. No changes were made to the photo.
 
 

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