Empathy and Compassion

In a love addiction anonymous meeting recently I asked the folks in the zoom meeting how one can be compassionate but not tolerate someone’s bad behaviour?  The answer was so brilliant. D said that compassion doesn’t mean we have to take responsibility for someone else or their behaviour.

I am reading an incredible book at the moment written by the brilliant Kirsten Neff called Self-compassion.  What I love about it is it is well researched so it speaks to my intellect, it gives practical exercises so it speaks to the action-orientated, accountability coach within and she speaks so eloquently and heart felt about the topic of self-compassion which is nurturing and growthful.  I highly recommend you read it and do the exercises.

Two days ago I moved out of our family home.  I have asked my husband for a 6-month trial separation.  I have asked God to give me the strength to stay if He/She wants me to stay and the strength to go if He/She wants me to go.  I have compassion for myself and my husband which has made it a little easier being able to make big decisions.  I am handing the outcome to my Higher Power, surrendering and living in the moment.  I find when I fear the future I am not being compassionate to myself or those around me because I am not living in the gift of the present moment.

As a love addict and co-dependent, I have struggled with enabling and empowering those I love, my family and friends.  One night I had a soul to soul chat with God and I asked Him/Her what is the difference between enabling and empowering the people we love and the following is what I heard:

Nurturing = love + boundaries = empowering

Enabling = pleasing + no boundaries = disempowering

The first place I started was to look at where I was doing things for people that they could be doing it for themselves.

Second I am on a journey to understand that my desire to please others comes from a low sense of self-value and worth.  When I feel the strong pull to please someone I look at where my connection with God is.  If I am disconnected I reconnect through prayer, meditation, and breath and then I often can resist the need to please others at my own expense.

Compassion and empathy start at home, in ourselves, and then to connect with that which is greater than us and to right-size things. Nothing is greater than me, I am not greater than anything else. From that place of humility, I breathe a deep breath of Grace and peace beyond understanding.


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