What does being your best have to do with compassion?
Before I knew how to love myself, treat my body well, and meet my emotional and friendship needs, I was a much more critical and judgemental person. I often felt bad for people (sympathy) and wanted to do good in the world (desire) but the action was not there. My heart was not in a place to give back.
What started as a journey through reading self-help books, going to counseling, and getting healthy, turned into a lifelong journey of wanting others to experience life as their fullest: which means not only mental health, but giving people access to the opportunity to grow, and all the needs that must be met before personal development can truly happen.
Being your best never ends with you, it affects your whole world.
Self-love and self-compassion
That's right, as the typical life coach of the group, I'm going to start with you. It is really hard to genuinely love others when you don't love yourself. It is hard to give freely when you're lacking. I used to be worried that if I focused so much on myself, I would become a self-absorbed person, but oddly enough, the more I know myself, love myself, and treat myself with kindness, my heart for others has changed as well. It has everything to do with understanding the needs of the human heart. When you begin to understand how important it is for your needs to be met, your eyes open to the needs of others.
My eyes were opened to the needs of humanity
As I mentioned, the more I saw myself as a human with needs, emotions, dreams, and wounds needing healing, the more I saw others in the same light. Things that once annoyed me about others became signs of their needs and pain. My privilege was revealed to me. The basic needs of others became more noticeable. To put it plainly, I became aware of the needs of others, because my focus wasn't on how my needs weren't met.
Education and an understanding heart
Putting myself in the way of new ideas, different opinions, and trying to understand people who were different than me was huge in my growth toward compassion. It has always been easy for me to have compassion for people just like me. But sitting and listening to people directly affected by the #blacklivesmatter movement, to people directly affected by government policy changes, even to friends who I don't share a similar past... once I opened myself up to understanding others who were not like me, my heart tore open like never before.
Live in Action
I try to live by the mantra, "love is an action," and to me, compassion is a position of the heart to genuine love for humanity. Opening your heart to others who are different than you, then choosing to live in a way which feels most authentic to you is a must. For me this has meant staying curious and open to learning, shopping ethically when I have the option, giving back to causes with my time and money, and choosing to engage with my everyday life more mindfully.
Starting with you never ends with you. Your life is a ripple effect. Your self-love will flow into others, and if channeled with love, will give you a life of compassion, not only towards yourself, but to humanity as a whole.
If love is an action, what are you moving towards?
Compassion Gathering This Saturday
You'll hear from motivational speaker & actress Collen Kirk plus our own Kate Alsup
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See you Saturday!