I’ve been struggling to find some inspiration for this month’s #1000Speak topic – Love. I think a part of my problem is that I just can’t separate “compassion” from “love”. The two are inexorably intertwined.
When I think about compassion, two people come to mind:
The Dalai Lama has spent a good part of his life preaching the importance of compassion as the source of a happy life. He said “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
Mother Teresa’s mission was to care for “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.” Of love and compassion, she said “Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do…but how much love we put in that action.”
I think that “at home” is very personal. In order to feel love, you have to start with yourself. Only once you have truly looked at who you are, and felt love for yourself – can you begin to love others. I know that there are parts of myself that I’m still working on. I can forgive myself for that. I know who I want to be – and who I want to love. I have to practice compassion for myself when I falter. I have to redirect myself with intention. I have to set my path and try to follow it.
It is easy to practice compassion for those that you love. My husband, my children, my family – they own my heart. It is easy to forgive their faults because of that love.
Similarly, it is difficult to practice compassion for those that you do not love. My continuing issues with my ex husband make it easy for me to focus on his faults and forget compassion. But if I set my intention to be compassionate, and I’m deliberate with each of my actions, I can act with compassion and understanding. Even forgetting him, if I love myself, I know that acting with compassion is what I must do. I can’t love myself unless I do.
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