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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I agree that compassion and love are linked. I see compassion as a part of love, with love being more encompassing. (At least that’s how I see it right now, it could change!) I found it interesting that you wrote it’s harder to practice compassion for those you don’t love, and I guess this has to do with our definition of love. Love has so many definitions and that’s probably why it’s sometimes hard to write about. If it’s “holding an intention for their best and highest good” (which that encompassing kind is) then it becomes easier to love those we don’t “love” in the smaller way. (Eg, I long ago stopped “loving” the only other man I had a serious relationship with apart from my husband, but I do wish the best for him, that his life is fulfilled and happy.)
And I totally agree with you that love begins with ourselves. It’s not selfish – if we don’t feel loving towards ourselves, sooner or later that lack of love is directed towards others too. It has to be, because what we dislike in ourselves we also dislike when we see it in someone else. It’s easier not to see this, because we tend to avoid people who have traits we dislike in ourselves, but we can’t avoid ourselves!
Thanks for joining in the link-up, especially when you found it a struggle!
I love these link ups Yvonne. Sometimes I’m just not in the best place to start them. It’s a good push though.
Beautiful perspective, Liv. I totally agree that loving our own self is the hardest thing to do but necessary to love others. I haven’t written a compassion piece for a few months. You’ve inspired me to get going on it!
There’s still time to get in Lisa!
Why does loving oneself come so hard for so many? It’s the saddest thing. Is it because these people weren’t loved by parents or others, as children? They have to learn it somewhere, right?
I wish I knew how to fix it.
I love that you still do these posts. I love it!
Your last paragraph says more about you as a human being, than most things about most people.
It’s HARD. And worth it.
I struggle with that – with love beginning with me. I find it so much easier to love others, and to dislike myself. But I guess it might be something I come to terms with slowly, by beginning to try to appreciate what I mean to others. I’ve had several chats lately, and I really LIKE the sound of the person all my friends seem to see in me. But *I* don’t see her. At all. Does that make sense?