Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Being Compassionate Doesn't Mean Allowing Yourself to be Blamed or Abused

It's interesting, the feeling that I get when I am reminded to be more sensitive to someone when I feel that I've given them an extraordinary amount of sensitivity. It's a funny kind of conflict. I think we have all experienced this feeling to some degree.

On one hand we all have a deeply human need to share our stories with others and to justify our experiences. This is an important part of how we connect with each other, a crucial part of the survival of social animals like humans. When I have offered compassion and understanding and sensitivity and then reach a point where it feels like it doesn't even matter, I want to be able to justify that. I want to spout off with righteous indignation sometimes, to find a way to MAKE someone understand where I'm coming from. To feel like I fit in with my "tribe" of people, I need to know that they understand me and that they still support me.

On the other hand, it doesn't matter whether anyone else understands my point of view. While I might sometimes feel isolated in my opinions or emotions, that is my own experience and nobody else needs to get involved, and certainly nobody "needs" to understand my point of view.

One thing I consciously remind myself of is that it's important to have the courage to stand behind my own decisions. I am the only person who is responsible for myself and my actions. Emotions come and go and sometimes point a person in a variety of confusing directions, but once the dust settles it's important to choose a well thought out direction to go in. Life is always moving no matter how hard we try to slow it down, and every single day through our thoughts and actions we choose new directions. I won't try to pawn my own emotions off on anyone else, because I am responsible for the decisions that create my situation in life. When something makes me unhappy, I have the power to do something that feels better.

Since the only things I can control are my own actions, I do my best to choose those wisely. I strongly believe that we attract the kind of energy that we put out into the universe, so I try to keep my own energy positive. I make a point to keep inspirational quotes and images around our home and on the pages I frequent online. I frequently stop and connect with the earth and the energy around me, and I always remind myself that we are all very closely connected to each other and to the world around us. In these ways I can surround myself with reminders that life is greater and better than temporary frustrations.

I don't think people usually set out to intentionally cause harm, even when I feel like I've been deeply wronged. In my opinion, most human reactions and experiences are a complicated web of the current situation, bottled up feelings about similar situations, past experiences, the other people involved and more. Social circles take on lives of their own, relationships grow and change, and one person's experience with someone might be entirely different than another person's experience with them. We all sometimes need a reminder to be more patient, or more compassionate, or more sensitive.

For me it's sometimes difficult to walk that line between having compassion, and protecting myself from being used or mistreated. I don't think anybody deserves to be blamed for the pain of another person, or to limit their own personal growth out of fear of offending or upsetting someone. I won't set out to cause any kind of pain or harm to another person, but I also won't submit to someone's attempts to blame me for their yucky feelings. Your feelings and thoughts and reactions and behaviors are your own, just like mine are my own, and energy that goes towards blame and anger would be much better served going towards something that will bring positive results.

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