COMPASSION IS ESSENTIAL FOR QUALITY RELATIONSHIPS
This is lesson #2 of a series I am sharing with you over the next few days and weeks on the key elements that are the foundation for excellent communication. I am hoping that you will be able to use the tools in some way that benefits you and makes a difference in your life.
The reason I believe communication to be so important and valuable is it the most relevant way we have to truly connect with others. Communication is made up of many parts, our words, how we say them, our body language and tone. If we all truly learn the Art of Positive Communication we will experience less conflict & misunderstandings in our lives and a lot more cooperation, appreciation and loving harmony, personally, professionally and globally. Communication is an equal opportunity skill that will improve our intimate relationships, create healthier families, communities will be more collaborative, corporate values will shift and nations more united.
I do like to say that being a stellar Communicator is really all about lots of “C” words, Curiousity, Consciousness, Compassion, Connection, Collaboration, Control, Consideration, Care.
So what is COMPASSION?
COMPASSION: (kuhm-pash-uhn) NOUN: a feeling of deep empathy, care and understanding for another who is upset, hurting, in pain or stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to care for and alleviate the suffering. It means to have heart.
We all need to learn to have an endless well of compassion if we are to improve our connections with others, which in a lot of cases means we need to suspend judgement, our own self talk and reactivity. Empathy and compassion are the underlying premise of all positive connections and conversations and is the cord between hearts. Compassion is different than sympathy and is simply the ability to remain in an open loving heart and be with someone else’s pain even when it is sometimes directed at you. This can sometimes be difficult to actually achieve, however it is vitally important to any relationship.
For any successful healthy relationship both parties need to feel heard, understood, appreciated and accepted, however resolution when there are differences or conflict is a process that sometimes cannot happen immediately, but happens over some time, hours, days or weeks. We sometimes have to be patient with the process. When someone is experiencing upset they may not have the capacity for compassion in that moment and that is why it is so important for any of us to have an endless well of compassion for the person who is experiencing some strong feelings, whatever the cause, even if you are the cause. In our family we call our upsets “big feelings” and we all know when there are some “big feelings” happening that it is our time to bring on the compassion, attentive listening and care for the person having the ‘big feelings”
To have compassion and remain compassionate can be difficult sometimes if those “big feelings” are directed at you, however this is where it is vital not to take anything personally, stay calm and remember that any upset is more about the other person than it is about you. I am also not advocating that you stay in any abusive situation but I am saying that compassion is the antidote to upset, pain, hurt and conflict.
It is a natural human response to feel defensive or on guard when someone’s pain, hurt, upset or a complaint is directed at us, however this is where the rubber meets the road so to speak in any conflictual interaction, and where we all must learn NOT to take someone else’s pain on, don’t take anything personally no matter what, and to remain in our compassionate heart, because that compassion is the glue in the relationship, whether it is a personal or professional relationship.
I often used to say to my husband when I was upset that the only action required was for him to have compassion for me in those difficult moments. Nothing else, just compassion. Trust is built on compassion because it makes others feel important and valuable and that you care about their well being.
Another point that is important to remember about being compassionate is it allows the other person to take responsibility for their own feelings and work through to the deeper issues. It allows all of us the opportunity to let others be responsible for themselves, not try to fix them or the situation, or be codependent ourselves. The beauty in this is it allows for you to be an integral part of someone else’s personal growth. What you are creating in that moment is a strong connection, an intimate bond in our common humanity to heal and grown in our aspiration for acceptance and love.
You will also need to learn to reflect back what is being expressed and how it makes sense to you knowing the other person (more on that in later issues) Compassionate Reflection is the action required after someone has shared with you, so the other person knows you have heard and understood what they have communicated. It is a simple summary of what you believe you heard the other person saying which gives them the opportunity to agree or adjust the message or to continue in more depth.
I believe that the pursuit of love, appreciation and acknowledgement is probably one of our most fundamental human needs and motivators. I can’t say enough about COMPASSION as it is my belief that it is the foundation for all positive human interactions and what really connects us all heart to heart.
So I would like to invite you this week to notice opportunities to engage in some Compassionate Listening & Reflecting and to remember to give yourself some compassion, love and caring too. Let me know how you did. I would love to hear your experience.