Compassion

The Self, People & Relationships

Compassion is when a little girl goes to another little girl, sitting by herself, lonely. She approaches her not because she feels better than her in any way, but because she believes that no one should be left out.

She asks her name and introduces herself back. She asks her if she wants to play with her and her friends. In a whisper, she says yes. They walk towards the group of kids playing in the street. The former introduces the latter. In the beginning her friends are annoyed that she brings this girl to play with them – she’s so weird and can’t play ball, they say.

The girl stands by with her new friend despite the awkwardness and her other friends’ rejection of her. On the sidewalk, step by step, she teaches her how to play the game. She slowly learns how. Eventually the group notices and allows her to join them. They notice that she can actually play the game, that she’s got good moves, even and that she’s actually kinda cool.

When we are compassionate, we want inclusion for everyone.

We are happier if the other is happy. The world is a better place, there is more to enjoy when we are in harmony. We cannot be fully happy and integrated as long as one of us feels left out. This state of being is something that we can embody internally and externally. When all our internal parts are integrated, we are happier and fuller, too.

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An Open Letter to a Broken Heart

Faith, Healing, People & Relationships, The Self

If you’re holding a broken heart, if you’re sore, swollen, bruised, battle-scarred, torn apart – Know that you are infinitely blessed.

If you are hungry for affection, empathy, unconditional understanding and love and you know you are capable of providing that to someone/something else, if you’ve seen yourself love that way – know that this love must exist everywhere around you, and this love must find its way to meet you.

The love that you can provide is the same love that you need, and the same love that has the capacity to envelop you, lift you higher and nourish you inside-out.

If you see Source when you look at the eyes of your beloved, know that the one seeing – you – is the Source, too. How you see your beloved is how Source sees you – and a lot more, something immeasurable to the human mind.

Your broken heart may seem like a burden to you at the moment, but the truth is it’s your greatest treasure. If you have a huge capacity to feel hurt, it means you have a huge capacity to feel love. Let your infinite capacity to love heal your own pain.

Let the love you give out find its way back to you by directing that love towards yourself first.

Your heart is at the right place. All is well.

Sometimes what we really need is Solitude and some serious inner work, not Catharsis

Healing, People & Relationships, The Self

communication

When I was in my early twenties, I used to obsess on getting my communication “right”. I just had to come to the person directly or put my thoughts into writing to “clear things up”. I neither stopped to assess whether she/he was ready for it nor if I should even bother talking about the issue at all. I thought I was being mature. Because I was a writer, I even thought that getting into the roughest details was a gift I was offering. When I wasn’t doing those, I would turn to my friends for a ranting spree. To my surprise, more conflict only gravitated towards me as a result, and those people who I sincerely wanted to be in good terms with only end up hating me. Voila! I have hurt them in vain.

There are still times, even at this point, when I would be “completely honest” thinking that that was what was needed to iron out a situation, or to give myself peace of mind, only to find out in horror how bad an idea it was.

On the other hand, I’ve been able to resolve deep seated issues without ever talking or writing to the person who I felt has hurt me or talking about it with anybody. I have successfully worked through them myself, armed with my connection with the Divine. It may have taken me years, and even decades, to do that, but I know that there’s no better way to go through my healing, anyway.

I think I’ve pretty much lived long enough and I have fucked up enough as well to assess both scenarios.

Now I am in a pretty confident place to say that communication with others is not always necessary for closure and healing to take place (nor does ranting about it). It may not even be beneficial.

Here are my points on why I think that is so:

1. First of all, let’s be honest, a heart-to-heart dialogue is not really the rule in our reality, but an exception. 

Thinking that it should take place before healing or resolution can take place is a sure and fast way to disempower ourselves. We are never in control of anybody else, and expecting them to cooperate with our idea of “mature resolution” only hands them the upper hand. By doing so we are trapped in convincing them to behave and feel a certain way first before we can get to our desired disposition.

We need to validate ourselves instead.

2. People are usually in different levels of consciousness. 

Yes, even if they’re identical twins who have lived their lives sleeping in the same bedroom.

It’s not merely about experiencing the same situation differently, but more importantly, having different abilities and filters by which to perceive and interpret life experiences in general. People have, more often than not, extremely contrasting interests due to a variety of factors like their age, nationality, temperament, upbringing, current struggles, how they define pleasure, how they want their life to be, and so on and so forth.

The reality is, sometimes, some people just won’t be able to meet halfway. Sometimes we just can’t be on the same page with another person and no amount of “honest talk” can change that.

Sometimes, the only thing that can heal up a conflict is, as the cliche goes, time…and I would add, mindful silence.

Forcing people to reconcile at this stage usually only backfires.

3. We need more time to process our emotions than we usually think.

When I mean more time, I mean, we sometimes need years, decades even and tons of life experiences in between for our thoughts and emotions to percolate.

Sometimes our initial opinions and feelings about what just happened/what is happening are not really what we’ll find when the dust settles.

This is why barging through the door and airing out our opinions, prematurely, sometimes only stunt or totally annihilate whatever resolution is brewing underneath.

Sometimes what we need is to reach a certain level of maturity first to view the same situation in a more realistic way.

4. Some Many things are better left unsaid. 

Expressing ourselves without filters on can feel good. But this movement about “be yourself, express yourself” doesn’t teach us to embody this with caution.

Well definitely we can be in-your-face honest with a few people who we can justify this behavior with. But when we are talking about people who matter to us and who we have genuine, caring relationships with, taking this advice at face value could do more harm than good.

There are some things that, may be true for us, but that may just hurt them to no avail. We need to check with ourselves first and ask, “Will expressing these things move our relationship to a deeper level? Will it lead to a better understanding of some sort or will this just blur out my good intentions?”

We need to be cautious about the thin line between “brutally honest” and “brutally critical” if what we really desire for is a peaceful resolution and a higher level of awareness (many times “brutally honest” won’t even make the cut.)

Sometimes, taking a step back, is what we have to do instead to save a relationship and/or all the goodness that are worth saving.

5. Sometimes what we really need is solitude and some serious inner work, not catharsis. 

Venting out our emotions may feel good, really good. But it doesn’t always lead to integration and growth.

In truth, getting into the habit of talking about our issues, may even be the very thing that holds us back and keeps us in a cycle of frustration.

By not taking enough time to be alone with our own thoughts and feelings we are robbing ourselves of the opportunity to know ourselves more. If our initial response to them is to turn to others, instead of listening to them in the privacy of our own spirit, we will surely miss all the valuable information they have in store for us which can guide us into making decisions and changes that are good for us.

Likewise, crises’ purpose is to usher us into a higher level of consciousness. They’re meant to assist us in remembering our true divine nature and what life is really about. On the surface it may look like we’re having an issue with another person, but if we take the time to go inwards, we’ll always see that it’s pointing at something about ourselves that we need to heal.

I’d say any day that addressing that internal issue first is more important than working on resolving an external, interpersonal one. Efforts put on the latter before the former would be futile, anyway.

Communication with others is not always necessary for closure and healing to take place. It may be a part of them or a result of them, but definitely not a prerequisite. We all have the capacity to go through these processes on our own – and sometimes, in truth, that’s what we need to be doing.

The thing that we are Withholding from others is the very thing that we need

Healing, People & Relationships, The Self

I. Seeing Ourselves in Others

Each of us has been walking through life carrying some open wounds, more often than not we are not aware of it. Usually we are even more perceptive of each other’s bleeding than our own. This is how mirroring helps us to be more aware of ourselves. This is why relationships are key to our healing and maturity.

I’ve had a low self-esteem for the most part of my early twenties until recently (I’m 30 at the moment). I’ve always brought this belief with me that my opinions and actions didn’t matter at all to the people around me.

I believed I was as insignificant as a speck of dust or a strand of eyelash that has fallen without anybody’s notice. I thought my actions didn’t affect anyone, ’cause after all, I was invisible to them.

Lately, though, for the first time ever I’ve decided to take a real look at my relationships and evaluated how they were doing. Mind you, I still had this belief that I didn’t play an active role AT ALL in my relationships. I was just curious, and I had all the time in the world for introspection.

It didn’t take long before an answer floated to the surface. In an instant, I was confronted by the reality that my relationships were starving for something…something that I thought was insignificant…something that I thought was invisible.

The closest people in my life (except for my SO) were starving for my affection, for genuine connection with me.

Initially, this was all news to me, and I found myself nothing but speechless. Then all my questions bubbled up, “How could that be possible when I didn’t matter? How could that be possible when nobody needed me? My opinions and feelings didn’t matter. I’ve been living my entire life unseen.”

Or so I thought.

Seriously, the depth of my self-esteem issues was at the level that I couldn’t fathom how could they possibly long for my…love. How could anyone (aside from my SO and my dogs) ever need my presence? That’s a legit question for me. It’s a real puzzle.

Then eventually, another discovery arrived at my feet as I was walking back and forth trying to figure out the answer to my dilemma. It went something like this –

The thing you are withholding from others is the very thing that you need.

I have disowned my need for affection for so long that I’ve forgotten it ever existed, that there was even such a thing going on around the world.

 

II. The Root Cause

Like most adult issues, the root cause of this could also be found in my childhood. I was forced in a way by my parents to parent them, instead of them parenting me, in an emotional sense. This has pushed me to learn, before I was even ready, to be self-sufficient emotionally, whatever that meant for me at that vulnerable age.

As a result, I have adopted many unhealthy coping mechanisms all through my adult life and disowning my need for affection was one of those. If one doesn’t see a need for something, one can never fill that need up. So obviously I couldn’t even provide myself with what I needed.

 

III. The Unraveling 

This aching, forgotten need has reared its head in many ways. I’ve been in a series of codependent (non) relationships with emotionally unavailable guys all through my late teens to mid-twenties (I am so lucky to have even come out alive!). I struggled with chronic depression and was suicidal for years. I felt ostracized for so long that I have adopted it as my identity. I wanted to keep rocking the boat and be the troublemaker. I was self-destructive in both obvious and subtle ways.

I was so disconnected from myself that I was practically running all over the place with my head cut off and my heart ripped out of my chest.

On the other hand, when the apparent chaos has subsided, I went too deep inwards. I’ve built walls around myself. I cocooned in my distrust of others around me except for my SO (and in my worst days, I even distrusted him). On the surface it looked like I was finally having my shit together. I have changed, healed, grown up.

But to me what only happened was that I grew older. I couldn’t keep up with what I have been doing during my twenties. No one could. Eventually, unless genuine healing has taken place, one has to transition – to just another kind of crazy. To just another kind of hurting.

 

IV. A Door Opens

The sad truth was, all those trouble and self-flagellation I’ve went through were not enough to wake me up. I was so used to self-loathing and soul-crushing emptiness that I chased for more of them. There’s nothing new to people treating me like trash and myself treating me like trash. That’s the story of my life.

What’s news to me, was my recent nagging distrust and resentment of those around me. When I stopped being busy killing myself, I started unconsciously projecting all my anger externally, not even just to those closest to me, but to practically every human being around me (again, except for my SO).

Suddenly, I was confronted with all this anger that I didn’t understand.

That opened a door for me. I had to walk through it to make sense of all this anger. As I went further along the unraveling path, I’ve been introduced to my deep-seated issues one-by-one like a tourist in a foreign land. That’s when I’ve discovered that I’ve been acting up out of pain all this time not knowing that I was hurting in the first place.

I got so busy moving through life that I didn’t even see my own wounds. I didn’t even acknowledge that I was hurting. I didn’t even validate my own emotions and disposition. Whenever my pain reared its head, I would immediately squash it or push it back in its place, or leave it altogether. I didn’t take a closer look. I didn’t want to pay attention…or maybe I didn’t know how.

I was having all this hatred because I was hurting. My pain had to be seen, validated and cared for.

 

V. Weaponizing 

I’ve withheld affection from the people around me, initially, as a way of protecting myself. I’ve figured out that if I didn’t open up that much and they couldn’t get too close, they couldn’t hurt me or project their aching needs on me, like my parents did back then.

Consequently, in doing so, I’ve annihilated all the goodness that can come out of it, too – those that would have been beneficial to me.

By withholding love from them, I’ve deprived myself of love as well – the thing that I needed the most.

 

VI. Coming Full Circle and the Journey Ahead

It may have taken a long while before I have reached this place of understanding. In hindsight it all makes sense to me that it had to happen that way. After all, that’s how a cycle gets completed, isn’t it? One has to be in all possible positions to reach integration.

I had to be both the victim and the perpetrator to know the full nature of the issue, why it happens and how to end it.

Now that I’ve reached this point, I have also understood that there is no easy solution to this issue. Understanding is a vehicle by which I can traverse the path ahead, but the path remains open-ended. I can’t figure out its resolution in a cerebral way, nor carry out half-baked decisions and actions in response.

But I’m committed to this journey, nonetheless, and I believe it’s all that matters for now. This time, going forward though, instead of only carrying my bleeding wounds with me, I’ll be carrying this piece of light, too, which hopefully leads me to healing and peace.

How to handle Stress? Hold a space for Grace and unconditional Love

Faith, Healing, People & Relationships, The Self

We get cranky when we’re stressed out. We become more needy. We have less patience. We tend to have a distorted view towards the people around us. We’re more likely to think they’re insensitive, uncaring – selfish.  This can crystallize into tiny resentments that have a chance of clumping together as time passes by. This can harden our heart.

It has been pretty stressful individually for me and for my SO these past few months. Since we are geographically apart, we are required to deal with our issues mostly on our own. There are delays in communication not only because of our daily schedule but due to the time difference between us. There were times when I worried that I was not doing enough for him, that maybe he didn’t feel my love and presence. I would have those worries because there have been times when I had those thoughts, too, when I assumed he’s not being “involved enough” with what I was going through. But eventually I’ve realized that nobody else can fight our battles for us. Furthermore, the truth is, he’s always present enough with me through thick and thin.

Today, I woke up stressed, probably because I slept stressed out, too. But today I did something different. Instead of letting myself fall off that downward spiral, I took a pause and listened to myself instead.

That’s when I knew that what we need the most when we’re stressed out is Compassion. We need to be especially compassionate with ourselves and with others in the midst of stress. We don’t need to focus more on solving the issue that’s causing our stress, particularly when the situation is beyond our control. But what we can always do is to be compassionate.

What’s gonna help us and those we care about is to be validated and not judged.

What we need is for someone – and this can be ourselves – to hold a space for us when we can just be enveloped in the warmth of unconditional care.

Sometimes our strong desire to solve an issue only hurts us more, sometimes it only breeds more insecurity and despair.

Sometimes this also only keeps us away from our loved ones. When a person we care about is suffering, and we can’t stand seeing them that way, we tend to jump into conclusions and end things for them or expect them to resolve the matter immediately. This attitude might only make them feel misunderstood and judged. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to simply be there for them during the rough times and get our empathy across.

My SO is actually good at this. He’s internally strong enough to remain present with me as I go through difficulties, without having the desire to control my emotions or my behavior, or to fix the issues himself. He simply comforts me and makes sure that I go back to a lighter perspective. He assures me that things are always working out perfectly, no matter how things may look at the moment.

Personally, I think at the core of all of this is a bigger lesson the Universe wants us to imbibe – that we are graced all the time, in good times and in bad times. That there is, in fact, goodness in all kinds of situation, and we’ll always find it if we choose to – and that we’ll always feel the Divine’s unconditional love if we let it in.