FEATURE — I have noticed that many of my clients who have a hard time recovering from setbacks carry a similar false belief: “I am too sensitive to heal.” Because this pattern in the thought process is so common, I feel I should address it.
Having this belief implies that a sensitive, compassionate, loving person is a weak person, but this notion is completely false. In fact, I would say the opposite is true: A sensitive person is actually a very strong person. A kind, compassionate person is actually a person of courage and confidence.
Our childhood heroes are often portrayed as fierce warriors. While it is true that a soldier exemplifies immense courage in battle, in everyday life, consistent bravery is displayed by the unassuming person who returns an unkind gesture with a smile. It is easy to fire back a sharp retort at an offending person, but it is quite difficult to take the higher road and give a kind word to an intended hurt.
We are living in a time of division – a time when it is very easy to judge another, to ridicule those who proceed through life differently than we do. Right now, it takes a conscious effort to show compassion.
By showing kindness and mercy, we become a strong and united family, community and nation. Compassion inspires us to engage with our fellow sojourners in this life with greater and greater empathy. It mirrors back to each individual our shared humanity and reminds us that each soul is equally deserving of kindness. A compassionate heart reveals the essential bonds shared between all people and inspires the willingness to see the divine beauty within each soul.
I remember last March, when everyone came out of the two-week quarantine. People were kind. We held the door for each other, and we showed compassion in our eyes for each other. Do you remember that, too? Sadly, we’ve lost a lot of that. Now, I often see contempt, disconnect and complacency where I used to see love, concern and empathy.
Let me make a clarification: Being compassionate does not mean being a doormat. Understanding this dispels the false belief about being too sensitive for one’s own good. A compassionate person starts first with caring for themselves and has healthy boundaries in his or her interactions and relationships.
A person with a compassionate heart will find the courage to move forward, especially in times of uncertainty and turmoil. If you find yourself struggling to be compassionate or kind, you likely are dealing with a closed heart caused by your own painful experiences.
Listed below are some tips that can help with this struggle. Practicing these exercises will help you find room in your heart to more fully enjoy this sometimes treacherous journey on Earth.
- Find something in your hardship for which to be grateful – sincerely and genuinely grateful. This is key, and this is important.
- Ask yourself quality questions about the source of your troubles so that you find the lesson life is trying to teach you. The lesson may be as simple and profound as learning humility, patience or forgiveness.
- See this current situation as a challenge or game. What new strategy do you need to employ?
- Realize some unavoidable truths. A heavy heart will make for a gloomy, unlived life. A bitter heart will literally cause you heart problems, if left unchecked. An unkind heart will drive good people out of your life and will chase love away.
- You have the power to choose. No matter the circumstance or the actions of others, you always have the power to choose your thoughts, attitude and actions.
- Your heart knows. Scientists call this “heart knowing.” They have studied it and proven that the heart literally knows when something is going to happen before it occurs. The heart knows before the brain does. It knows before the eyes have a chance to see. Take care of your heart. If you nurture love and compassion, you will strengthen this muscle – this wonderful gift of life, love and knowing.
- Journal your hurts and frustrations. Get them out! As you do so, you’ll notice some of your subconscious false beliefs; you’ll be able to call them out. As you get the dark emotions and feelings outside of you, you’ll allow for healing. I can’t stress enough how powerful this exercise is.
- See yourself and each person you encounter as a divine soul. We are of infinite worth, and we are more than we often are portrayed by the world. When one suffers, we will all likely suffer on some level. We are all connected.
You are fully capable of being kind, compassionate, strong and resolute – all at the same time. I challenge you to nurture and exercise this amazing ability within your heart. As you do so, I promise that you will feel stronger in your body, you will open the door of healing within yourself and you will find joy even in the sorrows of life. Try it. It takes courage. I dare you.
Written by BRIGIT ATKIN, BrightWorks by Brigit.
This article was first published in the March/April 2021 issue of St. George Health and Wellness magazine.
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