- Katherine Jean
Compassion for the Rest of Us
What causes us to apologize profusely and sincerely to a stranger at the grocery store after we bump into them or to kneel down and nuzzle our dog when we accidentally step on his foot, but to withhold these same sincere and kind actions when we unintentionally hurt a loved one? We often see the ego arch it's back and puff up like an angry Halloween cat at the mere mention that our words or behaviors hurt someone w know. The ego to the defense! We often quickly, with some stealth like, knee jerk reaction, make it about a defect in them or worse, we make it about ourselves. The mind singing, "I can't believe they took what I said like that!" or "They are so sensitive. They should just get over it." Or maybe this one sounds familiar, "They should know me better than that!" What beauty there would be in acknowledging our friends hurt even if we don't agree or understand it. At that moment, the hurt party needs to know we see them and hear them. And they want to hear that we are profusely sorry for not knowing. What loveliness to thank them for opening up to us and to tell them we will try not to let it happen again.
Imagine the peace making that could occur with family members during this upcoming holiday season if we could just ask the silent question, "Is this really about me?" before we reply, before the ego starts to take charge. It's hard and messy and complicated. This is an ever expanding practice and with all things we must first become aware.
Yes... words can hurt, whether you meant them to or not. Yes... actions can hurt, whether they were done intentionally or not. An individuals history creates the way they live in this world, just as our own history dictates the way we live. Point being, we may not know what will cause others pain but, I assure you we will never know if we dismiss them when they are hurt. And what is Love, but action? A simple hug and "I'm sorry" will bring us closer. Contrary, defensiveness will guarantee to drive a large wedge and before we know it that wedge is the size of the Golden Gate Bridge and we can't even see each other through the San Francisco fog.
So...do we want deeper connections? We must be the connectors. We must visit with our own shame. We must be safely vulnerable. and know that any relationship worth having will at times hurt our hearts. To quote the great Bob Marley, “The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”
Let me add that no one deserves to be on the end that doesn't ever hear, "I'm sorry. Tell me why you feel this way." or only hearing,"What's your problem? You've always got something bothering you!" If this is happening Run!...Fast!...Furiously!..and don't look back. We all deserve to be seen, heard, and understood.