Finding Compassion for a Broken Man, Part 2

What did you take away from the story?

One of the reasons I shared it was to speak to the importance of offering compassion to those you might have difficulty at first offering compassion towards. My experience of working with people is they can share their worst with you first. They will share with you how they yelled at their elderly mother and everything else they have done wrong. They hate themselves and want to make sure you hate them too. It’s what they know, so it’s actually feels safer for you to feel disgust towards them, than to offer them compassion.

They might say they had a perfect childhood, and that can make it more difficult for people to have compassion for them when they had this “great upbringing”. When I hear “perfect childhood” I begin assessing for intense childhood trauma, dissociation, and/or black and white thinking. It’s my belief that no one had a “perfect childhood”, they may have had an amazing childhood, yet also some loss, small challenges, or discomfort. When people are able to speak to both sides, that’s usually speaks to healthier more adaptive world view. When I hear “perfect childhood”, it’s time to assess for trauma.

I commonly see processes as both inwards and outwards. As you work on offering yourself compassion in areas which it’s been difficult, it will become easier to offer others compassion. As you offer challenging others compassion, it will become easier to offer yourself compassion.

What’s a way you can implement this understanding of compassion right now?If you came up with something, awesome. If not, no worries. Check out one of my favorite practices, which is exercise #2: Self Compassion Break by Dr. Kristen Neff. Implementing the knowledge right now will likely support you in integrating it on a deeper level.

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