Does Your Relationship Have Compassion?
Intimate understanding is often easier said than done.
Posted August 8, 2016
At one point or another, most people wonder if their relationship is stable. One thing we can do – and in this author’s opinion need to do – to heighten the stability of our relationships is to practice compassion. For most of us, this is so many times much easier said than done – but nonetheless part of the positive evolution of couples. Learning, however, is necessary for this kind of development to occur. Mechanisms to help us be empathetic and to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves are available to most individuals and we can get better using them.
The word compassion comes from the prefix “com” (meaning shared or together) and passion (intensity, excitement, fire). Definitively, compassion is related to understanding. In a sense you have to be understood (and have to understand) for compassion to exist.
Do you feel understood? Thinking about this, it is helpful to also consider that understanding is a two-way street. So what I mean by this is that as we enjoy being understood by others, especially those we are close to, we can also consider methods in our communications “tool kit” that will help us see more clearly and deeply into the other person – e.g. we can reflect on what motivates them in general and/or in a particular situation, say, in comparison to thinking we already “get it” or “assume it” and responding accordingly – talk about how being assuming can opening a Pandora’s box in the middle of a potentially good moment. Or we might consider why a certain goal is a goal; what conditions in that person’s life created it? Or we might think about what has happened to another to bring them to a certain point, what they need, what they want, and so on.
So as we practice carefully looking deeper into the other person, we can gain a better understanding of such concerns and we can share the right energies that are who we are personally to more passionately relate.
It can be a little tricky. Allowing the other to freely express himself or herself fully helps. To do this creating an environment of focused presence, calm, comfort and safety is important. So is listening – listening closely helps you understand how things are for those you are in relationship with and how they have come to be.
But it isn’t always easy to stay objective, to bypass the desire to insert an opinion, verbally or even via body language. Sometimes all it takes to shut compassion down is a facial expression of disapproval or disinterest. And sometimes this happens unconsciously. It takes quality personal energy to be a good listener and sustain it.
The more high quality energy you feel and cultivate within yourself, the better you can keep listening closely. You can, however, practice certain energy techniques on your own as well as with the other person. There are so many choices from which you can cultivate the necessary energy on your own and together. The idea is to bring your positive and energized self (or selves) into the moment. Without enough quality energy of your own, it is difficult to be compassionate and to sustain compassion.
With practice, the ability to listen closely and capture deeper understandings of your partner becomes an innate reward. So it’s like a quadruple whammy – you reward yourself with high quality energy, you reward your partner, they reward you back and your shinier relationship becomes another reward on top of it all. End result – lots more positive energy in your relationship, in your personal life and your life together. This is a wonderful energized environment in which to plant the seeds of your future. You will better understand obstacles that drain your relationship’s positive energies and how to lesson and alleviate them. As you discover and navigate toward solutions, you can feel the energy of being rewarded by the whole process.
The more you practice this, the better it all works.
To keep your own energy in balance, I suggest engaging in an energy cultivating activity at the beginning (and possibly in the middle and toward the end of the day). This can be mindful outdoor exercise such as mindful walking, mindful jogging, hiking, gardening etc. – paying attention to all of the beauty and its energy around you, how we are all a part of it and it a part of us, drawing on that swarming energy of color, sound, scent, peace – and compassion.
Note: To explore these concepts further, you may wish to check out my book, BODY INTELLIGENCE – Harness Your Body’s Energies for Your Best Life.