August 6, 2013 by
Categories: Acceptance

I recently finished reading Karen Armstrong’s 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life. This is a very good book that I highly recommend. In it, Armstrong presents 12 different looks on compassion and challenges the reader to work through each step in order to increase your compassion. After having read it through once, I’ve decided that I am going to devote this next year to developing a greater capacity for compassion. I’m planning on focusing on one step each month. I encourage any who want to join me to follow me at VivaCompassion. I will share some of my experiences here.

For the month of August, I will be learning what compassion is. For me, compassion is something that I have strove to provide to others. It is within the past couple of years that I have recognized the value of self-compassion. When I meet with clients, I try to take the position that they do not need to change to be valuable, worthy, or acceptable. They (and we) need to be more of who we are.

I thought of this earlier during a meditation that is part of Deepak Chopra’s 21 day Meditation Challenge. Today’s meditation focused on being aware of our core, soul, or spiritual being. He said at one point that becoming more into alignment with this person, who we are, is where we will feel most at peace. I believe that it is that person for whom we are always trying to change. We think that if we participate in self-improvement programs, we will come closer to who we are. The paradox is, we are already who we are, we only need to be.

That, I think, is at the heart of compassion. Allowing others to be who they are, without feeling that they need to change or be repaired. To see others as equal to ourselves: people striving to survive, being balanced, falling, and arising again. The key here is seeing others as ourselves. Expression self compassion is just as important as being compassionate to others.

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