Why being compassionate is hard to do?
The answer is actually rather simple. It is because of our lack of self-care and lack of responsibility.
Let me explain it!
When we suffer in our lives and our needs are not met, we find it hard to feel compassion towards others’ needs and hearing others’ issues with openness and understanding.
Let me tell you about my journey of discovery!
One day, I was sitting through a six-hour meeting where people kept on forgetting to mute themselves so they caused a lot of background noise; some peoples’ audio was so bad that they were hardly audible; most of the time I could not figure out what the conversation was about because there was no structure to the meeting at all; people kept on interrupting each other (there were not guidelines introduced at the beginning) and the topics changed so abruptly that I could not follow the meeting. It was utterly chaotic.
Because I am on a practical journey of discovering compassionate insight, before the meeting, I decided to participate fully regardless of the challenges. I promised myself to stay compassionate and interested. I meditated and moved myself out of expectations and into a place of openness just before the meeting started.
An hour and a half into the meeting, however, I found myself extremely frustrated and exhausted. I was outraged at the way the meeting was conducted and how pointless my attendance was.
It made me think. How could I bring compassionate insight into this situation? What do I need to know now? What am I frustrated about? What are my unmet needs? How am I not taking care of my own needs right now?
I became aware of the following: I am constantly short of time. I have different jobs and responsibilities that leave me very little personal time. I am very particular about what I am willing to spend my time with. When it comes to education, I expect good level of education for my money. I need the meetings that I attend to be informative, well-organized, and well-conducted by an expert educator. This meeting, in my experience, was none of these. I was also frustrated because I was in no position to communicate my needs.
Hey! It sounds like a victim story!
I had to remind myself that I create my own reality and I am responsible for my experiences. Non-violet communication, or NVC in short, says that we need to fulfill a request like a child feeding ducks, with joy. In short the request was that I attend this meeting and participate fully. The truth is that I could not attend this meeting with joy, so I shouldn’t have! NVC also says that we always have choices and by knowing that we can stop playing the victim.
I was angry and frustrated because I felt like a victim. My needs for getting a good education was not met. But the truth is that my needs must be met by me. It is my responsibility to take good care of myself by making different choices.
Compassion must start with me!