Brene Brown The Gifts of Imperfection:
"My definition of Compassion is to suffer with. We open ourselves up to feel the pain. This is not our default. Only when we know our own darkness well, can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. Compassion is a relationship between equals."
She goes on to explain that pity is I feel bad for you, where compassion is I feel bad with you.
The most vivid experience I have had with compassion was when I was 23 and a close friend of mine lost her 6 year old daughter in a horseback riding accident. I have never lost a child and won't claim to know that pain. I do know what I saw that day, and over the year after, was so many people saying to her, "suck it up" or "You need to just let this go."
I would get so angry and only once did I take someone out in the hall to explain that they had been hurtful and needed to leave now. I didn't say it that nicely.
In my 20's I was not known for keeping my mouth shut, but I knew saying anything at that time was not right. My entire job was just to be there and let her talk, cry, yell, whatever she needed. Sometimes the only thing to say is "I am here for you and I love you." That's it. Nothing you say is going to make things better.
My favorite memory of Ali, my sweet little girl, was her curling up in my lap while we watched "Roseann" each week. I think of her whenever I smell oranges. I miss you all Dodie, Ali and Brad.
Do you have an experience with compassion that you would like to share?
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