CAN YOU HAVE TOO MUCH COMPASSION
- Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Transformation Tuesday. Tonight's episode is on compassion specifically can you ever be too compassionate? Is there ever a risk that you can be too compassionate and be a bit of a walk over or be complacent? And do we need to be concerned about having too much compassion? This is a question I get asked a lot. So tonight's episode is going to be looking at what is compassion really? Why is it important? How do we need to actually apply this at a deeper level in our life? And when I first took a look at compassion it was something I didn't really understand. I didn't really resonate with it, so I'm going to be sharing with you a lot of the misconceptions and ways that you can improve your ability to relate to compassion and use it in your life. So, first of all, let's start with what is compassion? What is it? Well, the definition that Google gives you is a definition that I don't particularly think is the most empowering or expansive definition of compassion. When you look at the definition in Google, the first definition that comes up is compassion is sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortune of others. Well, I want to clarify this and create some distinctions as we go through this episode because compassion is far more than just being sympathetic and it's more than just being pitiful. It's more than just looking at the suffering of others and looking at and understanding it. It's actually coming from a place of love and affording someone a level of understanding and care and giving them the benefit of the doubt. So, if we have a choice between giving someone opting towards love or opting towards fear what compassion says is well, I'm going to give this person the benefit of the doubt in the sense of, I'm going to do my best to understand them and have a level of care for them such that I'm not going to judge that person. So that's really what compassion is. Compassion is the opposite of judgement . Hey, Charmaine, welcome aboard, good to have you here. So, compassion really is the absence of judgement . It is the presence of love. But fundamentally, it's a few of these ingredients that get fused together. The ingredients that we're talking about that come together to form what I believe is a much more expansive definition of compassion is understanding plus love plus kindness plus giving someone the benefit of the doubt. That's what compassion is. So, in someone's darkest hour, or if someone has committed an offence, or if someone is going through some suffering, well, it is the absence of judgement , it's the practise of non-judgment, it's the practise of caring about another human being not condoning what's happening, I'm not saying we agree with what's happening, but saying that we have a level of understanding about what they're going through, the reason why they chose to do what they do and an understanding or relatability to their experience such that we don't judge them, such that we understand what they're going through. Now this is different to condoning what they're doing. This is not saying that we agree necessarily with their choice in terms of we wouldn't make the same choice. What it's doing is it's saying I'm not going to judge that person, I'm not going to project negative energy onto them and the reason why they made that decision just simply because it doesn't really make me feel good, it's not really a loving thing to do to judge someone else. Again, what's really important here is to understand the distinctions of judgement and discernment. And for those of you who want to grow to a level of clarity around these two, I recommend going back and checking out my previous episode on the difference between judgement and discernment. And what these distinctions remind us of is that compassion does not imply complacency. Compassion implies a high level of consciousness to understand what someone else is going through. Compassion is not complacency, complacency would be standing by and doing nothing when someone's you know, say for example if someone's on the train causing a ruckus and being rude to other people. You can be compassionate towards that person and you can say, Look, I understand this person's probably angry or frustrated or they might have had a very traumatic upbringing, and there's a reason why they're doing something. Now complacency would be, okay, maybe we need to say something, right? And if we're not saying something, if we're not standing up for ourselves if we're not standing up for what we believe in, well, that's complacency. Complacency is where we're denying what is true for us, what is important for us. Complacency is where we simply turn a blind eye to things that are actually important to us. Complacency is where we're not taking responsibility for something that which we actually hold dear to ourselves. So, these examples, you're going to find them all throughout your life and it's really important to understand that complacency does not lead, you can never have too much compassion, put it that way. You can never have too much compassion. Compassion is simply understanding plus love coming together and not judging someone. You can be completely compassionate towards someone and be very very assertive. You can be totally 100% compassionate towards someone and also still be very very forceful, still be very very direct, still be very, I would say the best word here is assertive. Compassion doesn't imply weakness. Compassion doesn't mean that you don't speak your mind. Compassion is simply affording the other person a level of care and love so that we're not judging them. And then once we're in that state of compassion, well, what we get access to is we're no longer coming from a place of fear, we're no longer coming from a place of judgement , we're no longer coming from a place of resistance. And so therefore the choices or the action that we take is going to be higher quality, it's going to be coming from a higher level of consciousness. So, really, what we're talking about here is non-judgment. This is the practise of non-judgment but fundamentally it's all about understanding. When you understand someone else, when you understand what they're going through, not necessarily agreeing with what they've done, but if you understand what's going on inside their mind, inside their emotional world, inside their thinking, well, it's very very easy to actually give someone the benefit of the doubt. When I say give them the benefit of the doubt, we're not agreeing with the behaviour necessarily, we're not agreeing or condoning or supporting the behaviour, we're supporting the person, we're loving the person and we're creating the distinction that maybe the choice or the action is out of alignment. So again, this concept of alignment is very very important because you can say that what someone did is either right or wrong, all right, now that's to a degree you could say, if we have got a negative energy behind it, we can actually be judging that and saying, That's wrong, shouldn't be happening. But, now that's a level of judgement . You're entitled to have preference which is saying, I prefer that this doesn't happen, I prefer that doesn't resonate with me, that's not in alignment with me. But when we start using language like right and wrong, well it can be very very easy for our ego to get involved and for us to create resistance and judgement of someone else and their actions. So, the key thing here is really understanding well, why is this important? Why is compassion important? And the answer to that is, without compassion, without that, well, we are going to revert to the default programme and the default conditioning of our ego, all right, which is judgement . Without compassion, we're not going to be able to actually witness the truth or the base frequency of what we actually are as a human race which is loving. And when our ego takes over, it's like it hops in the front seat of your car and it's now going to drive your car. And what happens when you're indulging in your ego and when you're in judgement is well, your decisions are going to be made by a programme, you're not going to be the highest, most loving expression of you. Compassion regains and retains that element of loving inside your experience. Compassion is what turns judgement into acceptance. Now again, here's another key distinction here. We are not saying that acceptance is agreeing. Acceptance is non-judgment. Acceptance is a practise of saying, okay, it is what it is. I'm not going to judge it, I'm not going to resist it. Doesn't mean I agree with it, however, I'm going to let go of the judgement and the resentment and any resistance from that experience. Why? Because it frees me up. It makes me lighter and let's me get on with my life. So, that's a key distinction here is when you embrace the virtue of compassion you're allowing yourself to let go of resistance, to let go of judgement , to move on, to eliminate anything that's going to create resentment or any negative emotion. Compassion is one of these powerful override switches that just allows us to move into forgiveness, love, lightness. And it is in no way shape or form complacency. And most of the misconceptions, or the confusion that gets created around compassion being complacency or even sometimes love being weakness, the reason why these correlations get made is because of people associating kindness with making people feel good. Now, hey, Monica, good to see you here. Hope you're doing well. Good day, Allison. A lot of people mistake loving, like a loving expression, with someone feeling good. Now, a lot of the time, in order for us to demonstrate love sometimes that means that someone's not going to feel good. Now, you can ask the question, what would love do now? I think that's one of the most powerful questions you can ask, what would love do now? Now, yes, that question is going to be limited to the level of awareness and the depth of the virtue and the value of love that you have, but fundamentally, we've got to ask that question from a place of, okay, love isn't complacency, love is power, love is choosing to acknowledge who we are at our core, what is our authentic expression. And when you answer that question, what would love do now, love isn't complacency. Love isn't turning a blind eye to what needs to be attended to. Love isn't making choices that are out of alignment. Love is, in times that are required, love is being bold, love is being assertive, love is being strong, love is being willing to be courageous to say what needs to be said in the moment because it's the right thing, not because it's the comfortable thing. So, this concept here of love, this is really what everything boils down to. Compassion is the gateway, it's a doorway to access deeper levels of love. And I didn't really appreciate this concept of compassion for most of my life. In fact, when I did, when I started looking at virtues and values, I started looking through a list of virtues and values and just started doing some of the deeper inner transformational work and this was about five years ago, and I looked through the list of all these virtues and I looked at compassion and it just did nothing for me. I just looked and thought, what's the point of that? It's like a bit of a weak one. I like the ones that are like excitement and empowerment and you know, enthusiasm and vitality. And I looked at compassion and I didn't really understand why it's so powerful, why compassion is the ultimate doorway or access to experiencing love. And the reason is because it starts to override the ego, it starts to override the default human nervous system which is the fear-based expression that a lot of us live day-to-day through. So when we're activating compassion, we're in a state of being where we're naturally more understanding, we're naturally gravitating more towards letting someone have the benefit of the doubt not in the case of agreeing with what they're doing, but understanding where they're coming from and why they're doing what they're doing. That's really fundamentally why this is so important. Is because when you can be compassionate, you don't suffer. Substitute the word, I think the closest word that I resonate with compassion is understanding. Actually understanding what someone's going through. If you understand someone, there's no resistance there. If you understand a situation that someone else is going through because you've been through it, well, you're compassionate towards them. You have a level of understanding about what someone's been through. It's the same thing when we're both speaking the language of English. We both understand each other. If I was speaking Chinese or Spanish to you, you probably wouldn't understand me right now. So, these are the things that we need to pay attention to. There is a level of understanding that's required in order for us to feel connection with someone else. To afford them with a level of kindness and consideration. Now, let me explain to you and share with you the difference between sympathy and compassion 'cause this is a really important distinction. Sympathy is now where you're now experiencing the same emotional state. Sympathy is where you can tap into what emotion are they experiencing. Now it's actually, to a degree, it's actually feeling that feeling that they're experiencing. It's actually putting yourself in the same position so you actually start to take on that experience. Well, I would suggest that a much more empowering way to approach that would be, instead of maybe doing sympathy, compassion is a far more empowering approach. The reason being is compassion is understanding what they're going through without needing to drop into the emotional experience and re-experience it. For example, if you know that someone's going through depression, you could be experiencing a lot of sympathy. Sympathy meaning you are now imaging that you're them and you're now almost feeling depressed as well. So, if you are sympathetic, then what does it do to your energy? Does it elevate your energy or does it lower your energy? Sympathy, generally the way that most people do sympathy is because you put yourself in their position. If they're going through something that's quite heavy, well, it's going to, it's going to reduce your vibration, it's going to reduce your energy. It's not going to elevate you, it's going to actually diminish you. Now whereas with compassion, you can actually approach that with a sense of lightness and understanding because you go, Oh, okay, I understand what that person is going through. And instead of dropping into that negative experience, you can actually stay neutral or above the positive axis, if you like, and stay stay dissociated from that experience as we say in oh-peeds, dissociated from that experience, which is understanding but not needing to buy into the story, not needing to buy into the negative emotions. Understand what they're going through and, yes, have a level of consideration and kindness for them, but we don't need to feel the negative emotions and don't need to create unnecessary suffering that sometimes comes with the sympathy. So, that's just a little bit of distinction between compassion versus sympathy. So, for me, now, my preference is to be compassionate rather than sympathetic because sympathetic doesn't really elevate me, doesn't really help me with the situation. Whereas compassion, it provides me with that inner resource and an inner emotional state to be able to actually choose how I want to relate to that situation. So it's choosing our higher frequency, it's choosingour higher vibration, choosing our higher level of consciousness which I think is really important. One of the questions, Hi, Olivier, good to see you here, brother. Hope you're well. One of the great questions that I actually, I love answering is, you know, how do you avoid complacency? Because for a lot of people, they find it difficult to be compassionate. And they find if they are too compassionate they find that they don't speak their mind. They find if they, they're afraid if they're too compassionate that means that they're not going to communicate what needs to be communicated. Well, again, complacency has nothing to do with compassion. Compassion is simply understanding where someone's at and just not judging them. That's compassion. Complacency, it's not taking action, it's not taking responsibility. Complacency is ignoring what needs to be attended to. Complacency is letting other people walk all over you. Complacency is not speaking your truth. Complacency is not valuing the things that are truly important to you. So complacency really is where you've taken your foot off the accelerator. It's where you're denying your true expression. Complacency is not honouring who you are and what you're here to do. Complacency is making choices that are out of alignment, or not making any choices or just being in a state of despair and just not taking responsibility for life. So this is a powerful distinction which I recommend is worth exploring in greater depth as you go through your personal development journey because you'll start to see where you're being complacent as opposed to being compassionate. Complacency is not a place that anyone really wants to be living because when you're in complacency well, all of a sudden, you're not making choices, you're creating excuses, you're delaying, you are not making those choices that should be within alignment. You're not having those authentic vulnerable conversations, you're putting things off, you're denying parts of yourself because maybe it's uncomfortable. And so, really here, a big part of this is actually having compassion for ourselves. This is the biggest part is having compassion for ourselves knowing that, yes, demonstrating compassion for others is sometimes challenging. Creating compassion is sometimes incredibly challenging, particularly when you don't agree at all with the behaviour or the actions that are being taken place and you know that they're creating incredible amounts of suffering for others. For example, war. How do you be compassionate against people that are starting war? How do you do that? And the answer is exactly the same way, it's not agreeing with it, it's simply acknowledging that compassion is the ability to understand someone and not judge them. To approach that perspective with a sense of love and acceptance, acceptance meaning not agreement, but acceptance meaning non-judgment. So, when you activate this virtue of compassion what you now find is you can now go through life, you can sail through life and you're now not judging things, you're now not experiencing frustration, anger, resentment, hurt, right? Because the only reason why we experience a negative emotion in the first place, or suffer in the first place, is because we don't understand why someone's done something or why we've done something and therefore we judge it in the absence of understanding. In that regard we'll judge. That's really quite simple. In the absence of understanding, we will judge something. Once we understand why something's happening, how it's happening, the nature of why something is taking place, well, we get the card, we get the download, we get the aha, ah, I see why that thing is taking place. And that alleviates the judgement , it reduces the judgement incredibly. So this is one of those master virtues. Compassion is one of these master virtues. When you demonstrate it and when you practise it like any daily practise, like any virtue, by focusing on it and exploring it, you strengthen it. And then by asking yourself how do you actually demonstrate more compassion, you get access to understanding more about that virtue of compassion which means you can now demonstrate it more consistently throughout your day. So there's some powerful questions you can ask yourself to take this a level deeper is where are you being complacent in your life? And then, how is that totally different than being compassionate? Because you can be compassionate to anyone or anything that's not in alignment, but what's not required is the complacency. What's not required is the not speaking your mind, not being assertive, not making the choices that are in alignment. So again, this leads to a whole lot of other empowering questions like, well, where am I judging others? Where am I, where do I have expectations around how others should behave? And if they don't do that, well, I'm going to judge them. That's a very very empowering perspective or a set of questions that you can ask because judgement lies at the core of all of suffering. It lies at the core of all of suffering and as soon as you can uncover the judgement , through asking questions like, well, where am I not compassionate? Who are the people that I find it really easy to be compassionate to? That's a good one because for a lot of us, it can be very very easy to be spiritual or to be loving and kind in certain areas. Oh, in this area, I'm very very compassionate, I'm very very loving. These people are wonderful. Then in this area, whoa, no, they're horrible, that's different. I'm not going to apply love or kindness or compassion over here. That area there, I can be kind and compassionate in all these other areas, but not that. Now that's major clue. That's a major clue that there's some serious covert judgement taking place there. And we're in some serious resistance to that element. Now that's a great awareness to arrive at the place of knowing that if you have difficulty being compassionate to certain people, certain things, well that's just a clue. There's a little lack of understanding in that context or in that situation which means that, in the absence of understanding we judge it. In the absence of understanding we will judge. That is the default programme of the humanness, the default egoic programme. In the absence of understanding why, what, how, we're going to judge it. Whereas when we have a high level of consciousness we can now see the code, we can see why something's taking place. So that's a really important distinction is, if you are still judging someone or if you're not accepting of something, well, it just means you haven't really understood it yet. Haven't understood it. That's the source of all chaos. That's the source of all suffering. If we are still experiencing suffering or resistance it just means we have a lack of understanding. 'Cause if we had full understanding, full conscious understanding of something we wouldn't be suffering, we would understand it and we would know exactly why that's taking place. It's like when you're operating your computer and something's gone wrong, it's frozen. It's easy to get frustrated, why isn't this thing working? Whereas if you were a computer programmer you could see all the lines of code and all the circuits and everything if you had full awareness of everything was taking place inside this computer, you can say, well I know why the computer's freezing, I know why it's glitching is because because of that, that, and that, and that. You can problem solve it just like with a car. When you take your car into see the mechanic, right? The mechanic knows why the car's broken because he understands how the car works. So, whenever you have a breakdown, well, the reason why the car's broken down is, okay, there's something broken and we need to have a level of understanding to fix it. So see suffering or judgement or complacency, any of these concepts, as if we are demonstrating these consistently and if we haven't quite figured them out, all that's missing is a level of understanding of how something's taking place, at the thought level, at the emotion level, at the feeling level, or understanding others, understanding yourself, it really comes back to understanding. Which is quite humbling. It's actually quite a beautiful realisation to have. It's a beautiful realisation to have to know that we still have a level of understanding that we're not yet connected to, that we haven't tapped into, that we haven't activated. And if we haven't got that level of understanding yet, great, celebrate that. It's something to be celebrated. So, that is compassion versus complacency. That is a little bit more about why compassion is so important. And to make this even more tangible, what I recommend is exploring what is compassion for you. Actually write this question down. What is compassion? Because for myself, when I first looked at this, I didn't have a clue what compassion even was. I didn't have access to that. It wasn't even part of my vocabulary. It wasn't even available emotionally or spiritually or conceptually, I didn't even have access to that. So, I recommend that you see compassion as a as an exploration. The more that you explore this, the more you deepen your awareness around compassion by writing the question, what is compassion? And asking yourself, why is it important? You are going to deepen your awareness around a whole lot of other associated dimensions around acceptance, non-judgment, love, kindness, and living your life in alignment with your true expression. So, I'm going to leave it there for this week, guys. I trust that was valuable. I trust that was some new insights, some clarity there on some distinctions that perhaps you already knew or thought you knew. And, yeah, it's a great opportunity to deepen your awareness of compassion. So, I'm going to leave it there for this episode. I trust you guys got value from that. Looking forward to seeing you guys again next week. Until then, much love. Wishing you guys all the best. That's a wrap for Transformation Tuesday. Bye for now.