A Lesson in Compassion

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I hate conflict and try to avoid it wherever possible; so it was quite a shock to my system last week when I did something I have rarely done in life, I lost my temper. Looking back from a more detached perspective, I can see how I had been sucked into someone else’s whirlwind of negativity and how their energy had brought down my own.  On top of that, ideological and personality clashes had led to a toxic air which was finally cleared, but not after a good deal of unpleasantness.  As I sat in the middle of it all, and despite being upset by their words, I suddenly felt compassion and sadness for my foe.

In the ensuing days, I have been able to return to that feeling and realise with the help of a wise friend that I had been opposite an individual in pain, who was unable to reflect on the effect they were having on those around them. I had tried to act as a mirror but have to acknowledge that my actions had been misjudged.

I am a very sensitive person; is that a good or bad thing? When I was younger it felt like an insult; ‘you’re too sensitive’; ‘you shouldn’t take it to heart’.  I’m sure many of you reading this can relate to that.  Growing up I felt my sensitivity was a flaw; a disadvantage.  I’m open-hearted and honest; that’s a risky combination too, as I have learnt over the years.  Yet being sensitive can also make you empathetic, with the ability to feel things deeply, and that is a gift.

However, as I have reflected in these last few days, I have decided I would rather refer to myself as intuitive. I knew a year ago when I came into contact with this individual that I didn’t want to be around them, but I ignored my doubts; I had to work with them, and so tried to make the best of things.  Yet as so often happens in life, that quiet voice knew there was a negative aura around this person and it tried to tell me to guard against being pulled into it, but I didn’t listen and tried to handle the situation as best as I could.  My best was not quite the right way though, and I can see that now.  I can also see how I beat myself up over the resulting situation, which also revealed I need to be more compassionate towards myself as well as others, even those who cause me pain.

This has been a lesson in compassion for me; and one from which I intend to learn and grow. It has also prompted a return to spiritual practices which I had long neglected and so I hope I will become a better person for what I have been through.  I sincerely hope my foe, my teacher in this lesson, can do the same.

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