When you think of the word compassion, what springs to mind?
For most people it seems to be associated with feelings of warmth and affection, or a way of improving our relationships with others. However, compassion is really much more than this: it is an integral part of being human, and is something that needs to be actively worked on, if one is to develop it fully (something one of my teachers taught me).
As a mum, I sometimes find it difficult to practice compassion for my children.
Often we see our kids as an extension of us, so when they do something that violates one of our personal values (such as hitting another child perhaps), our urge is to correct the behaviour, rather than to seek what caused the behaviour in the first place.
Children are equal with adults, and they deserve the same amount of respect.
With this in mind, it is much easier to develop a sense of affinity and closeness with them, so that when they act in a way that challenges your emotional state, you will be able to feel compassion regardless of whether you judge their behaviour as right or wrong. And quite often your reaction to the challenge will be more gentle and from a place of love.
All human beings, ourselves included, have an innate desire to be happy and overcome suffering.
When you understand this about yourself and others, feeling true compassion for your children’s struggles is much easier to come by. They just want to feel better, and so do you.
And in this understanding, compassion is based on their fundamental rights as a person, to feel good and be happy, rather than on your own mental projection of their behaviour.
So go easy on yourself, and stop beating yourself up. You can only have as much compassion for others as you do for yourself, so practice forgiveness and love every day.
You deserve it.