In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss the power of compassion for yourself and others, and how it is a key to your happiness and success.
First a quick update:
**** ‘Oscar curse’ may have merit: Study – According to a University study of the 751 best actor and actress nominees from 1936 to 2010, 63% of the winning actresses divorced compared to those actresses who lost in the same category and the average marriage for a best actress winner was only 4.3 years where a marriage for a non-winning actress lasted 9.5 years. Can a man really handle his wife’s shining success? Read my quotes in the Toronto Sun: http://www.torontosun.com/2012/02/24/study-finds-broken-marriages-are-more-common-for-best-actress-winners
**** ‘Dance Moms’ ‘nude’ dance routine promotes pedophilia? The TV show “Dance Moms” titled “Topless Showgirls” features girls as young as eight performing a sexually charged, provocative showgirl-like routine, thrusting their chests forward and backward, and donning tiny sparkly flesh-colored bras and panties to give the illusion of nudity. Read my quotes and insights about the way that this condones, encourages and motivates adults to imagine little girls dancing naked for their pleasure. http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/03/09/dance-moms-nude-dance-routine-episode-playground-for-pedophiles-experts-say/
Now, let’s talk about why compassion is important to your success and happiness.
The dictionary defines compassion as: “the deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.” In order to have a deep awareness of the other person’s suffering, one must be able to imagine and feel that suffering, feel that pain; one must be able to imagine himself as the other person and then experience or feel the same things.
As a behavior expert and therapist, I have found that one of the primary keys to emotional freedom for my clients is compassion – for self and others – including compassion for the person who instigated the pain. It is compassion that leads to forgiveness.
Compassion, though, begins with oneself.
Clients will often say to me, ‘but I am compassionate towards others, but not compassionate towards myself.’ I respond that “If you can’t be compassionate to yourself, then you don’t really know what compassion is.” How can you feel someone else’s pain if you can’t feel your own? How can you say you want to relieve someone else’s pain if you don’t want to relieve your own? Of course, I am not referring to a crisis or emergency where you must put someone else first to save or rescue them.
“If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not able of developing compassion for others.” – The Dalai Lama.
In the special process I use with clients – Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique (SRTT) I begin by helping the client to explore, identify and validate everything that they feel and felt as a child. Using insight and wisdom to explore and uncover the reasons behind the emotions a child felt helps to the client to validate and accept what he or she felt as a child. And this leads to compassion for oneself and to forgiveness for oneself.
Dana, a mother of three daughters, told me at the end of our session that when she now thinks about her childhood and herself as child, she can see, feel and perceive the innocence of her childhood; she has let go of the judgment she made about herself (the self-loathing and criticism) and now she can actually feel that she was a little girl and even her image of herself as a child is now gentle, soft and loving. This is a common statement by my clients.
Once the client has expressed compassion and forgiveness for herself, it is easy for her to move to the next step in the process: to express compassion for the Instigator (the person that caused, contributed or instigated the pain.) Dana also boasts that she has an even better relationship with her daughters now and is more understanding, loving, patient, and, of course, more compassionate. Watch the video about SRTT here: http://www.patrick-wanis.com/phone-consultations/
The three keys to compassion are Emotion, Imagination and Understanding. You must be able to:
- Feel emotions
- Imagine being the other person and experiencing the world through their eyes, and;
- Understand and accept that we are humans, fallible – we all make mistakes
Thus, the first step to setting yourself free is to feel your emotions.
From working with addiction, I have also seen a pattern where almost every addict has no awareness of what he/she truly feels – the deep pain, trauma or host of emotions that are hidden beneath the mask of the addiction. The very denial of the pain can lead to addiction as a way to avoid feeling the pain or emotion (often also perceived as potentially overwhelming), particularly if the person was taught that their feelings don’t count, are insignificant or that they shouldn’t feel or think a certain way.
The more that we deny our own feelings or choose to swim in narcissism, the less compassionate we can be. A narcissistic person is self-serving, promiscuous, unable to form meaningful relationships, displays strong and aggressive reactions to criticism or rejection and suffers from deep insecurities. Thus, a narcissistic person is not aware of the deeper pain that he or she hides. Read more here: http://patrickwanis.com/blog/how-special-are-you-plastic-self-esteem/
Generally, other than the surface emotion of anger, as a society, we are progressively shutting down our feelings. Polarization, anger, hatred and bigotry are often the byproducts of the refusal to explore one’s own deeper emotions and motivations – even if the primary emotion is simply fear; they are the byproducts of a lack of self-compassion.
And this trend towards feeling nothing is being encouraged by many psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies who continue to label any and every discomfort or pain as a mental illness. The fifth edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is proposing that shyness, grieving and defiant children are each mental disorders. The intention is for us to feel less and less, to avoid any discomfort and instead to operate as robots void of the human experience. When we are void inside and when we refuse to accept, validate and appreciate our feelings of suffering and pain, it becomes impossible for us to express compassion to other people. The result is total emptiness, isolation and disconnection from the world.
Every relationship begins with you. And if you cannot forgive, love and accept yourself, then you cannot have healthy, meaningful and rewarding relationships with others.
And compassion is not an intellectual process; it is an emotional process that inspires us to action, to want to help relieve the suffering of others. Begin today with yourself; begin to listen and express compassion for what you are feeling, for your pain, suffering, self-doubt and everything else that you feel. And remember, it is okay to be human, to make mistakes, be imperfect and even screw up!
Read more on compassion here, “Are you compassionate?”
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist