Understanding compassion and empathy and the impact it has on wellbeing.
What is compassion?
The dictionary says - Compassion is the sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
How can we have pity and concern for others?
What does compassion feel like?
What is empathy?
The dictionary says - The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
How can we understand and share the feelings of another?
What does empathy feel like?
They both sound very similar but there is one crucial difference. I see empathy as running much deeper than compassion, in that empathy is actually the embodiment of compassion.
One example of the difference between the two is... You see a homeless person sitting on the street and you feel bad because he\she must be cold and hungry probably. So on your way past you hand over some loose change and wish them some good fortune, you're showing some compassion. Empathy on the other hand is when you stop and sit down on the cold pavement beside the homeless person, as you don't want them to have to look up at you. You look into their eyes, because you want to connect with their soul, the loving energy of your heart reaches out to them, they feel you, you feel them. You talk to them, maybe ask if there is anything you can do to help. They talk to you, you actively listen, and absorb how their life must feel for them. You inhale the aroma of their troubles. You imagine what that must feel like being outside on a freezing cold street day after day, with little or no love...warmth or feelings of safety and security ~ fellow brothers and sisters walking on by shaking their heads ~ or turning the other way. You wonder how on earth these kind of things are still happening to human beings on this earth with all the resources we have! Where vulnerable people who have had a really rough start in life, who incidently more often that not are suffering the most horrible symptoms of mental and physical health problems. Those wonderful brothers and sisters of OURS who have had to resort to taking drugs rather than food, to numb out all the pain of a life where other HUMAN BEINGS have taught them not to look after themselves, a life that has taught them there is no love...there is no home...there is no respect...there is no hope...
What is the difference between love, heroin and morphine?
Both heroin and morphine are derived from the opium poppy plant. Both are potent drugs categorised as opioids. Both are known for their analgesic pain relieving properties. So morphine is the legal version of the more potent and illegally derived heroin which is often prescribed for severe pain, severe trauma and after major surgery.
How do Opioids get rid of your pain?
Opioids react with your brain by binding to opioid receptors in your central nervous system. Your body does naturally produce some opioid like chemicals, which is why these receptors exist in the first place. So in reality morphine and heroin change the way our body perceives pain.
So getting back to the homeless person. You have already sat with them, listened to them. Maybe you want to do a little more...Possibly you give them some food, warm clothes or even some information that will help them find a bed for the night, some food that day, crucially even some kind words of encouragement that will help them through their day. Perhaps you even choose to give them a hug or put your hand on their shoulder. You're still looking into their eyes. You see a change, you feel a change. Maybe... just maybe you've made a difference for them...The difference between compassion and empathy. The difference between morphine, heroin and LOVE! 💕
LOVE - A desired human chemical reaction which sends out hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, adrenalin and cortisol. This bonding prompts that chain reaction and hormones which flood the body with the feel good of social connection, which is stress relieving, pain relieving and pleasure enhancing, and wow there aren't even any nasty negative side effects. Sounds like another synthetic love drug ecstasy doesn't it? And guess what to top it all the real fix is absolutely free!!! I know totally mind blowing and completely unbelievable!!! I'm just one of those crazy people who believes the sky isn't the limit! I know it's just nuts the very idea of limitless... and silly me for thinking even for one nano second there could ever possibly be such a thing as an ideal world? So anyway why are we REALLY having to manufacture what become very expensive drugs that give people horrible addictions, terrible side effects, and sometimes take lives completely away? Don't get me wrong I do know that drugs have their place especially with acute conditions. I just wish more people could answer the questions...Why aren't we focusing on prevention more anymore? Why is the simple solution that started this paragraph not taken daily by all, and given to all...and received with the most optimal gratitude?
Have a look at your own life. Sit with yourself on that cold pavement. Ask yourself the questions that you already have the answers for. Actively listen to yourself. Are you happy with this body? Are you happy within this home you've built for yourself? Are you happy with your companions? Are you happy with your environment? Show yourself compassion...empathy...LOVE... LISTEN to the answers...
Often with M.E we are told it is all in the mind...strange that isn't it that people are really focusing on that with M.E and yet somehow they seem to focus on other things when it comes to other conditions and diseases that affect our physiology which in turn affects our physical well being! Why are these people conveniently forgetting that the brain is connected to the body, and is the body's control centre, which quite simply put controls everything that the body does. Have they somehow decided that with M.E the brain lives out with these parameters. Why have they not decided that with many other conditions, diseases etc...Just because the pathology is more quantifiable at this time. According to a 2012 study published in the American Medical association 60-80% of visits to primary care doctors may be related to stress. 'A poll of GPs along with practice nurses and managers found that 88% of them reported having a stressful work life with 43% admitting they had resigned or thought of resigning as a result.' This was reported in the British Medical association in August 2016. A very saddening great big vicious circle.
I am a huge admirer of David Hamiltons work and the digestible, humble and enlightening way he pays forward his experiences and wisdom. He really gets to the grass roots of things and his authenticity really touches and changes people's lives. If you don't have his book "How the mind can heal the body" I would strongly urge you to read it. In his book there are various testimonials from people who have healed themselves from various diseases including terminal stage 4 cancer etc...These were all done with various holistic practises including using mind body visualisation techniques such as the one I used religiously twice a day for six months, called 'Quantum Field Therapy.' This is where you become your own surgeon and you imagine going inside the body part or system that is troubling you, and using the power of your mind you activate the bodies own innate healing abilities. To summarise this technique you basically go into a meditative state and use visualisation to go inside your body to see the diseased body area, you go inside it then the cells, atoms, subatomic particles and DNA. Then you imagine yourself at the quantum field in total peace and stillness. When you are there you say "Show me the waves (vibration) of this disease." You see the waves in the minds eye and you cancel them until they all collapse and subside, until you eventually see clear calm waters. I always imagined mine as the most beautiful shade of turquoise. You then throw pebbles into the water with your written positive affirmations on them for things like good health, peace, harmony, love or whatever it is you need to enhance your health, happiness and wellbeing, you may want to have them all different colours, if that's what suits you. These pebbles encourage ripples throughout the whole expanse of the water. Thereafter you invite the scene to show you what perfect health would be. Sit with that image for a while and really soak it up...And then come back out of the quantum field asking for it to show you that healing has been done, this could be a change in the colour of the water or whatever unique scene you choose to visualise yourself, do exactly the same with coming back out of the DNA, subatomic particles, atoms, cells, body part or area. This is explained in further detail in David Hamilton PhD book 'How the mind heals the body' on page 204. He also has other fabulous books.
To be able to to heal our physical body we need to remove mental blocks and realise what a profound impact our mind has on our bodies. And know without a shadow of a doubt how much our rich, or poor inner language affects our systems, and how our entire being responds to that, it doesn't differentiate between fantasy and reality.
By Creating the right conditions for wellness to flourish we can eventually rewire our brain by strengthening the neural pathways that regulate our emotions, thoughts and reactions. This creates a harmonious environment for the rest of our body. Accessing and understanding the power we have within our beautiful mind, body and spirit to heal ourselves is the most amazing gift we can give to ourselves!
Having compassion and fully encompassing empathy and love for ourselves helps us to discover and uproot all the things we don't need or want, and shed the light on what we do need and want. When our own vibration is more inline with our authentic wants and needs we start to attract situations that are of a higher vibration ~ Those wonderful life enhancing blessings that make us healthy, happy, content and fulfilled!
Sending much love and blessings oxoxox