This question stems from @Stingray and @Michaela's comments here: http://www.inwardquest.com/questions/54597/why-are-the-vibrational-times-we-live-in-faster-now-than-they-used-to-be/54653, among many other posts lately.
I have always felt compassion spring up inside me when I see someone else is suffering. My heart just hurts to see others hurt, I don't know any other way to describe it. So I really want to help myself as well as them. If someone asks for help, I just have a very hard time keeping my mouth shut. Um, you may have noticed... :s
I've been learning here lately that it can be overdone, and disempowering to the very people I would like so much to comfort and assist in any small way I can.
As I said to @Stingray, I don't want to be dragging people down by feeling sorry for them. I'm looking for that balance that so many others seem to understand, but has somehow eluded me.
I want to understand where that line is - I mean, between compassion and pity. Any suggestions?
asked 18 Jul '12, 11:51
I think, like everything else to do with taking physical action, you have to at least feel neutral (preferably "good") within yourself first before taking the physical action of offering help to others.
Some people's life situations can seem so distressing that even the slightest observation of them can send you into deeply troubling thoughts of your own.
Most, if not all, the people who regularly participate on IQ are highly sensitive to the needs of others, because they want to help others at some level within themselves even if they don't realize it yet.
But helping from a place of disconnection within yourself isn't help, it's just making two people disconnected instead of one :)
If you want to "uplift" others, you cannot do so by being mired in the same emotional pain as they are. As controversial as it sounds, simply sympathizing with the plight of another just keeps them locked in that painful emotion even longer.
So I would say that, after feeling the initial emotional "hit" of sensing their pain, you need to do what you need to do to find your own "center" again and then, from that "center", do what you feel inspired to do regarding that situation.
And sometimes, from that place of (at least) calmness, you may not feel like you want to help them. For me, when that happens it means I am not the appropriate person to offer them help in that situation and I can just trust that the strength of their own desire will get their "answer" to them somehow through the path of least resistance, usually someone else who is more on their "wavelength".
I think if you do that, you don't need to worry about that line between compassion and pity. Your inner guidance will never allow you to disempower another.
EDIT - July 21, 2012
Funnily enough, one of today's Abraham quotes on the AbeQuotes group was about compassion...
Hi Grace...Great advice from both Stingray and Wade so I'll try to come at it from a slightly different angle or a female perspective, since I feel a little compelled to offer an answer as I think my comment was partially responsible for you asking the question.
I totally get where you're coming from as not too long ago I found myself struggling somewhat with the same issue. I've always been pretty sensitive to other people's energy and can immediately sense when someone's not feeling good even when they put on the mask of false bravado and try to hide it.I realized that to be so empathetic to their suffering that on some level I must have been feeling that way too. The more time I spent on introspection and nurturing my own personal dvelopment the more I began to garner the ability to come from a place of genuine compassion without taking on any of their suffering.
I'm fortunate enough to work in an environment where I get the opportunity every day to deal with a diverse group of people and I use it as an opportunity to help them feel a little better about themselves. When I sense the energy of someone suffering or not feeling good I no longer feel sorry for them ( that's pity and smacks of undertones of feeling superior to them and is really just sheer arrogance on my part, as I truly feel we all have the same power within to end our own suffering, and where they are in that moment is where they need to be for their own soul growth ). Instead I look for something positive to say to them ( just a simple compliment works wonders... there's always something if we look) and it never fails to elicit a positive response back, sometimes only in the form of a smile. And the wonderful thing is I know I've helped in some little way to make them feel better about themselves and in return I feel good for helping in some little way and the negative energy doesn't affect me :)
answered 18 Jul '12, 19:01
The difference is someone that just wants to feel lousy and have sympathy compared to someone that wants a viable solution. Like when I ask for help I want solutions, "try this or that." "Poor you" does nothing for me.
If someone just wants to hear, "poor you, life is hard" then they don't really want an answer they just want to be comforted. The thing is empowerment, encouragement maybe even "I understand I have been through this and you can too, here is what I did..."
Jai just said a lot just want to whine and complain. They don't really want help, 99% percent of unsolicited advice is not taken. In those cases you can excuse yourself or also listen with love.
Pity and Compassion as seen from a higher perspective...
I don’t care about what another is doing; I only care about who I’m being. And seeing others move through their life in a completely unaware manner, I do not pity them. That's how much I care about feeling good and my own sense of well-being.
To pity another means that in your view, others should or should not be engaged in those activities or creating their reality in the way they’re doing. Thus pity is a form of arrogance in which you believe you know better than another or that another needs saving by you.
Compassion on the other hand is not pity. You’re aware that those who are unaware will always be creating their own pain and suffering. You understand this, you know this and you also know that it’s their choice and unless invited you do not interfere with their choices.
So compassion is allowing others to be as they are and letting them live their life as they see fit. With a willingness on your part to always be ready to assist them in any way you are called to, in any way that you have the capacity to do so, but only when invited and not otherwise.
And then, over time, you'll notice that those people who're really only looking to feed their pain will drop out of your experience. And the void created by their absence will be filled with those who're genuinely looking for assistance and to improve their lives. And then, together, you can work on that in ways that are self-empowering for everyone involved ♥
answered 20 Jul '12, 03:44
Another great question Grace.
I think your compassion becomes 'healthier' as you grow spiritually and sensitise to how you feel.Its a purer feeling of compassion with less ego attachment.Anyway feeling empathetic for someone will become more painful for you as well so you wont stay in that feeling place long.As your Awareness increases you will always be in a better place to be in touch with how you feel in the present moment.In time you will be responding to that compassion from a better feeling place which may lead to more positive outcomes.
I've never really entered the area of pity (as I don't really care to get absorbed by someone else life). And find it very hard to be compassionate at times people grieve. I'm like "Opened to help, yes, I'm here if you need help to improve - come at me, but don't ask for compassion." And by the same token, I hate it when people show sympathy with my bad situation. I'm desperate for solutions, not sympathies. Big difference. Anyone ever tells me they feel compassion for me, makes me want to punch them in the face, because when desperate for solution,you literally see the value of every moment, and there's nothing more aggravating than to see someone taking those moments of your life only to tell you a piece of information that has no helping value whatsoever to your current situation. It's a rage mode after that. As Stingray says, it can lock the person in their unhappy state even more.
If you want to help others, offer them a better perspective of life than they hold at the moment. Preferably by being example of it. To uplift you must live uplifting life. It might be beneficial to understand their position, but only to identify the "bridge" from their place to your place effectively.
In my opinion, there's no need to 'tune in' to their vibrational state at all, feel compassionate or even pitiful only to find out how they feel. It's obvious if they're not laughing their lungs out from joy of living.
It might come off as a little bit cold-hearted, but make no mistake, I've got passion for life, not compassion for it, and I suggest everyone do the same. I don't want compassion be part of my reality at all. That alone I'd find pitiful.
Just to descibe this "clattering" concept and "pain feeders" with a real life, eye popping example of my own.
I was friends with a kid a grew up with in early years of school, same age, same street address, even same classes (which, in upper school, are not in a students power). We hung out literally every day, with the longest not contacting be three or four days, and shared every precise detail of our personal lives together. Nothing would ever convinse us we would not grow old together. We were as intimate as soulmates. The reason for this emotional bondage was because our friendship was built upon feeding each others pain bodies:
"Yep, wanna hear them?"
"I'd love to, then I'd love to tell you about the sadness of my life!"
"Oh my god, that is awesome! You are the best friend! So I got my heart broken the other day......."
A few weeks ago (a long time, just take in the context we hung out every single day), on our most recent physical 'hang out,' I was feeling super good and had a great time just chatting with him. The content of our discussions gradually focused less upon problems, and more upon the facts of life or otherwise I blended in humour. Even if there were a few perceieved 'bad' things he talked about, I couldn't seem to attach myself to it; it did actually seem very boring.
The clattering thing proved itself to me right in the face, when he said something totally unexpected, "Man...Today's been, like, really weird. I feel sort of, strangely uncomfortable." From that day on, either I missed his phone calls or otherwise whenever we did chat, he was also feeling super high. I artifically attempted to prove if vibrational matches authentically worked, and I discovered when I tried to call him, he could never get back to me, even for a few days, until he's on the same wavelength as me.
And attempting to help them is like talking in a foreign, space language. It goes one ear and out the other, and I have tried perhaps hundreds of times. It can seem unfortunante, but I totally resonate with what @Eddie has to say.
answered 24 Jul '12, 20:36
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