Episode 113: The Power of Compassion - Choosing Empathy Over Reactivity

Episode 113: The Power of Compassion - Choosing Empathy Over Reactivity

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We must choose compassion and empathy in our reactions to situations. By taking a deep breath, evaluating situations, and considering past experiences, we can cultivate a more peaceful reality. I encourage you to practice compassion throughout the day, which is vital in our spiritual evolution and awakening.

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THE POWER OF COMPASSION: CHOOSING EMPATHY OVER REACTIVITY

Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you choose to react. - Charles Swindle

I love this quote because how we choose to react in any given situation will determine what level of peace we get to be at. It also determines what level of empathy and compassion we have towards ourselves and towards others.

I believe compassion is how to free ourselves from past experiences that subconsciously run our reactions. I also believe compassion can allow us to experience peace differently.

THE IMPORTANCE OF REACTING WITH COMPASSION

Reacting with compassion allows us to approach any given situation with understanding, kindness, and empathy. By choosing compassion, we open ourselves up to experiencing peace on a whole new level, not just for ourselves but also for those around us. A recent encounter at a local donation center reminds me how compassion can diffuse tense situations and foster understanding.

A TALE OF COMPASSION IN ACTION

The other day, I was in my car waiting to drop off some donations at a local center. As I waited in line behind two cars, a woman suddenly started waving at me from the car in front. She got out and walked towards my window, asking me to back up because the worker was on one. I asked her what she meant by one. She told me that he just dropped a piece of glass, and he was so upset he just continued to drop the rest. She didn't feel safe and needed to leave fast. Instead of assuming the worker was bad, I showed compassion and assumed he must be having a bad day.

REFLECTING ON OUR OWN REACTIONS

When the lady shared the story, it reminded me of a time when I was working as a waitress when I was 18 and had a tray full of drinks. I was filling up one of the cups with soda, and I put it on the tray, and it fell off the tray. My instant reaction was anger. I was having such a bad day and that one cup had me spinning out of control when it fell. Because I was so angry, I tipped the whole tray of drinks over. I was just over it. I was done. This anecdote serves as a reminder that our reactions do not always reflect our true selves. Understanding this can help us approach others' reactions with empathy and compassion, knowing they may also be experiencing difficulties.

3 STEPS TO CULTIVATING COMPASSION

Part of our spiritual evolution is to give compassion to others, not to assume the worst, and to give ourselves permission to perceive the situation differently so that that particular situation doesn't steal our peace. We get to choose to react in a different way.

Three ways can support you in having compassion come forward, even in the trickiest situations.

PAUSE AND BREATHE

Do not react. Do not start speaking without evaluating the situation. You can't evaluate the situation unless you step back, pause, breathe, and move into your heart space.

HAVE A 360-DEGREE VIEW

Give yourself permission to take a 360-degree view of the situation. Sometimes people may react because they're having a bad day because of something in their life. Or maybe that's just the normal way they react. Taking a step back will allow you to bring forward the next level of empathy and compassion that you can have for yourself and others in the situation. By taking the 360-degree view, you're considering other possibilities. You're also considering your past experiences that could influence your perception of the situation. I know for me that I've been in situations where I have made assumptions; I've reacted in a particular way because I didn't look at the entire situation. I didn't think about some other factors that could have influenced someone's behavior or reaction.

DETERMINE FACTS VS. EMOTIONS

Distinguishing between facts and emotions is another essential aspect of cultivating compassion. While emotions naturally arise, allowing them to dictate our reactions without considering the facts can hinder empathy and compassion. By focusing on the facts and separating them from our emotional responses, we can approach situations with clarity and understanding. Returning to the story of the worker at the donation center, the fact is the guy dropped a glass, and then hdropped the rest of the tray on the floor. That's the facts. The emotions are what we choose to allow to percolate within us and out of us in that particular situation. If we stick to the facts, something broke, no big deal, no one got hurt, he cleaned it up, and that's it. That's the story.

COMPASSION FOR SELF AND OTHERS

Compassion extends not only to others but also to ourselves. Practicing self-compassion allows us to acknowledge and address our emotions in a healthy manner. By mastering both compassion for others and self-compassion, we can navigate life's challenges with grace, creating a reality that aligns with our desires and fosters peace.

COMPASSION IS A POWERFUL TOOL

Compassion is a powerful tool that enables us to navigate life's challenges with empathy and understanding. By choosing compassion over reactivity, we create a ripple effect of positive change in our lives and those around us. Through conscious practice and mindfulness, we can cultivate compassion and transform our reality, experiencing greater peace and fulfillment. Let us embrace compassion as an integral part of our spiritual journey, and watch it blossom in every aspect of our lives.

If you enjoyed this episode with Amy Robeson, we would love to invite you to check out other inspirational episodes by clicking here. Enjoy!

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Full transcription of the episode:

Life is 10 % of what happens to you and 90 % of how you choose to react. That's a beautiful quote by Charles Swindle. And I love this quote because how we choose to react in any given situation is going to determine what level of peace we get to be at.

It also determines what level of empathy and compassion we have towards ourselves and towards others. I believe compassion is the way to free ourselves from past experiences that are subconsciously running our reactions. I believe that compassion can allow us to experience peace on a different level.

The other day, I was waiting in line in my car to drop off some donation items at a local donation center. There were two cars in front of me, and a woman instantly starts waving at me in front of my car. She gets out of her car and she walks towards my window, and I said, Hi, what's going on?

She goes, Do you mind backing up? He's on one today. I go, What do you mean? She goes, The worker. He just dropped a piece of glass, and he was so upset he just continued to drop the rest.

I don't know what's wrong with him, but I need to get out of here fast. I felt so much compassion for this woman because, one, his behavior triggered her in a way that she didn't feel safe.

I don't know what she was assuming about him, but her demeanor, her energy, and the way she was explaining things to me was she needed to get out of there, and she needed to get out of there fast. She did not appreciate the way he was behaving.

My instant reaction to what she said about the worker was, Man, he must be having a bad day. Oh, I wonder what's going on with him. Instead of assuming there was something wrong with him, I took a step back and I just assumed that something was happening to him for the day, and it just wasn't going his way.

I instantly gave him compassion. I wasn't mad at him. I wasn't mad at him for dropping glass. It's okay. It's just glass. We can back up our cars. He can clean it up. No big deal. I backed up my car, I let her get out, and I just parked my car and then locked this stuff up.

The worker, by the time I got up there, was cleaning it all up, and it was okay. When she told me this story, I thought of a time when I was at work, when I was 18, and I was waitressing, and I had a tray full of drinks. I was filling up the cup and putting soda in it, and I put it on the tray, and it fell off the tray.

My instant reaction was anger. I was having such a bad day and that one cup had me spinning out of control when it fell. So I just tipped the whole tray over. I was just over it. I was done. And sometimes we react in such a way that we normally wouldn't react that way. Our behavior wouldn't be like that.

But I was having a bad day. And that's how I automatically reacted in that particular moment. I let one single cup of soda spilling cause a chain reaction in me because I had enough for the day. We don't know what's going on inside of other people. We can only walk in our shoes.

Our past has us perceive things in a particular way that can cause us to make assumptions, to add stories. Part of our spiritual evolution and part of our ascension, and part of our waking up is to give compassion to others, to not assume the worst, to give ourselves permission to perceive the situation differently so that that particular situation doesn't steal our peace.

We get to choose to react in a different way. There's three ways that can support you in having compassion come forward, even in the most trickiest situations. And this is step number one, which is an easy step, is to pause and to breathe. Do not react.

Do not instantly allow your adrenaline to start pumping, and give yourself permission to just start speaking without evaluating the situation. You can't evaluate. You can't take a step back unless you pause and you breathe, and you move into your heart space.

The next thing is to give yourself permission to take a 360-degree view of the situation. Sometimes people may be reacting because they're having a bad day because something's going on in their life. Or maybe that's just the normal way they react.

But if you can take a step back, it will allow you to bring forward the next level of empathy and compassion that you can have for yourself and for others in the situation. By taking the 360 view, you're considering other possibilities.

You're also considering your past experiences that could be influencing your perception of the situation. I know for me that I've been in situations where I have made assumptions; I've reacted in a particular way because I didn't look at the entire situation.

I didn't think about some other factors that could have influenced someone's behavior or reaction. And it's a growing experience. The next way to take compassion and empathy to the next level is looking at facts versus emotions.

So in this particular situation at this donation center, the fact is the guy dropped a glass, and then he dropped the rest of the tray on the floor. That's the facts. The emotions are what we choose to allow to percolate within us and out of us in that particular situation.

And if we stick to the facts, something broke, no big deal, no one got hurt, he cleaned it up, and that's it. That's the story. That's it. And if we allow emotions to move into the situation, which is okay if we allow emotions to percolate within us, to address them, to process them in a healthy way.

That's okay. It's not healthy when we add emotions to the perspective of the situation that allows us to not give empathy and to not give compassion when compassion and empathy is to always be given. That is the thing. I don't care how horrible someone is. I don't care how horrible the situation is.

There are so many facets to any given situation, and there are so many, many things involved that no matter what, there's a level of compassion and empathy that we can give and we can honor in that particular situation or experience, no matter what.

If we choose to do these things, what ends up happening is we can start to have compassion turn on automatically when we're in sticky situations where our emotions are not taking over the reaction before we have the moment to perceive other things or to consider other things involved.

This is something I believe that is a part of our spiritual journey, and it is not going away. It's such a simple topic, but the next time you're driving, and you're getting angry about how people are driving, or the next time you're in a grocery line and the cashier is taking too long, or the next time you're getting upset because of outside circumstances, can you pause?

Can you take a bird's eye view? Can you consider facts that will allow you to shift into compassion? I want to encourage you to practice compassion throughout your day, not only for yourself, but for others. And there are two levels of compassion. It is compassion for others, and it's self-compassion as well.

And both of these are to be mastered throughout our lifetime. Can you master it? Can you give yourself permission to bring in empathy and compassion to the next level? I know you can. Become more present of your reactions because your reactions create a chain reaction that develops and creates your reality.

So the more compassion and the more empathy you have, the more you're going to shift your reality into the one that you truly desire to have that includes having more peace.

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