Welcome to the podcast - I am so pleased that you joined me here today! I am your host Elena Bensonoff. As you settle in to listen today, take a moment to relax with a few deep breaths. Inhale strength and love, and exhale worries and tension. Perfect! Now that you have connected with yourself again, let’s begin!
We are approaching the holiday season of one of the busiest and strangest years that many of us have experienced. You may be feeling the pressure to complete tasks, meet the needs of your family, or even just find time for some self care. Regardless of where you find yourself today or what your priorities are, I want to share a powerful method for spreading love and joy especially during hectic times. It is the gift of compassion. If we had one gift to give ourselves and those around us, it would be compassion. I’d like to explore today what compassion is and is not, how compassion changes us, and then offer you some real life examples of how we can practice compassion this season and beyond.
It builds and uplifts both the giver and the receiver. Compassion leaves room for everyone to step into their true self. Compassion nurtures growth tenderly with subtle strength. When we accept what is, and offer unconditional love and understanding, we pave the way for transformation. A way I like to describe compassion is holding space for someone to feel and process life the way they need to. Compassion casts a comforting shadow of love and respect.
When we are able to let go of our expectations of how we think things ought to be, we lead with pure intentions that desire the elevation of the best in everyone. True compassion does not seek to fix others or push its own agenda. Compassion doesn’t even strive to change what is, even in the midst of a problem. It is heart-felt togetherness. Compassion allows us to sit with someone who is hurting in the middle of the mess and offer support, love, and peace. Compassion is not actually solution driven, but acknowledges that we all have the answers within us already and opens the door of self-discovery. It is the understanding that there is pain and meeting that pain with the healing light of love. Compassion says, “I feel that too, and I am here with you. You are not alone in this.”
This is the magic of compassion.
Research shows that when we feel compassion, it manifests physically. Our heart rates slow, oxytocin is released, and pleasure sensors light up in our brain. This facilitates connection and belonging, allowing us to relax and process our thoughts and feelings in a more positive and constructive way. Can you see how this overflow of goodness washes over both the giver and receiver of compassion? What an incredible gift to give!
We can feel compassion towards people. Start with those close to you. Take the time to slow down and actually listen when they are talking. Hold judgment, wait on advice even, and simply listen. Then love them in that place, acknowledging that what they are dealing with sounds hard or scary, and let them know that you appreciate their strength and love how they shared their heart with you.
Compassion can be felt towards nature too. Next time you are out for a walk, notice the life all around you! Maybe you see a tiny flower that found a way to thrive in a crack in the pavement. What a beautiful reminder of the beauty of this world. Or maybe you hold traffic for a moment so a family of ducks can get to the other side of a busy road. Perhaps it looks like purchasing all-natural products that do not damage our planet but make room for healing instead. All of these things send our waves of love into the world.
Thank you so much for taking the time to listen today and explore the gift of compassion. I appreciate you and the ways you show up every day being the best version of you there is! If you would like to learn more about my work, you can find me at wholistic.com. Until next time, be well and hold compassion close to your heart.
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