Love IS All…

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Love is the magic word that holds the universe together.

It is both an emotion and something ephemeral that lives like a fire’s glow.

Or the pink light on the clouds after the sun has set.

It is alive and yet, indefinable.

It causes the heart to beat more rapidly, feelings to show….

People to write, sing, dance and become totally immersed in its hold.

Love can beckon coyly, or flaunt itself with wanton abandon.

Love can live and grow seemingly forever, or vanish in a fleeting moment

When we least suspect…

And in the twilight of our years reflecting on the life we have lived….

It is the love which colors every turn and twist of our memory.

And when we pass from this earthly plane,

It will be the love that will light our soul on its journey home…..

By Alana Fairchild from “Journey of Love”, page 131.

 

 

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How Compassionate Are You?

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Compassion is a tender and sympathetic form of caring. It is a warmth of heart that allows you to put yourself in another person’s shoes and give you a strong sense of what he is feeling. Compassion literally means that you feel the other person’s passion. It allows you to tune in to what is going on in someone’s life, so you can understand what he is going through. Being able to feel what another person feels in this way, allows you to help him and care for him in the best way possible.

When someone says “I really feel for you” it means he is compassionate toward you. Sympathy is the particular type of compassion you feel when you reach out to someone who is having a bad time, or who is in emotional or physical pain. But you are also being compassionate when someone is having a good time and is perhaps feeling elated, and you reach out and feel what he is feeling. This type of compassion is usually called identifying with someone or having an affinity with him. The Spanish word “simpatico” is a more accurate word than compassion because it is used in both of these types of situations.

Moreover, you are a sensitive person because you can tune in to who people are, and a caring person because you are responsive to their needs.

There are two elements to compassion: The first element is the ability to be compassionate, to be warm hearted, tender and sympathetic. The second element is understanding and recognizing what the other person is feeling. Just being a compassionate person gives you the ability to tune in to someone and be aware of what he is feeling. Being tuned in to someone in this way also helps you recognize what is the most compassionate thing to do in his particular circumstance. Your compassion allows you to understand how and when to reach out to him.

If you have trouble being compassionate, you find it difficult to tune in to what others are feeling. You tend to be somewhat apathetic and unemotional. Your friends would not consider you the most supportive person in the world, and you are probably not the first person they come to for advice.

If you would like to become a more compassionate person, learn to become more supportive of someone close to you. Purposely choose a specific thing she wants to do, which does not particularly interest you, and support her in that. If you think her project is unwise, you may decide to express that opinion, but if she still wants to do it, give her all the emotional support you can. Being supportive is good practice in being compassionate because it helps you understand the difference between true support, which is emotionally assisting someone in doing what she wants to do, and conditional support, which is supporting someone only when her project also interests you.

Compassion also comes from learning to understand what people are going through. Practice this by becoming a more empathetic and understanding person, by mentally putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, and seeing things from his point of view. This helps you identify with his situation, feelings and motives, and makes you aware of what he is going through. If you have a genuine interest in understanding someone, you are naturally willing to put some energy into finding out what he is all about, and this automatically improves your ability to be compassionate.

Practice listening to people’s problems and talking things out with them. Become a good counselor and advisor. This will develop your compassion by helping you see things from the other person’s point of view.

Also, develop a desire to grow by learning from others. Put some energy into developing a lasting friendship with someone you can learn something from, or teach something to. The potential for growth creates an exciting and dynamic connection between you, that is very conducive to developing a greater level of compassion for both of you.

How Open Are You?

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Openness is the ability to allow someone to understand who you are.  Complete openness is revealing all and hiding nothing.  It is sharing who you are, your thoughts, emotions and motivations, without reservation and without holding things back.  It is being able to reveal what you have done in the past, as well as what you hope to do in the future.

Being an open person is like living in the sunshine.  You feel you have nothing to hide.  You feel confident about revealing who you are because you like yourself and believe in yourself.  You are not afraid to open up the dark corners inside you for others to see.  You feel comfortable about revealing who you really are to those who can accept it.

Openness has both a doing side and a knowing side.  The doing side is being able to reveal who you are.  The knowing side is knowing when it is wise to be open with a particular person.  Just because you have a strong ability to be open does not mean you can be open at all times with all people.  Openness is not something people can demand of you.  You don’t owe it to all people to bare your soul to them.  Being open is similar to being intimate or being committed in that it is a gift you give to certain people when you want to.  It must be this way because these are the things that create bonds between people, and you have the right to choose who to bond with.

Not all people are capable of accepting it if you are completely open with them.  You have heard people say “I didn’t want to know that”.  You continually estimate how much others are ready to accept, and how much they really want to know about you.  If you reveal something about yourself, and you find out afterwards the other person didn’t really want to know it, or couldn’t accept it, then it could be said that you have imposed the information on him against his will.

If you find it difficult to be open, it is because you are afraid of the repercussions of revealing who you are.  You hide the things you are ashamed of and don’t like about yourself, because you fear criticism and humiliation from others.  You reason, sometimes falsely, that if you don’t like something about yourself, you can hardly expect others to be accepting of it.  When you can’t be open, you tend to withdraw from people, and this makes you feel lonely and isolated.  Also, you sometimes have trouble being open with yourself because you don’t want to deal with those things you don’t like about yourself.  You push them aside and this keeps you from growing as a person.

The ability to be an open person and “wear your heart on your sleeve”, depends to a large extent on how well you like yourself, and how comfortable you are with yourself as a person.  The best way to like everything about yourself is to not have anything to dislike.  Think of the things you don’t like about yourself, and work on changing them.  Obviously, you can’t change specific events that have occurred in the past.  But you can change the way you operate your life so you don’t make the same mistakes again.  And, strangely enough, if you know something is in the past, and is not part of how you operate now, that is often all it takes to feel it is no longer necessary to hide it.

Another thing that helps openness is learning to choose your relationships carefully.  In choosing a personal relationship, one of the biggest favors you can do yourself is to make sure you are comfortable enough with each other that neither of you feels there is anything to hide.  Openness is essential for a solid long term relationship, whether it is a friendship or a love relationship, and each of you must be able to accept what the other reveals about himself.

In any relationship, a person’s feelings for you are based on who that person believes you to be.  If you don’t reveal who you really are, his feelings for you are not based on reality.  If you find yourself in a relationship with someone you can not be open with, you know that if he says he loves you, he doesn’t really love you because he doesn’t really know you.  He only loves who he thinks you are, and you have not allowed him to fully see that. This is why it is so important to get into relationships only with people you can really be open with.