Codependency Therapy: Giving the Best Gift (Part 4 of 4).
Greetings and welcome to my post. It is December 2014 and this is the time of the year in which we pause and focus on giving gifts to one another. As you know, all the big retail shops & internet shops are hoping you will buy, buy, and buy all the wonderful discounts on various items they have posted on their respected websites. So it is December and it is Christmas and it is natural to focus on buying someone an item as a gift.
So let me ask you to consider an alternative gift to someone you love or someone who is important to you this year that you cannot buy on line, at a retail store, or any other half dozen places in which you shop. This year let me invite you to consider giving these four gifts: Love, Honesty, Faithfulness, and Compassion.
The last gift that I want you to give at this time of the year is the gift of compassion. I once heard the story of a workshop speaker giving a talk about marriage and relationships who asked all the couples in the room to stand up and face each other and hold hands as if they were renewing their vows. They were asked to repeat some typical phrases: I promise to love you, cherish you, be there for you in sickness and health, etc. But then the workshop speaker asked them to repeat this: I promise to hurt you and I expect you to hurt me.
Now I know that is not what you want to say as a vow on your wedding day to your new spouse. But the reality of the marriage is that each spouse is going to hurt one another and the sooner each spouse can face this reality, the sooner they can began the process of understanding and acceptance of this reality.
How do you respond to the most significant person in your life when they hurt you? When they make a mistake? When they sin and are selfish or do what they want to do? Or how are you going to respond when they fail you or disappointment you? What types of emotional or verbal comeback do you say to the person when they do this?
Compassion has to do with really recognizing that the person to whom you are relating is an imperfect broken person who needs compassion and empathy just as much as you need it. Far too often, we give compassionate to our pets, a story we hear that breaks our hearts, or compassion and empathy for someone you has a death or loss in their life. But when it comes to our spouse or significant other, we tend to not show compassion when they make a mistake.
Why is that? Because we falsely conclude that we can give compassion and empathy to a pet, a hurting friend, or someone we know who is going through a loss on a one time basis knowing we don’t or are not expected to do it over and over again. It is easier to show compassion once than to have to do this on a regular basis with the same person. Come on, compassion and empathy should not be given that much or that often to the person we love?
But the reality of life is we need to give and re-give compassion and empathy over and over again to the same person throughout your life time and commitment to them. In other words, all people need compassion and empathy because all people are hurting. Compassion says you are weak and you make mistakes and I can see and feel your weakness, your vulnerability, your pain. Compassion will ensure and prove to the other person that imperfect and hurting people can experience your love, gentleness, kindness and patience. It is okay to admit a weakness or failure.
In other words, when you are hurting, don’t you like love, kindness, compassion and empathy shown towards you? Does it not hurt you when someone fails to be kind and show compassion towards you? The same can also be said to others around you who also need compassion and empathy. You need it, others need it, so model being a compassionate person and give it to others and hopefully they will participate in a mutual give and take showing compassion towards you. If you do this all year long in 2015, I promise you will have improved relationships in your life. Give the gift of compassion and watch your love life grow.