I really need a reality check here. I am trying to work on my "compassion and enlightenment" and "radical acceptance" but I want your feed back.
From my perspective, it seems you're putting a great deal of energy into justifying
General definition of compassion: "a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering."
My definition of compassion (which was formed after enduring too many years of difficult relationships with people with PD's) is "wishing that myself and others be free from suffering."
I also believe - very strongly - that before
we can demonstrate compassion for another person, we must first hold compassion for ourselves
. (See the 51% Rule.) Doing so makes coping with the difficult emotions of fear, anger, shame, guilt, loneliness, confusion much easier. It also makes the world around us a better place to live. Self-compassion
involves acting gently towards ourselves when we're having a difficult time, failing at something, or dwelling on something we don’t like about ourselves. Instead of just ignoring our pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, we stop to tell ourselves “this is really difficult right now,” how can I comfort and care for myself
in this moment?
Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing ourselves for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion
means we are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said we were supposed to be perfect?
For me, compassion isn't simply a sugary~sweet way of talking or being. It is not a lame excuse for inaction. It does not condone acts of violence. It does not excuse the behaviors of people with personality disorders.
Compassion is a force. Compassion changes the impulsive way we take action against injustice. Compassion gives us a more effective and long-term means to overcome the perils in our lives. Compassion is not bleeding-heart pity for others
, nor it is a feel-good act of giving money away. Compassion is a world view that we are all in it together, that we all make mistakes that we have a right to correct. Cruelty and inconsideration can be replaced with strength, instead of striking back with the same cruelty.
Far too many self-help authors promote radical acceptance as a panacea to cure difficult relationships. Most of them aren't Buddhists, nor do they even understand Buddhist practice. My personal attitude towards those who do probably isn't important, and I'm still working on achieving the ability to overlook their indiscretions. Radical Acceptance
means clearly recognizing what we are feeling in the present moment and regarding that experience with compassion.
It does not mean that we accept abusive behaviors. It is not something that can be learned effectively - without focused and deliberate effort in mindfulness training.
So it comes full-circle and ends up where we started: Self-compassion.
Perhaps some self-help authors also throw about the term "enlightenment." I do not see a connection with relationships involving people with personality disorders. I also do not believe a person who has achieved this state of being would accept an abusive or troubled relationship.
It is defined as:"The attainment of spiritual knowledge or insight. In Buddhism: "that which frees a person from the cycle of rebirth."
Kitty, you asked for a reality check, and I've tried to deliver one. We've discussed in the past - the influence of your parents' behaviors throughout your upbringing. I realize what you're currently struggling with is very difficult
. I also strongly believe that you will find the answers you're seeking
when you begin the process of understanding the roots of some of your adult behaviors and thought processes.
I also "get" that you're enduring some tremendously difficult circumstances because of your husband's behavior patterns. There really is another way to cope with this, too. Usually, the support and assistance of a good therapist can jump-start this process and put you on a good path.