Section from my forth coming book Compassion transcends the loss of a loved one
I would say these two qualities are the principal markers of love. It is essential having these skills because loss especially death is a part of life. The transition to a new life is the hardest journey to transcend when you lose a loved one. Others around you that have these gifts is always a blessing you will never forget. Building these skills into your core is the greatest gift you can give to those in distress and yourself.
The empathy and compassion should always come from unconditional love. The loss of a loved one can never be replaced, any sacrifice you make for them either financial, time or energy is a kind gesture from the heart that will always be treasured. You can’t measure empathy, compassion, or love because it is everlasting with no limits. An acronym for empathy will help you understand this powerful quality in transcending the loss of a loved one for yourself and others.
E = Engaged with the person feelings and thoughts
M= Mouth closed make no comments, listen intently
P= Perceive their suffering
A= Affection when appropriate
T= Time is measured by compassion
H= Heart to heart communication
Y=Yoga recenter the body, mind, and emotions to be available for others
Engaged with the person feelings and thoughts
The connection cannot be superficial because the suffering individual will pick up on your vibration. If a person is drowning you don’t throw them a rope and walk away. It will take effort on your part to be committed being absorbed with them intimately. Feelings are natural so be genuine and validate them. Don’t say sorry because its not about you it’s about them, say I see you are very sad or angry recognising their pain. Their thoughts may blurt out unpleasant words, don’t take it personally recognise the suffering underneath that crusade of pain by their comments. Grief transforms a person personality to characters you may have never seen before. Language and actions of the familiar person you know disappeared and it may shock you, give them space to vent or cry.
Mouth closed make no comments, listen intently
This may take self-control and will power to do for many. The rescuer wants to save them and save themselves from the anguish. Remember you cannot bring their loved one back to life and ignore this great loss. The pain I suffered from innocent comments at my wife funeral are still with me today. The truth is nobody knows how others feel and you cant compare your grief with theirs because it’s their pain not yours.
Perceive their suffering
Death is complicated because human relationships are complicated. The death of a child is different from the death of a parent, but both will suffer, and the relationships connected to them will cause different losses. Empathy is 100% about their loss so don’t compare to your own because they are not the same although they may be similar. Loss of a loved one has many facets not just one dimension. What have they lost? The roles of the dead love person fulfilled could be from taxi driver to lover. Psychological losses to emotional support are the new memories shared of unconditional love. The introvert losses could be that one special friend impacted more on them than the social butterfly who has many friends at their beckon call. The financial losses, structure of life losses, hopes and dreams losses, list is limitless. Perceive their suffering not your own, feel it, be it and live it and your soul will join their suffering in harmony together.
Affection when appropriate
Affection comes in different sizes and frequency depending on the culture and the grieving person historical narrative. Affection definition is being warm, tender, and loving. The root of the word comes from the idea desire, inclination, wish, intention. Boundaries create safety and security for the person space. Appropriate is the boundary from their world not yours. You might be naturally affectionate embracing all unconditionally, but the grieving person may not be that inclined. Remember grieving has many forms with a mixture of emotions brewing inside the psyche. For example, if the person is overwhelmed with sadness, anger may be following closely behind. Your touch could spark a reaction to a full-blown outburst leashed against you. Gauge the situation its what they need NOT your needs of affection. The simple reminder to ask yourself who am I in relation to them. You might be the partner best friend, but you are not close to the surviving partner. Affection you want to give is because you lost your best friend not thinking of the feelings of the other. The root of the word is intention, ask why do I want to do or say this? Other extreme is to avoid all contact, but what if the grieving person is an affectionate person and you are not. Empathy is about identifying the other person needs from inner drive not the thinking mode. This is good reminder for those who struggle with affection to help you understand the important role affection has on a grieving person. When a partner or child is lost all intimacy stops instantly. Imagine your partner or child passes on, that affectionate embrace is lost forever. Your geniune embrace may be the only one they received that day or week.
Time is measured by compassion
Time is the biggest loss when a loved one dies because the human element of time is linear. The past, present and future is wiped away in an instant and all you have left is memories and relics or items of the loved one. Compassion is mentioned frequently in this book as the new companion to help the grieving one transcend the loss to a manageable size. Life will never be the same and empathy remembers that fact. Never fall into the trap of repeating cliches time is a healer, time heals all wounds, move on, get over it, etc because that is not true. Validation of another suffering is not contained by time and moving on. The expectations of others who project their life on to otherss are not aware of the grieving person universe. One of my relatives lost her husband over 40 years ago when her 4 children were young, and her husband is very much in her heart despite marrying again, and it still pains her at times. The significance of time in a person life is totally subjective not objective. For example, have you forgotten all your childhood stories even those painful events? The intensity of pain may be a background memory, but it had imprint on the psyche. From a spiritual and philosophical perspective life has darkness and light, to see the light you need to have the darkness even though it’s painful.
Heart to heart communication
“If I had a friend and loved him because of the benefits which this brought me and because of getting my own way, then it would not be my friend that I loved but myself. I should love my friend on account of his own goodness and virtues and account of all that he is in himself. Only if I love my friend in this way do I love him properly.” ― Meister Eckhart
Empathy that heals comes from the heart not the ego. Ego job is to navigate the human body and will ignore love to get its own needs met. It is important too feeling into(empathy) because emotion has no thoughts because it is energy of life and universe. For example, why does the father run into the burning house to save his child it’s the heart not ego? Heart to heart communication is not cognitive in the true sense but emotion is active listener feeling every drop of sadness from their heart connecting to yours. Compassion energy from your resources will be depleted after heart-to-heart encounter. Refill your emotional energy by being compassionate to yourself because if you don’t, you can’t have effective empathy for others.
Yoga recentre the body, mind, and emotions to be available for others.
Grief effects the whole person so yoga can help you refill your compassion after episodes of showing empathy to others. Yoga recentres the body, mind, and emotions. The yoga will open the heart and release unwanted residue of emotional energy and helps you be present for others.
Grief effects the whole person so yoga can help you refill your compassion after episodes with showing empathy to others. Yoga recentres the body, mind, and emotions. The yoga will open the heart and release negativity and helps you be present for others.
The vital skills of developing self-awareness with emphatic understanding facilitate good relationships with others. Empathy and compassion are always available regardless of what the internal struggles and external struggles humanity has in life. The beauty of self-awareness provides an opportunity to live in our bodies and have somatic empathy for ourselves and others enriching life. Embracing compassion and empathy is like the soothing balm that gives comfort and support to a fulfilling relationship eternally with ourselves and others.