This post will be an interesting one to write. You may remember that there are certain ingredients I picked to coincide with specific dates throughout the year. This is one. The reason? This week marks the 15th anniversary of the day I married my husband, Dave Emmons.
Your ingredient for the week is: Compassion
I picked this word because I believe that one of the most necessary things in a marriage is compassion. Every single one of us has hard things to face in life, and every single one of us makes mistakes and bad calls in judgment. Our hope must be that the impact of those mistakes and judgment calls does not cause too much upheaval or discomfort to those we care about, but the fact is that it almost always does. After all, when something blows up, it is those closest to the blast who get hit by the worst shrapnel.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us marry people we believe to be good people (for the record, I also believe that the vast majority of us are, in fact, good people), meaning that we don’t go out of our way to cause others harm, we show kindness far more often than we don’t, and we generally take care of our responsibilities and treat our loved ones with respect. So when we or they drop the ball occasionally, it’s usually not the end of the world and that’s where the compassion comes in. We can look at them with understanding and knowing that whatever has happened does not typically represent who they be.
That being said, important to note that letting people off the hook who consistently behave badly and treat people with unkindness is not my version of compassion. That’s more along the lines of allowing yourself to be treated like a doormat and if that’s you, you might want to consider that there are people out there who would rather treat you with kindness and respect and start asking yourself why you’re allowing this. Which leads to an interesting point…
So what about compassion for ourselves when things don’t work out the way we hoped? Have you ever woken up and realized that what you have is not what you planned? I suspect most of us have moments like that and the choice we have in that moment is whether we are happy and satisfied enough with what we have created or whether we’ve gone off track somewhere and need to get back on. After all, sometimes what we have is far better than what we thought we wanted isn’t it?
But what if it’s not? One of the hardest things when you find yourself in that position can be allowing yourself permission to want the things you want, don’t you think? We have so many rules and ideas about what’s ok and not, what’s right and wrong, what makes us good or bad people… What if your desire calls you away from what is “acceptable”? There’s almost always a price to pay at that point and only you can decide what you need and what it’s worth.
It seems I have a lot to say on this subject and I’m in danger of going off on another tangent here so I’m going to stop making my point there. I’ll just ask you to consider that compassion is not something that is only meant to be given to others. Sometimes the person who needs the most compassion from us is the one we see looking back from the mirror. Giving yourself at least as much as you would give another? Definitely worth considering.
What do you choose?