You might have a client who keeps getting caught up in anger or fear about people on the “other side” . . .
. . . especially coming out of a very tense and politically divided year.
But Dennis Tirch, PhD has an exercise to help clients soothe their emotional distress and cultivate compassion – both for themselves as well as the people with whom they completely disagree.
Have a listen.
One of the things we want to do is recognize a flow of compassion for yourself. Consciously breathing in love, kindness, and compassion for you, as a being who is faced with challenges and suffering. Faced with your own anger and pain and wishing for an alleviation of your own suffering. We want you to be able to be with and contain that pain with as much kindness, strength, and courage as you need to draw that in and activate the neurophysiological networks and the response repertoires that allow you to respond with compassion to such challenges. Then we want you to send compassion out even to those places where you find it hard, so for all of those people who I think are doing the wrong thing during the pandemic, to all those people who hold a political view that might be frightening or scary to me, I would wish for their suffering to cease and for whatever suffering they might be causing to cease. I would have a strong, protector-type compassion for my fellow human beings, not just a nurturing compassion, with a wish to do whatever I could to help stop the suffering that people are perpetuating, even if it’s through the views that they’re locked into from their own sense of threat or drive or hunger or separateness. That’s how I take a look at this and actively practice compassion for all beings, and you are a being, why not put your oxygen mask on first, and begin by breathing in that compassion and then seeing what it’s like to send it out in ways that are authentic to you.
According to Dennis, the hardest places to send compassion are often the ones that need it most. But we first have to develop compassion for ourselves before we can send it to others.
So now we’d like to hear from you. Do you have a client who could find this helpful?
Please leave a comment below and let us know.
If you found this helpful, here are a few more resources you might be interested in:
Stephen Porges, PhD on Political Differences at Holiday Dinners
How Trauma Affects Relationships
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