Compassionate Relationships

by | Jul 28, 2022 | Nurturing Your Practice

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Two people sit together with backs facing the camera on a hill looking out over a field of grass. One of them leans their head on the others' shoulder.

Humans and animals have a primal need to reproduce and carry on their genetic contributions to life on earth. At a young age, babies are dependent on their caretaker’s ability to protect and nurture young ones to repeat this life cycle. 

People may crave compassionate relationships at any stage of their development. What type of relationship one is after varies from person to person. An individual may be looking for physical closeness or emotional intimacy. Another may be searching for both. People may even seek to develop a compassionate relationship with themselves. Self love and self compassion present us with opportunities to love others more deeply. Compassion toward others and toward self is an essential part of our yoga practice. Most humans desire compassionate relationships in their lives eventually. Compassionate relationships are possible between friends, families, partners, co-workers, and even strangers. 

Compassionate relationships are more meaningful and can sometimes require more giving than a taking. When in a superficial relationship, we may be in such a partnership for a specific outcome. Therefore, giving, or selfless service, must be a part of a compassionate relationship. We may devote our time to our partner and deeply care for this person. When observing compassionate relationships, we can witness active listening, loving gestures or words, protection, careful caring, tranquility, comfort, and empathy. These and more positive qualities are shared by both parties of interest. 

When a relationship is lacking compassion, the person may seek counseling in the form of couple’s or family counseling. Parents of teenagers may feel that their child is no longer displaying the compassion he or she used to. An intimate partner in a relationship may seek counseling because he/she feels compassion dissipating. A deep friendship may fall apart because one person decides to no longer give to their relationship as before. 

How can we learn to manifest more compassionate relationships? Most important things in a relationship take time, effort, and devotion to create compassion. It’s part of our personal practice. Compassionate relationships are mutual and share the same amount of equality and respect between both parties. 

The word compassion includes the word ‘passion’ and ‘com’, as in ‘with’. We try to behave and think with compassion in our relationship. Rather than nagging or arguing we have deep conversations showing vulnerability and responsibility in a relationship. Another factor of compassionate relationships is that both individuals try to see the other’s point of view. Open mindedness and non-judging are great tools to utilize in order to form compassionate relationships. Passionism means with devotion and in depth, therefore it takes work to remain in such a relationship. 

In yoga, we utilize the tool of compassionate self-forgiveness to differentiate between the truth and perception. Most arguments arise because one person or both forgot to discern. Taking a step back and examining one’s own feelings by journaling or practicing compassionate self-forgiveness usually helps dissolve an argument. Truth is, two individuals in a compassionate relationship love each other regardless of different viewpoints or criticism. Our perception of a situation may look very different than that of our partner’s. Sometimes these differences cause an argument. Recognizing when feelings take over and create a potential uncompassionate reaction is the first step. Our feelings trick us into believing that we are right in assuming that something is the way it appears to be. When further examined, we often come to the conclusion that we were incorrect with our assumption. If just one person knows to discern between truth and perception, we can usually resolve conflicts. Next time you’re laying down in bed, remember this concept to deepen your relationship.

Another great tool to foster compassionate relationships is to apply the three gates of speech by Rumi. Here both parties in a relationship let their next words pass through these three gates before speaking. Ask yourself ‘Is it true, Is it necessary, Is it kind’. Your conversation will turn into a compassionate one.

Understanding the other person’s love language is also helpful. Some people may feel loved by acts of service, others if you spend time with them. There are those who feel love through touch, and those who need to hear words of affirmation. The last love language is to feel loved through receiving gifts. Understanding one’s own love language and that of the other person in a relationship deepens their compassion.
I hope you’re interested in creating more compassionate relationships with these suggestions. Such change could easily improve your quality of life and that of those around you. You might find that compassionate relationships are the most rewarding relationship one can experience. That knowledge may grow the desire to share with others the benefits of compassionate relationships. There are many paths that can help us learn to have more compassionate relationships if you’d like to inquire further. One can join yoga classes or workshops, become a mindfulness coach or yoga teacher, or study to become a minister or social worker. All of these suggestions and many others help facilitate and understand compassionate relationships.

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