Detached Compassion: Part two

“Play your part
With all your HEART,
 Then let go”.  ~ Jackie Goodman (image: S.Rojo)

When we love someone, it’s natural that we care deeply when he or she is suffering or struggling with life challenges including dysfunctional relationships. Sometimes, it can take a very long time for a loved one or friend to do anything about finding solutions to improve their quality of life. Or sometimes, our loved ones are attached to lamenting about problems without really wanting to change their situation. It becomes a habitual practice for them to complain, thus consuming a great amount of our time without any meaningful and healthy dialogue. These factors alone can be overwhelming and provide a potential sign that we need to step back (detach) and seriously consider the effects of our involvement in the situation. By detaching, in a compassionate way, we allow ourselves time to become fully present again and reconnect with reality. 

​An additional indicator to understanding our over-involvement in a particular situation or circumstance lies partly in our belief system. Whether our belief system is rooted in our culture, religion or family, we must accept that we have either adopted by choice or inherited, many of our beliefs. Those beliefs indicate, dictate and manage the whys of over-involvement. Oftentimes they can stifle our relationships rather than strengthen them.  If we are truly honest, sometimes we haven’t even questioned what our motivation to become involved may be or have failed to recognize the extent to which we have become involved. This is a good opportunity to begin asking ourselves questions about how and when to support our friends and loved ones. If not we frequently increase the potential to assume too much responsibility for situations and or circumstances that do not belong to us.
Although we may know more than our friends and loved ones about how to better assess and solve problems, we may never completely understand why they are subjecting themselves to a given situation.  People’s problems, like our own, are frequently multidimensional with many facets hidden, waiting to be uncovered. The key to avoiding over-involvement is recognizing and accepting that it is our friend or loved one’s responsibility to discover for themselves what holds them to their relationship with something or someone. Only when we are invited to, can we then truly serve as a guide to our friend or loved one.  Asking good open-ended questions to allow them to contemplate deeper. It is vitally important to understand and accept we don’t benefit from giving advice or shooting solutions at them like in a dart game.  I personally have experienced people like this, and it is very unnerving and unpleasant.
We can only be present for people as a guide when we detach compassionately. Time and patience are essential qualities to have while our friends and loved ones loved ones become gradually aware that change must occur. Sometimes they get it, and other times they will not. But, play your part with love and let go. Detached compassion has a lot to do with respect for your friends, loved ones and for yourself.

​If you’re the kind of person who may not be capable of coping with your loved one’s problem, then it is better to be honest and tell them. Do not force yourself to do or say anything because it will only cause disharmony. Remember, it’s their journey not ours.
Some questions that can help us hold the space for our friends and loved ones as they embark on their process may be: “what are you doing about this problem?” “How can I best help you move forward?” “What type of resources do you have to solve this?” And if you really are allowed to go deeper with that person, questions such as: “What is your fear about leaving this situation or circumstance?” “What kind of enabling have you been doing?” “Have you considered therapy/counseling from a professional?”
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