Monday, September 19, 2011

True compassion is giving what the other person needs...

True compassion is giving what the other person needs, not necessarily what you want to give.

I have a friend who has been married for decades...unhappily. He believes he is giving more than he is getting and so does she. He gives her complete financial support and freedom, but what she really needs is acknowledgement that she is an equal partner, that what she brings to the table is just as valued as his money. She keeps and runs a beautiful home for him. She hosts wonder dinner parties, business and otherwise, but what he really needs is more intimacy. They buy 1100 thread sheets, but the bed is cold and empty.

Now, I'm not suggesting that they are not giving, because they are, but they are not giving what the other needs. She needs acceptance, and respect far more than she needs more money. And he needs loving far more than new furniture and drapes. Everything in their life looks from the outside like it is all fine and dandy, but the truth is they substitute alcohol for love to deaden their pain, and continue their dance of indifference...

So many relationships are like this. Each partner mentally counting up what they give and give and give, making sure they are giving what they perceive is enough, but neither giving what is truly needed. And then wondering what happened as they watch their eroded relationship turn to dust.

This occurs in other kinds of relationships as well. Some people are great at giving advice to their friends, but what the friends really need is for them to simply listen. The friend needs understanding! Many bosses think the weekly paycheck is a substitute for consideration, it's not. Employees need to work in an environment that allows them dignity, and would walk through fire for a boss that they know would never ask them to do something he would not do himself.

In all of these examples what is missing is true respect. In place, we have Egos, deciding that they know what is needed better than the person who is needing. I have often said, "I want to meet a woman who can figure out what I really need, how I really need to be loved, and then willingly give me that." Imagine the divorce rate if this was the norm. Imagine how all relationships would BE, if they proceeded with a similar attitude!

Today, watch the people in your life, lovers, friends, coworkers and even strangers that you meet. They will clearly tell you what they need, if you can get over yourself for a moment and pay attention to THEM more than yourself. Give them respect. Give them what THEY need, not what you want to give...


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