Remember....beyond all else...life is all about choice!!!! This also means YOU can choose what “solitude” means for or looks like to you. Some of the loneliest and most isolated times I’ve experienced, have been during my marriage or surrounded by many people. Have you ever been at a party or family function, you’re at a table with a group of people, lots going on all around – you may even be engaged – yet you feel separated/detached; as if you’re in a bubble wondering 'why am I here'? It’s as if everything is coming ‘at’ you, rather than you being a ‘part of’ it. That can be very isolating; a state of solitude. But, then there’s the flip side... whereby you are alone. Perhaps you’re in nature or writing, painting, shooting hoops, working on a car, or cleaning a closet....and you feel so included, part of a greater experience. This too is a state of solitude, but you don’t feel isolated. What I’ve also come to learn is, as I rediscover myself and accept graciously my life based on compassion...the new and renewed relationships entering my life, have deeper meaning, are more purposeful and so much more rewarding.
Living in compassion means to truly know who you are; to see value in all who are around you and the value all life forms bring to your life. It means recognizing and learning about the differences between you and all things, and then celebrating them as well as those qualities that are similar to and shared with you. It means, when faced with conflict (or possibilities of growth, as I like to think of it), you consider options that inspire all who are involved, to be their best authentic self; and that will promote outcomes that will provide opportunities to maintain the dignity and value of all.
This is in no way meant to be a means to manipulate one’s own agenda; far from it in fact. The truth is, engaging in a life based on compassion often means you’re always evaluating who you are. When things happen you always seem to be looking at the bigger picture and....you find yourself contemplating, does this feels right or...doesn’t it? Then....the questions begin. Do I have a choice to engage or not? If I do nothing; what then? What do I have to offer? How does my engagement change anything, or will it? Is my intent ego based or heart centred? How does what I have to offer inspire and promote compassion rather than trigger conflict?
Questions; questions; questions. When this happens...I find it best to choose to stop; pause to simply be still. Mediate, reflect, regroup...whatever you want to call it. The point is, to just listen quietly to your own heart. The answer is always there. The challenge is - recognizing it; and then....truly hearing it; then....having the courage to act accordingly. Sometimes ~ the right answer is to just let go, even if just for now.
Other times...the answer is to engage; but how. This is often when you will learn some of your greatest life lessons and.... THAT IS OK!!!!!! That’s what life is about. As long as you believed your decision was best for you at the time....never second guess it! (One of the Four Agreements: Always do your best!) If you truly thought that decision was best for you at the moment you made it....I promise you....IT WAS; otherwise you’d have made a different one. But, to torture yourself after you made your decision is pointless. It resolves nothing and it’s counterproductive. Guilt comes from choices you make out of malice or as a result of allowing yourself to be convinced by someone other than your authentic self. However you come to make your decision, you are ultimately responsible for it. As soon as you make your decision, you gain one more bit of information or experience you didn’t have, at the time you made your original choice. The next time you’re faced with a similar situation you will have this experience to reflect on and.....that is one of the amazing things about life and....living it!
The more you know yourself....the easier this becomes. The more you accept yourself...the easier this becomes. The more you cherish yourself...the easier this becomes. The easier it becomes for you to be your best authentic self...the easier it is for you to be assertive when you need to be.
“But I’m not an aggressive person” you say....I didn’t say you were or suggest that you should be “aggressive”. But isn’t it funny and sad, that our ignorance tries to convince us “assertive” and “aggressive” are synonyms. Even a thesaurus, will suggest these words are inter-changeable but... If we look up the word “assertive” it means to be confident; and “aggressive” means to be ready and willing to fight. If we look up “synonym” by definition it means: words within the same language that have the same meaning. Therefore, assertive and aggressive cannot be synonyms; as they have very different meanings. After all not all people who fight, are confident; and not all confident people, fight. So, yes....
When you embrace your life and live with compassion...you will learn how and when to be assertive; not aggressive. You will have the forethought to see what is fair-minded. You will learn to respect differences and similarities, not only within yourself but also in connection with all things that embrace and affect your life. You will learn to be confident as you courageously stand in your truth, honouring the importance of dignity and value in all. If you don’t...you may wish to ask yourself...I am really living a life based on compassion?
As I live a compassion based life and when I choose to be assertive it means, I am aware of your feelings and your opinions. I will be respectful of them as well as your rights. I will endeavour to be kind, peaceful and gentle so that your feelings and opinions are honoured. I will not apologize for my opinions or my feelings; for I too deserve to be treated with respect, allowed dignity and to be valued for exactly who I am.
Do not mistake my compassion with complacency, cowardice, or contempt. If you do, you are likely to also mistake my choice to respond assertively with being aggressive.
With great respect for all; I remain yours truly, ~Carleana