Relationships are lovely when everything is going well. We look into each other’s eyes and cannot imagine ever wanting to be without each other. We want to share our lives and all of ourselves with our partner.
That’s wonderful until one of us is out of sorts. When that happens it is hard to keep the perspective of our partner being the ‘perfect’ person for us. Why is that? Often it is because, not only are they the perfect person for us, but they are also the person closest to us, therefore, we come into the line of fire when stuff happens.
Stuff happening may have something to do with us or not. We may have triggered a reaction in someone else and we are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We unknowingly play into our partner’s sore spot and the anger, frustration, disappointment, and sadness hits us first.
One of the most powerful things I have learned is that, in those moments, it is nothing to do with me. It might look like that, they might be into a real blame game, but in truth it is all about their stuff, their limits, their beliefs or their unresolved hurts that we (or someone else) have simply set off by a chance remark or action.
To get an idea of what I am saying, think on this: Have you ever been really, really, really angry about something that is really, really, really very small? Then afterwards wondered why you were so angry? That is because whatever happened to trigger that strong reaction was playing back into some thing, some event, in your past that you are still angry about. That’s why, with your partner, it is never about you. You might be part of it but rarely are you all of it.
So where does compassion come in? Firstly, have compassion for yourself. Don’t take it on and do not take it personally. If you can remain calm through the storm that is playing out around you, then you will find a much better way through. Your partner might not like it at the time, but you will be helping because you will not feed the flames of problem. Be loving, be supportive, listen, and do not judge when your partner is in this mode.
This is not about you. It isn’t even really about them. It just is. My experience has been that when I simply witness what is happening, witness with compassion, with love, and know that this will pass, that I do not need to fix it, change it, or stop it, I just need to witness it. And that is the compassion for them. Whilst this is going on you cannot talk about it – be rational and sort it out. There is no point trying to put forth ‘your side’ of the story. Instead, let the storm blow through and be there after the storm, ready to do whatever is necessary to help your partner come back to themselves.
Now, if this sounds all one-sided – it is, at the time. However, this is something you do for each other. Having compassion for the one you love in times when they have lost sight of who they truly are is one of the biggest gifts you can give your partner. My partner had one of these moments recently and after it had passed (quite quickly), I had to go shopping. I came back with some flowers, and said, “Even with all the anger, frustration, shouting and tears, you still deserve flowers.”
The dictionary definition of compassion is empathy, concern, kindness, consideration and care. I believe it is also understanding too, knowing that it could very well be me in that state right now. Compassion is giving what you’d like to receive in those moments.