In session 3 of our conversational series we talked about Compassionate Caring.
By definition compassion is an awareness – awareness of the suffering of other people and living things around us, combined with the desire to relieve that suffering.
Being aware of suffering is not a comfortable feeling – and of course it can be tempting to move our awareness away quickly onto less acute emotions. When it is people in our family who we notice to be ‘suffering’ it is however much harder to let the compassion drop away without due attention to it – which often drives our loyalty to our family carer role. However, by definition compassion is not actually referring to action, just to the initial awareness.
Actions that are aligned with compassion are obviously humane in nature, but don’t need to be charitable or interventionist or rescuing. We felt that our compassion sometimes results in simply a willingness to be with the person as they work out how to approach a situation in conversation with us, or a willingness to listen as they vent, and at other times we find ourselves providing physical help and assistance or doing things for them that they find too hard to do alone or at all – and we felt that these are all great examples of actions that can flow from a compassionate heart.
In our experience as family carers we agreed that compassionate awareness on its own can become draining and overwhelming. Taking action inspired by our compassion allows a healthy flow from our heart and mind into physical expression. Taking some action also gives our compassion some tangible boundaries too – for taking action shifts our mind on from an awareness state to a praxis state.
We loved this quote from Brene Brown – based on her social research to understand human vulnerability and resilience better:-
“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.Brene Brown
This prompted us to consider the benefits of a planned approach to providing our compassion-driven caring actions, and we shared several strategies that we each find helpful in that regard. We also encouraged each other to avoid guilty feelings for having boundaries of time and extent of effort in our family carer role.
We are, as ever, ready to warmly welcome other family carers who may be available to join a Zoom conversation on any of the Wednesdays during June and July – simply register for free for your available dates via Eventbrite (where you can read more about the conversational series); so that Cherie can email to you the Zoom link to connect into the conversations.
On Wednesday 24th June we will be discussing “Do-Able Caring”.
These conversations are hosted by Cherie Rowett of Heart Choice Enterprises. Cherie’s commitment is to lead a themed conversation online every Wednesday during June and July, in this series titled “Talking about Caring – Family Carers in Conversation”.