Lifestyles by Estelia… Feeling a Connection to Others
Compassion can be defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.
My personal happiness project prompted me to find out more compassion. I wondered if it could be learned or if it is a trait you are born with. I found the answer in the Compassionate Listening Project, a non-profit organization located in Washington State whose mission is to empower individuals and communities to transform conflict and strengthen cultures of peace.
According to Jan Hutton, a certified Compassionate Listening facilitator, compassion can be learned.
Here is a sampling of the practices she employs:
Find Peace in Yourself: This is the first step. You have to acknowledge your wounds, mistakes, and that as a human being you have limits. You have to learn to be gentle with yourself.
Listen and Reflect: Learn to listen with your heart. When you talk with another person, quiet your mood, focus on them and look for a deeper point of connection.
Question: Ask friends to tell you stories and then follow up with questions to encourage deeper thinking.
Ms. Hutton states the approach works in three ways. It helps us to better understand another’s life story; it allows us to sense a shared humanity and it helps us practice an attitude of acceptance so we can avoid judgments that are a result of our own fears and biases.
Have you given thought to starting your own personal happiness project? There are some basic guidelines to follow and I’d love to share them with you. If you are interested, please let me know.
Related Links and Reading:
Listening With the Heart: A Guide for Compassionate Listening, by Carol Hwoschinsky
Give-Back Solution: Create a Better World with Your Time, Talents and Travel (Whether You Have $10 or $10,000), by Susan Skog
The Wisdom of Compassion, by H.H. the Dalai Lama and Victor Chan
The Compassionate Listening Project: www.compassionatelistening.org