My journey – why I teach compassion
When I became a parent and entered the fog of sleep deprivation, with irritability and moodiness to follow, it became clearer than ever that the answer to the suffering we go through in life is compassion.
As an experienced Clinical Psychologist and Couples therapist, trained in Compassion Focused Therapy, I knew I needed my compassion tool kit to survive, to keep my head above the water as I felt like I was drowning in the challenging early days.
Parenting was really, really hard. Especially the child we got, as lovely and cute as he was, he had additional challenges which really tested my relationship with my husband.
Regardless of what your journey has been like in your relationship, odds are that you have faced difficult times together. Odds are that you have also experienced good times together, full of joy. We are all just living life, light and dark, full of joy and pain.
Two parts to compassion
Being able to acknowledge the pain you are in is a first step of compassion – it comes from having a sensitivity to the suffering you and others go through. Being mindful of my own pain, my husband’s pain and my son’s pain.
But just insight and empathetic understanding does not take us all the way. We also need something to soothe the pain, to ease the suffering. That is where the second leg of compassion comes in – having a commitment to alleviate the suffering and prevent its return.
The mirror and the magnifying glass
If you want to improve your relationship or strengthen the connection with your partner, start with yourself. You can only keep your side of the street clean, and hope that your partner will follow.
– Using a mirror to look at your own behaviour, you can begin to take ownership of which version of you shows up in your relationship.
– Using a magnifying glass, you can look closely at the experiences which have shaped you and what gets in the way of you being compassionate with yourself or with others. This can lead to change.
Compassion is not a weak or fluffy choice
To be kinder to yourself or your partner takes courage, as it can mean you having to practise assertiveness, ask for forgiveness, be vulnerable in admitting your mistakes or flaws, daring to take the risk of trusting someone. Those things can feel difficult, but so rewarding for your connection with yourself and your partner.
If you want to learn more about compassion in couples relationships, tune in for a free webinar on this topic with Michaela Thomas, Clinical Psychologist, Couples Therapist, creator of the Couples Compassion Course and author of the upcoming book The Lasting Connection.
Monday 9th of September 2019 – 8.30pm BST (UK time)
– What is compassion and why do we need it?
– How can we train our minds in compassion?
– What gets in the way of compassion?
– What is the ‘inner critic’ and how does it impact on relationships?
– Q&A about the Couples Compassion Course
Enter your email address to be sent a Zoom link nearer to the time, hope to see you there!
(There will be a replay available after the date, so sign up even if you can’t attend on the day!)