Friday, September 5, 2014

Compassion's downside

Some of my clients are compassionate and beautiful people who have a difficult time not caretaking others. Their own needs often go unmet, and they burn out over time. They often grow extremely resentful of the time and attention others suck out of them. Self-care often isn't in their vocabulary. Are you one of those people?

Compassion for others is beautiful. It's an important quality. But it can be hurtful to you, too. I especially like author Melody Beattie's take on it: "The lesson I was learning involved the idea that I could feel compassion for people without acting on it." That's really an essential learning for people who tend to be codependent, who haven't yet established good boundaries for themselves, and who caretake others to the point where their needs go unnoticed and untended.  Again, Beattie says: "Codependents are reactionaries. They overreact. They under-react. But rarely do they act. They react to the problems, pains, lives, and behaviors of others. They react to their own problems, pains, and behaviors." She knows because she's dealt with that in her own life.

If that's an issue for you, I invite you to tend to it. Beattie has written several books that might be helpful. Or talk with a counselor. If you'd simply like to discuss this, I invite you to contact me for a complimentary, no-obligation session on the topic.

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