This article is about Keeping Compassion at the Heart of Your Relationships
Being compassionate in your relationship doesn’t mean that you have to agree, but it does mean that you will feel like you are on the same side.
Consider a time when you have been faced with an angry partner. You may have shouted back, defended yourself, or perhaps walked away in silence to avoid the conflict. All of these reactions can unfortunately send the message, ‘you are wrong to be angry’ and may leave your partner feeling even more defensive or angry. It is likely in fact that you will both end up feeling unsatisfied with the outcome of your interaction.
It is possible to handle an angry partner with compassion for a more positive outcome. You may wonder why you would be compassionate with someone displaying this type of behaviour or consider that they do not deserve a compassionate response. You may though, be surprised at the difference it makes to the outcome and to the quality of your relationship.
For example, you might say ‘I hear that you are angry – I’m sorry that you feel angry about this’ instead of ‘how dare you be angry with me about this!’. In doing this, you are not taking responsibility for the anger but you are clearly on their side. Compassion can diffuse a situation like this and over a period of time , the lack of judgement and the introduction of positive regard can allow your partner to deal with things differently.
Being compassionate towards anger does not mean tolerating abusive behaviour but it does mean accepting that being human is to have weaknesses. It is possible to be compassionate yet at the same time hold your partner accountable for their actions.
To be compassionate towards each other in your relationship, consider the following:
Compassion is a powerful tool to enable you and your partner to reconnect with your deeper emotions and with the values that are important to both of you in your relationship. After all, when you chose to be together, you agreed on many things – ask yourself, what has really changed to lead us down this path of disagreement. You may find that your disagreements are easier to overcome than you think and that a little bit of compassion goes a long way!
Article by Jo Poscotis at Birmingham Counselling Services