The Art of Compassion

Self-care, Boundaries, and Unconditional love

What does compassion mean to you?

We often hear this word in healing communities and spiritual teachings. However, just like any other word, the term holds different meanings for different people. 

The word compassion originates from the Latin word ‘compati’, which means to ‘suffer with’. Our modern-day understanding of compassion is the ability to be moved by the suffering of another, and to experience a motivation to alleviate that suffering.  It is not the same as sympathy which involves feeling sorry for another. Nor is it the same as empathy,  which involves feeling another’s pain.  

Through our teachings, we learn that the practice of compassion is an art in itself. It is a core quality of our being and presence; a natural and intrinsic part of our true nature. We are all born with it. However, many of us have been tainted by the trauma of emotional pain and a conflicted mind, and some have never truly experienced the healing essence of compassion.

How can I invoke more compassion into my life?

When we think of being compassionate, it’s often with regard to what is happening in our relationships with family, friends, colleagues or people who are suffering in outer worldly events. But, did you know that one of the secrets to embodying compassion is to direct it inwards towards ourselves?

Self-Care = Self-Compassion

Can you recall the last time you received the safety instruction on an airplane? The flight attendant no doubt instructed you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. This is a good metaphor to illustrate the practice of self-compassion.

One must first learn how to crawl, before one can walk.” 

Before we can help others, we must all learn how to take care of our own needs – be they emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual.  We must learn how to drink from the cup of our own love and fill our being with it before we can share our light with others. Self-compassion is a state of being where we can be with ourselves and all our parts in loving presence. This presence holds the keys to our healing. 


Do you ever feel drained after engaging with others?
Do you ever experience the same relational patterns repeating themselves in your life?

The key lies in discerning what is yours and what is not. Setting boundaries is an essential step in taking control of the responsibility we feel to care for ourselves and others. Are we truly offering unconditional compassion? Or simply helping because of our own unconscious needs to play “the hero”, “the saviour” or “the helpless helper”.

In the dynamics of co-dependency, there is often a “helper” and a “victim” archetype in a dyad formation. One is trying to resolve their own unmet needs by attaching to the other. In the end, this cannot result in healing, because both are depending on the other to heal something that only the individual can do themselves through self-care and inner work. 

Let your authenticity lead the way

Your gut feeling will always tell you what is authentic and right for you.
However, attachment fears can contradict your truth and make you feel responsible – or even threatened – if you do not compromise to help the other.

We must always be aware of what is happening within ourselves when we feel helpless, or when engaging in interactions with another who is “in need”. From where are we engaging? Is there a hidden need that is trying to somehow prove itself, to be good enough, or secure a sense of safe attachment and connection? These are tough questions, but necessary to consider if we are to help others heal – and heal ourselves. We must take full responsibility and act from our truth, no matter how scary that might be. This is the way of the luminous warrior; facing our fears to become whole. 

Unconditional Love

The word “healing” comes from “wholeness”. In psychotherapeutic terms, we use “individualised”, “self-actualised” or sometimes “enlightened” to describe a person who is connected to their true essence. 

One manifestation of this is the state of perfect compassion. It is a state of truth, empathy, and all abiding presence, without any limitation or responsibility for the other. Rather, a radiance of light, love, and reflection which invites the other to be seen, held, and empowered, and to hold and heal their own pain. With unconditional love, there is no negative countertransference of energy. The space is clear, and all emotions are revealed, felt, and released back into the infinite ocean of pure consciousness.

We call this unconditional love and it is the highest vibrational expression of compassion. A quality of presence that is pure and reveals our true nature.

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Article by Louie Valotti – Co Founder of Genesis & Facilitator

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